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Self-improvement: Preparing for your future

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- With a continuously decreasing military population, self-improvement is more important than ever before. Whether an Airman is planning on a full Air Force career, facing involuntary separation, or is voluntarily separating, being well rounded is crucial for future career success.

As a new Airman, completing your career development courses should be top priority. Striving for an excellent end of course exam will set you apart from your peers, and show your leaders you are highly motivated. Along with completing your career development courses, tackling all upgrade training tasks should be at the top of your list for self-improvement. Working aggressively to complete your upgrade tasks on time or ahead of schedule shows supervisors you are motivated to work for them, making you more sought after for advancing opportunities.

Another important self-improvement task is earning a post-secondary degree. Furthering your education provides you the opportunity for developing new skills, allowing you to operate in a variety of jobs. Having your degree makes you more desirable to the Air Force, or civilian employers and increased knowledge helps you stand out. If you are passionate about your job, earning certificates in your career improves your knowledge, efficiency in your career, and makes you a better candidate for future organizations or special programs.

In the work center, it is easy to distinguish the Airmen who have started or completed their post-secondary degree from those who have not. Airmen with the extra education are more confident and are stronger leaders; they display more ingenuity when completing the same tasks as their peers. The development of new skills is evident in the solutions they present to problems that arise, they stand out in a positive way.

Lastly, but just as important is completing all required professional military education. When you are eligible for completing a military education course, get it done! Do not turn down the opportunity for completing your professional military education, as the opportunity may not come around a second time.

Your future is yours for shaping. Improving yourself affords you the knowledge to improve others. Ultimately, being a leader is being the good example for others to follow. Self-improvement is not just another block on your performance report to check, it's your future and the future of those around you.