I believe that mentorship is very important, especially for those new to the military or any industry. There is a lot that we don’t know when starting a new career so having a mentor allows us to fill the knowledge gap.
I started my first formal mentorship session when I was in college. I met regularly with my academic advisor and ROTC instructor. I remember talking about how I felt overwhelmed with balancing my priorities, and both of my mentors were willing to provide assistance when I had a lot on my plate. By building rapport and trust through our continued meetings, they were able to offer me more personal feedback, which helped reduce my stress. They always encouraged me to pursue my goals and dreams, and they were an integral part of my support system. They helped me achieve my goal of graduating and commissioning in the military on time.
Currently on active duty, I meet regularly with mentors both inside and outside my chain of command. Since my current project involves many moving parts, meeting with my supervisor and seeking understanding of my job duties is critical. Knowing that I can always go to my supervisor for help or to provide understanding of a topic I’m not familiar with makes the job more manageable. Apart from discussing work duties, my supervisor also gives me great advice on leadership, career planning, and writing performance reports.
Additionally, meeting with my mentor outside my chain of command allows me to gain broader insight. Since my mentor outside my chain has a different career background from my supervisor, I’m able to get a second opinion on career planning and general officership topics. I find that meeting with different mentors allows me to gain understanding of different perspectives on handling situations, which ultimately guides my own decision-making process.
I find myself sharing helpful things I’ve learned from my mentors with other young officers, whether it’s through shared anecdotes or through other professional organizations.
I found out about PPALM through Major General Taguba. I believe that mentorship is most effective when you have mentors who have had similar career paths. By being a part of PPALM, I hope to find mentors who can provide career guidance and networking opportunities that will help me achieve my goal of working as an acquisitions professional in Washington, D.C.
Jeric Mibale is a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He is an acquisition officer and currently serves at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. These are his own individual sentiments.
October 2016 -- Second Lt. Mibale and his mentor, Lt. Col. White at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.