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Choose Culture Over Industry When Deciding On Your Next Career Move
When it comes to finding the right career, harmony matters. During my early years in the Marine Corps, my square peg fit well enough into its square hole. As the edges of my personality and values changed over time, however, I no longer fit the Marine Corps’ square hole. Inevitably, we grew apart and the old cultural harmony between me and the Corps veered off track and ended with frustration.
A year later I finally pulled chocks from the Big Green Machine and moved west. As I cruised through Appalachia, across the plains, over the Sierras, and down into the Los Angeles basin, I rolled down my windows and felt a new air of opportunity. The Marine Corps, long gone from my rear view mirror, was no longer a match. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”
After reaching California, I searched for a new career and one stop along the way was the Service Academy Career Conference. Though I didn’t find a job, I did learn a mighty lesson. At the panel discussion starring six service academy grads, I listened as one professional after another discussed their careers with prestigious law firms, Fortune 500 companies, and leading government agencies. Then I heard something fresh and new.
Younger than the rest, the last speaker --- a type-A, West Point graduate in her late twenties --- rose from her chair with a wide smile and announced, “I work for a toxic waste disposal company in the rural northwest and I absolutely love it!” The crowd roared as she lifted our mood and delivered us from boredom. Her speech was different and she was certainly different. I didn’t know anyone so passionate about toxic waste. Intrigued, I leaned in and hung on every word.
“I don’t have any particular passion for toxic waste,” she quipped, “I mean who the hell does? At my company, however, I do have a passion for the people I work with. Plus, I value the company’s culture, and just as important, the company values me. It’s a great fit and it all feels great!”
Bright with energy and free from ego, I admired her authenticity and I wanted to feel like that in my next career. The panel’s lawyer, banker, and special agent lacked her excitement, yet their industries and companies would sound so much cooler than toxic waste at my next dinner party. But that’s ego and not happiness; her smile, and their forced smiles, proved it so.
The West Point grad’s passion, of course, wasn’t because of her particular industry. She even denied being on a crusade to change the world and heal the environment. Nor was her passion connected to bragging about her career to others. What she discovered at that toxic waste company was her cultural fit — a round hole for her round peg. The result was harmony and happiness. Like a pair of comfortable shoes, what fits good also feels good.
After hearing this, the lightning bolts cracked and everything clicked for me. Whether it’s selling shoes at Zappos or disposing toxic waste, when it comes to happy employees, a company’s culture matters more than a company’s industry.
To drive home my point on the importance of culture over industry, consider the classic example of Apple versus Microsoft. Both are computer companies in the tech industry, yet they are advertised as cultural opposites. Watch the famous 1984 Apple ad and then watch this Microsoft ad from the same period and you’ll see Apple’s non-conformist and artistic culture versus Microsoft’s conventional and bottom-line culture. Both companies are wildly successful, yet your personality, tastes, and values will determine which company is the best fit for you.
If you’re a transitioning veteran, don’t stop with commercials. I encourage you to begin a cultural quest at the grassroots level. Study each company’s website, network with their employees, ask them why they work there. Go deep with your questions and always, always ask why.
In turn, your cultural frequency might resonate with their answers. When that occurs, I hope lightning strikes and you find harmony for your personality, style, and dreams. The result, and I speak from experience, is happiness.
‘Take what’s inside and get it outside’ — Air Force psychologist reminds airmen of mental health resources
Kirtland Air Force Base isn't much different from the world beyond its gates when it comes to dealing with mental illnesses, a base clinical psychologist says.
Maj. Benjamin Carter told the Journal the most frequent diagnosis on the base is an anxiety disorder.
"It's not a surprise, but I anticipate about anytime in the population in America, about 20% of the population has some form of diagnosable anxiety disorder, and it's no different in the military," he said.
Leading the way among the anxiety disorders, he said, were post-traumatic stress disorder "or something like panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder."
The DNA of a niece and nephew, who never met their uncle, has helped identify the remains of the Kansas Marine who died in WWII.
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced that 21-year-old U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Raymond Warren was identified using DNA and circumstantial evidence. Warren had been buried in a cemetery in the Gilbert Islands, where he was killed when U.S. forces tried to take secure one of the islands from the Japanese.
The Battle of Tarawa lasted from Nov. 20 to Nov. 23, 1943, and claimed the lives of 1,021 U.S. marines and sailors, more than 3,000 Japanese soldiers and an estimated 1,000 Korean laborers before the U.S. troops seized control, the agency said.
Arizona lawmakers are vowing to fight a plan by the Air Force to start retiring some of the nation's fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II ground-attack jets — a major operation at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base — as part of a plan to drop some older, legacy weapon systems to help pay for new programs.
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., a former A-10 pilot, and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., both vowed to fight the move to retire 44 of the oldest A-10s starting this year.
During a press briefing last week, Air Force officials unveiled plans to start mothballing several older platforms, including retiring some A-10s even as it refits others with new wings.
MOSCOW/SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea, whose leader Kim Jong Un was filmed riding through the snow on a white stallion last year, has spent tens of thousands of dollars on 12 purebred horses from Russia, according to Russian customs data.
Accompanied by senior North Korean figures, Kim took two well-publicized rides on the snowy slopes of the sacred Paektu Mountain in October and December.
State media heralded the jaunts as important displays of strength in the face of international pressure and the photos of Kim astride a galloping white steed were seen around the world.
North Korea has a long history of buying pricey horses from Russia and customs data first reported by Seoul-based NK News suggests that North Korea may have bolstered its herd in October.
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A high-profile local Taliban figure who announced and justified the 2012 attack on teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has escaped detention, Pakistan's interior minister confirmed a few days after the militant announced his breakout on social media.
Former Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who claimed responsibility on behalf of his group for scores of Taliban attacks, proclaimed his escape on Twitter and then in an audio message sent to Pakistani media earlier this month.
The Pakistani military, which had kept Ehsan in detention for three years, has declined to comment but, asked by reporters about the report, Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, said: "That is correct, that is correct."
Shah, a retired brigadier general, added that "you will hear good news" in response to questions about whether there had been progress in hunting down Ehsan.