AUSN

SUMMER 2017

Navy magazine is distributed on Capitol Hill,the Pentagon and naval bases around the world. It provides information that impacts Sailors, their families and the Navy. Navy is published quarterly by the Association of the United States Navy (AUSN).

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42 Navy | Summer 2017 MILITARY TRANSITIONS W hen you're a Veteran who has just started a new civilian job, sometimes it feels like all of your challenges boil down to one: Keep all the plates spinning (and in the air). ere's a cyclical quality to it that's almost hypnotic. Find a job. Get to work on time. Negotiate for what you want. Find a work/life balance. Maintain relationships. Get more sleep… some days the plates manage to keep themselves going, but more oen than not, it's a real challenge to keep them up. If find yourself wondering why you still feel like something is missing in your professional life, and you are feeling tired, burnt out, uninspired, and unmotivated, you are not alone. You can shi your focus and get that fire back—but it's going to require you to reex- amine those plates and the energy it takes to keep them all going. Finding your professional fire and passion is all about where you place your energy. If you stop pushing yourself to explore new ideas and new practices, you can become insulated in your routine. Before you know it, skills that used to feel exciting and challenging feel unreachable, and the career goals you worked so hard for seem in peril. ese talents and your goals are driing away because you've redirected your focus, and have lost sight of your next stepping stone. e good news is that stepping stone is still there — it's just a matter of doing the work to find it, and starting your path again. If you're looking for a way to take that first step, my suggestion is simple: Attend "the things." You know "the things"—those things you get emails about, the invitations you've deleted or tossed in the recycling bin. "e things" that you see on your colleagues' Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts… the things they attended (that you did not). ere are a million reasons to skip "the things"— finances, scheduling, childcare, and distance are all powerful forces. You don't have to attend every conference in your field, every job fair in your city, or every networking event in your area. If you know several people who can't afford such options, you could schedule an alternate meet up instead as long as you promise to spend at least half the time truly focused on work-based discus- sions. Employers may also pay for association fees, which reduce the cost of an event, and several associations have online courses. Attending "the things" is a carefully calculated plan of action. Work out what it would take for you to attend two events per year to help you meet your professional goals. ink about the events, meetings, and workshops that could expose you to new ideas and skills, while enabling you to build your professional network. If you work as an independent contractor, you may find that some of these events can count as a tax deduction. It can be easy to think of "the things" as luxuries, events and meet-ups that you should attend aer you've gotten your career together. ey are vital tools to help you keep on track with your larger career goals as you continue the daily work that pays your bills. You deserve to have a fire, to have dreams—you just have to make a space for them to grow into reality. Emilie Duck holds an MFA from the University of South Carolina and is the assistant editor of CASY & MSCCN's Military Service Employment Journal. She can be reached at educk@casy.us. Making Room in Your Schedule to Attend the "Things" By Emilie Duck

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