Professional Development Opportunities Sometimes Don’t Turn Out As Expected – And That’s OK

Today’s post was written by Kevin Larson, CP-22 Army Civilian Public Affairs Specialist

My developmental assignment wasn’t what I was expecting.

When my boss at Fort Stewart asked me if I was interested in completing a developmental assignment at the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs at the Pentagon, I jumped at the chance. Visions of my internship rotation from 2002 danced through my head. I remembered fondly rotating through the different sections of the office — community relations, command information, and media relations. Social media was unheard of back then, so I was looking forward to seeing how Big Army does it. I was thoroughly convinced I was going to rotate through the various sections during my developmental assignment, but with a little bit more insight than I had as a fresh-faced intern. In fact, I was half-jokingly calling my developmental assignment a “grown-up internship.”

Kevin Larson

Kevin Larson

Imagine my surprise when I reviewed the developmental assignment announcement with my boss at the Pentagon and learned what the true purpose of the development assignment was. I was going to spend the entire 90 days working in the career program management office. I was to going to see exactly what it takes to manage the more than 1,400 Army Civilian public affairs professionals. I was going to see what it takes to get our careerists trained and hiring on interns.

I adjusted my assumptions and opened my mind. I wanted to learn as much as I could.

In my first 30-plus days working in the CP-22 office, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve seen how training requests are processed. I’ve worked with the Army Career Tracker website to update career maps for our careerists. I’ve learned about training opportunities I was unaware of. I’ve gotten to take a peek at how the budget is managed for CP-22. I’ve learned how Army G-1, G 3-5-7 and all the Army’s career programs are interconnected. I’ve assisted in conducting interviews to hire our next Pathways Interns. In short, I’ve had the chance to peek behind the curtain and see the hard work it takes to ensure our public affairs careerists get the training they need and remain the best, most professional work force for our Army.

It’s not just the career programs managers, though, who make that professionalism possible. It takes personal commitment, too. We should all continue to search for training opportunities to improve ourselves. We should log into Army Career Tracker to see what’s happening in our career programs. And while we’re in ACT, we should take the time to create or update our individual development plans. Since I’ve been here at the CP-22 office, I’ve done just that. And I plan to continue.

And it’s all because of my developmental assignment. It wasn’t what I was expecting.

It’s been so much more.

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Professional Development Opportunities Sometimes Don’t Turn Out As Expected – And That’s OK