May 15, 2011
Be proactive — your career, your responsibility, by BULL Ensign George McElwee
If you are new to the U.S. Navy Reserve, here comes your first lesson. Just as you are responsible for your civilian career, you are responsible for your military career.
It is important to realize, you are your best advocate and most trusted administrator. So whether you are looking for your next command or maintaining and updating your service records, you are in control.
The reserves are full of opportunities and it is up to you to take advantage of what is offered. Think back to why you joined. Was it to learn a trade, develop a skill, or proudly serve your country during a time of war? Whatever your reason, you will need to maintain the same motivation to challenge yourself in achieving the next milestone. As with many things in life, you only get out what you put in. The same goes with the Navy.
As you will experience, there is a substantial administrative component to being in the reserves. The records you are required to maintain are essential in protecting your family while being critical to your career.
For each piece of paperwork you complete, it seems a different department maintains the record. And somewhere in the process someone is bound to “misplace” a portion of your record. The time and effort you put into maintaining your records will payoff when omissions are discovered.
So what should you do to prevent the inevitable omission? The solution is simple. If it has your name on it, make a copy of it. Start keeping a comprehensive binder of all your records. Having your own set of accessible records will eliminate the frustration of searching for the relevant document when needed.
With all the lessons the Navy will offer you, let me offer you one important piece of advice. Be proactive — your career is your responsibility.