What I learned from Air Force Basic Training

Air Force basic training was a wild journey and the most challenging feat I have completed in my life so far. Before going to basic training, I was incredibly worried about the challenge to come and the various rumors I heard about people who were held back in basic training due to medical, mental health, or other various reasons. Leaving home was also incredibly hard for me. Before now, the longest I had been away from home was a little over a week. I doubted my ability to handle not only being away from home for an extended period of time, but also having limited contact with my family throughout the duration of the 7.5 week basic training. The day I left was an incredibly overwhelming day for me, and the first night at boot camp felt like a surreal experience, almost like a dream. It was hard to comprehend the decision I had made that night and what I had truly gotten myself into. The realization did not hit me until the next morning when my military training instructor banged on the door and stormed into the dorm, screaming at us to make our beds and get ready fast.

Of course, this is to be expected. Almost anyone who goes through basic, even if they do not admit it, questions their decision at some point. Most of the time, this realization occurs during the first week (coined 0 week by the Air Force) of training. Although, this can happen right before leaving for boot camp. In fact, this is when the feeling was strongest for me. I realized I was leaving my family, neighborhood and hometown for a long time. This feeling came back to me many times throughout training. Often times, I felt like I just wanted to quit, get out of there, and come back home where I had some freedom and liberty to do what I wanted; however, during these times where I was tired, sick of the training, and homesick, I had to find a way to push away the bad attitude and anxiety and keep pushing forward. This is something that I struggled with before leaving for basic training.

Although resiliency was one of the most significant traits I learned from basic training, there were many other attributes I learned as well, such as self-discipline, precise attention to small details, and the importance of keeping a consistent routine.

Throughout basic training, we were tested on our ability to pay attention to the smallest details. This would often be manifested through our recruit living area (RLA) and also our personal living area (PLA). The PLA consisted of my bed, towel, laundry bag, and shoe display while the RLA consisted of the contents within my wall locker: all of my uniforms, socks, and underwear. There were very specific rules for how we had to make our bed display all of our uniforms, and display our shoes. For example, the bed had to be tight with perfect 45 degree hospital corners. The towel displayed at the end of the bed draped over the post had to have the edges completely flush and the laundry bag had to be three inches away from the right edge of the bed with the strings draped over the top. The underwear within the wall locker had to be perfectly grounded to the top right of the clothing drawer and folded in perfect thirds, while the socks had to be displaced a specific way and rolled very tightly, same with the shirts. The uniforms in the wall locker had to be displayed in a specific order, as worn, and free of lint, dust, and strings.

Maintaining this area was extremely difficult and one of the hardest, if not the hardest, aspects of basic training; however, this precision has taught me to pay attention to incredibly small details in more important aspects of my job, as well as my life. In the military, attention to detail can often be the difference between life and death.

Even though basic training was incredibly tiring at times, I felt much healthier than I did before arriving at Lackland. A routine schedule with a specific bedtime, wake-up time, and meal times was paramount in this feeling. Now, I try to keep a consistent schedule and have found that I feel a lot better and am more productive as a result.

Overall, although basic training was incredibly hard, it was incredibly important for me and was a great way to learn how to become responsible, disciplined, and independent. I believe everyone needs to go through an experience like this at some point in their lives in order to grow and develop as a person.

Is your service lacking? Take a second to look…

Hello everyone and welcome back to the blog. Below is another short podcast regarding the importance of analyzing the current market to see if you can offer a competitive advantage over your competitors. I discuss a disappointing experience I had at Aveda related to this topic. Thanks for listening!

Always be looking for ways to stand out

Hello everyone and welcome back to the blog. I wanted to write today about one of the experiences I had in my class today that inspired me to write this post. I have recently transferred from Madison College, a two-year school on the east side of Madison, to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, a large university located in downtown Madison. The difference between these two schools is very stark, especially when it comes to class sizes and accessibility to teachers. For example, my classes at Madison college were 30 students max, while my marketing class at UW-Madison has close to 800 students! At Madison College, I was easily able to make a good impression on professors by simply going up to them after class and having a conversation. Not only can I no longer do this because of COVID, but because many of my classes are massive.

There is; however, methods that I have discovered in building influence. Even if it takes a little more time than it would at a smaller school, smaller business, or smaller town. I was able to find a way today in one of my classes titled Human Resource Management. This class is slightly smaller and has two lecture sections of about sixty students. Typically, especially over zoom classes, teachers will stay for a couple minutes after class and answer questions if anyone has them. Usually, there is no one that stays after class to ask a question or make a comment about something that was mentioned in the lecture. If you want to make an impression with a teacher during COVID this is exactly where you should start. Begin to ask the professor a question after every class or make a comment about something he discussed and you will slowly start to make a good impression on the professor.

Today the professor introduced the idea of organizational culture and stated that language or jargon that a corporation uses among their employees is part of visible organizational culture; however, I stayed after class to argue that language is a part of both visible and hidden culture. I provided an example from my job at McDonalds. I mentioned that we use the acronym hand bag out (HBO) to emphasize handing out the bag of food to a customer as soon as possible. I also mentioned that we call the 1st window “back cash” and the grill “side 1” and “side 2”. It was obvious that I had made a good impression immideatley after I shared this information.

Not only did I share a good bit of information that will help the classmates listening to my comment, but I made a lasting impression on my professor which may help my future application to the business school and grades. Overall, it does not take much to build your credibility and influence. COVID-19 is no excuse for failing to make a positive impression.

Pick up the phone and call

A lot of us have an underlying fear of picking up our phone, dialing a phone number when we need a problem resolved, and talking to people over the phone. This is definitely a fear I had before I became a manager at McDonalds. This job has taught me how to talk over the phone with high level business executives, disgruntled customers, and other members of the community. In this podcast I demonstrate the importance of getting over your fear of talking over the phone and also demonstrate the amount of time that can be saved by picking up the phone instead of emailing someone/texting someone/sending an online request. I know this is a big problem among my age demographic since everyone has gotten so used to sending emails and messages online, but it is important to remember how powerful a single phone call can be.

First Podcast!

Hello everyone. Thanks so much for visiting the page. I have had an idea for a while to create a podcast with my dad. Him and I have a lot of meaningful conversations almost every night about a variety of different topics but often it is about how him and I have learned how to stand out from other people over the years. Over this series of podcasts we will discuss a marketing book called Authority marketing by Adam Witte and Rusty Shalton which discusses seven pillars of marketing. In this podcast we briefly went over all seven pillars; however, we will contribute a podcast segment to each pillar in the future. Hope you enjoy! Also feel free to contact me if you would like to be a part of the podcast of have any knowledge you would like to share.