Geographic mobility opens doors

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Diversity of Experience--is that just code for geographic mobility? 

Most of us understand and accept the geographic mobility expected of military members, but what about the current emphasis on breadth of experience for our civilians? 

This can evoke strong and emotional reactions such as, "If I wanted to move, I'd have enlisted," and "being able to stay in one place is why I'm a civilian," if we are asking our civilians to move every two or three years just like the military. 

Let's back up a step and define diversity of experience--yes, it can mean moving around, but there are also other ways to get there. Here at Hill Air Force Base there are opportunities in multiple weapon systems, wings, different occupational series or even other agencies. There are also additional government opportunities outside the gate in the local area. 

The most important thing is to get experience in a variety of different jobs with a variety of different people. 

If you are geographically mobile, the opportunities are almost endless. You can literally consider any agency at any location in the world. Don't get caught up into believing there is a single formula for success--e.g. Hill AFB + Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command + Air Staff + Professional Military Education = SES. 

There is flexibility to plan a career path that meets your professional goals as well as family needs and geographic preferences. Major command headquarters experience is valuable, but if Dayton, Ohio does not fit your family's needs, consider Space Command Headquarters in Colorado Springs, or Air Mobility Command in Illinois. Experience at an operational command is also valuable, especially if your career to date has been in AFMC. If you've always dreamed of going overseas, there are several operational opportunities abroad. 

Being mobile does not have to mean taking any job, anywhere, at any time. While Air Force needs are a piece of the equation, you're not giving up control of your life.
The benefits of diverse experience are substantial because different jobs keep us in a learning mode and expose us to new challenges. Have you ever noticed your energy level dropping after you've been in the same job for a long time? While it's great to become an expert in a specific area, most people need the stimulation of new situations to stay motivated. 

Different jobs also expose you to a variety of work ethics, cultures and management styles which are very helpful as you develop your own style. For organizations, it's also beneficial to have new people with fresh ideas. Every person brings certain strengths to a job and will focus on specific areas. Bringing in new people with different backgrounds and experience will provide a balance of strengths and focus areas. 

Many argue that civilians add necessary stability to our workforce, and should not move around like the military. I agree, but we don't want stability to become stagnation. I've had conversations with civilians that vehemently oppose geographic mobility, but sometimes these folks have been in the same job for more than 10 years.
As mentioned above, there are lots of opportunities to get other experience without moving. It can literally be as simple as moving down the hall, and the benefits to both the individual and the organization are tremendous.