I spent almost 14 years on active duty in the military. The first four years were spent in the Army; after that enlistment, I joined the Air Force. After my last active-duty tour ended in 2010, I joined the Air Force Reserves, where I still serve. During my time in the military, I learned a lot of skills that help me run my own freelance writing business. These are real-life skills that can’t be learned in a classroom, and I am very grateful for the time I spent on active duty.
The military taught me to be organized in just about everything I do. We keep a lot of records in the military and have complex filing systems. A place for everything and everything in its place. Thanks to my organizational skills, I have been able to easily set up a filing system for my business and personal files. This saves time and gives me much more time for working and generating income, because I don’t spend a lot of time searching for what I need.
Attention to Detail
I have a very organized office, and can easily locate any document or file I need. I am also able to keep up with deadlines and invoices, so I don’t miss an assignment or a paycheck. I couldn’t have done all this without what I learned in the military. Attention to detail can mean the difference between being killed or making it home alive in the military; in my civilian career, it’s not that dire, but it can mean the difference between getting paid and being homeless. I was never this detail-oriented before my military service, and I wouldn’t survive without this valuable skill.
Discipline is another thing that the military taught me. Before I joined the Army, I was unmotivated and not a self-starter at all. Now I keep myself to a daily schedule and complete tasks on time, or even before they are due. I don’t let myself have fun or do other things until my work is done. This discipline helps increase my productivity and my paycheck.
Public Speaking/Public Interaction
Another skill I learned during my military service is how to interact with others. Before I joined the Army, I was so shy, I couldn’t talk to strangers. I had severe social anxiety. The military gave me confidence, and I am now able to make phone calls, conduct interviews, attend meetings and conference calls, and interact with people. This is vital for my field of work. I freelance for several local newspapers, and have to see people face-to-face for assignments all the time. This is perhaps the most valuable skill I learned from the military.
If it weren’t for the military, I’d still be stuck in corporate America, working for someone else. I have now been able to achieve my dream of owning my own business, thanks to the skills I learned in the Army and Air Force. I am proud of my military service, and grateful for everything my country has given me.