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Prepare for smooth transitions

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Elizabeth Man
  • 451st Air Expeditionary Wing chaplain assistant
Before coming on this deployment, many thoughts went through my mind about what I might need to do before I go and how I would transition from home station to my new place of work and back. What I knew was that I needed to ensure my coworkers were trained to sustain the mission while I was gone and make sure my family ties were intact before heading out the door to my new location, to include how I would transition back to them once I left my deployed location.

Like many of us, we go through a series of checklists in our heads trying to make sure we have crossed every situation thoroughly, not to forget anything that might trip us up or someone doing our work left behind. I remember, going through all the continuity binders that pertained to my work, like finances, contracts, training records and daily administrative duties to keep the mission going. As I looked through these binders, I wanted to make sure it was simple enough anyone not familiar with my work would know what to do without having too much difficulty. Once I looked through them, I had a good feeling leaving my office without having any anxieties within my spirit and that I knew without a doubt everything would be fine while I was deployed.

As for my family, I took extra time to prepare them for yet another transition of me going into to a hostile environment. I made each of them a small book with a lot of information in it so that it would put their minds as ease. They had my address, good contact number, and someone they could reach in case of any sort of emergency at the family support center at my base. Plus, I filled it with pictures of my family and a little history of the area, weather, culture, language, dining facilities and the living quarters I was going to be surrounded by for six months. As I saw the looks on their faces and I knew they were okay with what they had in their hands, it made me smile because I knew it was a comfort for them to know I would be okay no matter where the military sent me.

While I get ready to transition back to my home station, there are things I needed to do to prepare for my replacement before their boots hit the ground. There are checklists that will need to be drafted up to ensure I have everything covered and send things back home to make my travel a lot less heavy. Leaving this place better than I received it is a huge load that will be lifted off my chest because, when my replacement comes in, I will train them on what has worked for us and when they take on the mission, they can run it how they want after our three-day turnover. Before I go, I will consult with them to ensure there aren't any questions unanswered and if there is, then they can ask me or contact me via e-mail. Plus, the continuity binder will have everything in it to make their job less stressful.

During my deployment, it was critical for me to continue communication with my family, coworkers at home, and friends because it will be important for me and for them as well to reconnect once I get back. Doing this will alleviate so many thoughts of disconnection between us so our transition would be easy and things would go back to as if I had not left. Also, there is one prayer and verse I meditate on that helps me take on the many transitions in my life and that is the "Serenity Prayer & Proverbs 3: 5-6"

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.--Reinhold Niebuhr
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean
not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will direct your paths.
--Proverbs 3: 5-6

Have you prepared for your transition and do you have a good feeling within your spirit to be leaving your current location better than you found it? If not, then maybe you should sit down and ponder those thoughts and put it into action like I did. Good Luck ...