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Take control of your career

Posted 2/15/2012   Updated 2/16/2012 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Chief Master Sgt. Joseph Thompson
Cyber/Netcentric Directorate operations superintendent


2/15/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- You don't get promoted by accident. You are directly responsible for your next rank, so be aggressive on your way up the ladder. Don't put your career in someone else's hands. Don't wait until your Enlisted Performance Report (EPR) is ready for your signature to find that you are not meeting your supervisor's expectations.
 
Let's keep it simple: know when your EPR is due, know what is going in the EPR and fight for feedback. The sooner you are on the right path, the sooner you will see results. It is that easy.

Today's Airmen are too smart to not know how important an EPR is to their career. Knowing when your EPR is due is one of the most important pieces of career advancement.

First-term Airmen have two years to build accomplishments for their first EPR. Second-term Airmen have 365 days to build an EPR. But, there may be times when a 120-day EPR is required due to a change of reporting official or supervisor. This can put both your supervisor and you in a bind if neither of you have recorded duty performance over the rating period. Always have a list of performance accomplishments ready for your supervisor.

How can you successfully track your performance? Airmen accomplish significant events every day. You need to take credit for your accomplishments and record events at the end of each day. There are many tools to track EPR bullets.

One helpful tool at every Airman's fingertips is the Air Force Portal MyDP, or My Development Plan, link. It is located on the home page of the Air Force Portal on the left side under Education/Training/Force Development. To open the tracker tool, click on "My EPR Bullet Tracker" under the My Development Plan Tools. Enter the "Date Supervision Began" and "Date Supervision Ends (EPR Close-Out Date)," and your supervisor's name and rank.

The EPR calculator will provide your initial, mid-term and follow-up performance feedback dates. To add new bullets, simply click on the "Add Bullet" button and input the date of the event. There are three fields to fill in: Bullet Description, What I Did and Results. The tool allows you to store and prioritize all your bullets for the reporting period. This tool can make a huge difference in providing "results-oriented" EPR inputs to your supervisor.

Now, what about that feedback? Don't fear feedback! Go after it and demand it. You are entitled to feedback at least two times - initial and mid-term -- within your supervision period and 60 days after your EPR closes out (for captains and below and technical sergeants and below).

During your initial feedback (within first 60 days of supervision), ensure your supervisor's expectations and standards are clear. If they aren't, ask for clarification. During your mid-term feedback, your supervisor will provide their assessment of your performance in accordance with the expectations and standards laid out in your initial feedback. It's as easy as following their guidance. If you do so, you'll clearly exceed all expectations.

Remember, be open-minded and be ready to accept feedback. You can also request a feedback session at any time. Your supervisor wants you to succeed. Supervisors are the reflection of their Airmen and they want to look good, too.

Always keep in mind, your performance and promotion are totally in your control. Know when your EPR is due, capture your accomplishments with a tracking tool and continually fight for feedback. Maintain an open dialog with your supervisor and, if you think you're falling short of expectations, ask your supervisor early on, not after your performance is documented on your EPR.

Now that you have a few more tools for success, what are you going to do with them?



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