Wish I had found this thread sooner. Oh well.
I've been in the AF for 4 years now and currently have a line number for Staff Sergeant (E-5), so I feel I'm somewhat qualified to comment. In my opinion and experience, how much you like the Air Force is entirely dependent on your job and location. As a B1 crew chief in good ol' Ellsworth AFB, SD, I pretty much hate everything about this job. However, having just recently finished Airman Leadership School (ALS) and talking with the students from other career fields, I can see how they'd be much happier. So now cross-training is my #1 priority. Unfortunately, you going open-mechanical puts in the possibility of dealing with the same shit that I'm trying to get out of. Pro-tip: avoid Crew Chief/Aerospace Maintenance (2A5X4). If you can't do that, at least avoid working bombers.
As for spec ops, I wish you the best of luck but I have personal experience with that and not a lot of hope for people who try to do it. It's not a matter of perseverance alone; you either have it or you don't and most people don't. If you make it, great. Just understand that failure is inherently the norm.
With pessimism aside, here's some tips:
- When you get to tech school, enjoy it. It may seem dumb at first, but you have very few responsibilities and obligations (show up when you need to and don't fail the tests that were designed for you to pass). Tech school was stupid easy and a lot more fun looking back on it.
- When you get to your first duty station, always be on top of your shit. Get your CDC's done become qualified on your core tasks ASAP. Especially in maintenance, you do not want to be seen as worthless as the people above you will make your life hell. Show initiative and competence out the gate and you'll have a much less painful time as an FNG. What you want to work towards is being a 5-level Senior Airman as that's probably the easiest and most enjoyable time of your career (unfortunately, that time is over for me since I made Staff)
- Find other things to do to break the monotony of work, sleep, work, sleep. Whether it be volunteering as a sports coach, picking up a new hobby (I recently just got into bowling and am on an intramural league), or hanging out at a friend's place every now and then. This seems common sense, but a lot of people tend to forget this.
- Get out of the dorms ASAP. Don't fake a marriage or anything dumb like that to do so, but the day you're eligible to get out should be the day you finish packing up. Living on your own terms (and within your terms, remember that) is much more rewarding and enjoyable in my opinion.
- Remember: It's always easier and more enjoyable to just follow the rules and do what you're told. Some of the stuff you're told to do at times sounds like a lot of work or like something meant just to be a buzz-kill, but the Air Force has systems designed to make your life even worse if you attempt a "fuck you" against it. I'm not saying to be a stick in the mud either, but things like "don't get black-out drunk at parties then try to drive home" and "don't try to sneak away from work thinking you won't get caught" seem to be somewhat more common than anyone with some sense in their head would imagine. When in doubt, look to your Core Values.
Hopefully this helps you when you get out of Basic. I just wish I caught this thread before you left.
If you have any questions once you're out (I'm assuming mid-November if all goes well), feel free to shoot me a PM on here and I'm sure I can help out or at least point you in the right direction.
no way i cant believe youve been in the air force this whole time antonious. If your looking for an update, i graduated on the 21st of november and my job is Aerospace propulsion so im sitting in the good old 361st right now. i start classes on monday and im actually pretty excited . its funny your a crew chief because i have a bunch of friends that are crew chiefs over at the 362nd right now. so i gotta ask man, what the hell is there to do while on ITP because i havnt even been here a week and im already pretty bored hahah. being underage really doesnt help.but yea, any advice you have on the heppard area and any knowlege you have of my job would be great to hear from someone with some time in. hope to hear from you soon