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Vectoring right: What's the big deal?

DUKE FIELD, Fla. --

Did you get those emails, too?  

You know; the ones telling you to complete something called a “DP.”

I admit that the first year I saw those emails, I just passed them by. I didn’t know what a development plan was, I didn’t understand why it mattered to me, and I really didn’t have the time to worry about it … so I didn’t.

A year later I started to get those same emails again telling me to complete my development plan. This time I thought I should investigate what this thing was. I logged into myPers and reviewed the form that was supposedly so important to complete.

It wasn’t that long. I mean, it took a little time to put into words what I wanted out of my Air Force career over the next few years, but it’s a good thing to do every once in a while, right?

So, I thought about it and filled out my goals. Once I hit submit, I really didn’t know what would happen from there, and I went on my merry way.

Several weeks later I received an email from Air Force Reserve Command with great recommendations for things I could and should do to help me attain my goals. These were the same goals that took 20 minutes to submit into the cloud somewhere. It turns out people actually look at those!

I later found out that an entire panel of senior leaders in my career field took a week out of their busy schedules to review my development plan. They go through all the records of the people who submit their development plans and provide vectoring for how they can be successful in their careers with the Air Force.

How incredible! Sure, we are all told that we are an important part of the mission and that we matter, but this really showed me how true that is. My 20 minutes turned into getting some great mentoring from people I would not likely get the opportunity to sit down with to discuss my career.

Amazingly, I got to see this whole process in action several weeks ago. I was invited to the Air Reserve Personnel Center at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, and spent a week with a similar group of senior leaders.

I watched them spend days digging into records – our records! They discussed the individual careers of nearly 200 Air Force public affairs officers. You see, they made an exception this year and we all got vectored. Even if you didn’t submit a development plan, the panel looked at your assignments, OPRs, career data, etc., and thought through what you could do to ensure your future success.

This is golden! I sat in a room with extremely knowledgeable, dedicated leaders and watched them pour themselves into helping all of us.

So, the next time you start getting those DP emails, take a few minutes, put your goals down on paper, and prepare to be amazed at how our leadership takes an interest in you and your success. Trust me … they will vector you in the right direction.