You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 5 a.m.

Air force may be perfect job for teen on the move

By Dear Abby


I respectfully disagree with the advice you gave to "Wants to Enlist" (Dec. 29). She is the 19-year-old woman who burns out of jobs quickly and is thinking about enlisting in the Air Force. You discouraged her.

I served honorably in the U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard for 14 years. Experience taught me that if I didn't like my current assignment, it was easier to tolerate it for the time being knowing it wasn't a permanent assignment. Eventually, I received orders to go elsewhere.

My military training was the best foundation for me. It taught me discipline, instilled confidence that I could handle any situation, and provided me with skills that enabled me to work with people under various circumstances.

"Wants to Enlist" needs to be honest with the companies/organizations she applies to. During the interview, she should be upfront in saying she is willing to commit to a set period of time and/or to accept a part-time position, lower pay and a flexible schedule. The employers who hired me under these terms have written me letters of recommendation, proving they benefitted from our arrangement. -- FORMER FLY GIRL IN NEW MEXICO


Thank you for offering a solution that worked for you. Responses I received to that letter provided interesting insights that "Wants to Enlist" may wish to consider. My readers comment:


I, too, wasted years of my life job-hopping. It seemed I couldn't stay in a position longer than six months. It wasn't until late in life that I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. With therapy and medication, my life finally took on some semblance of "normal." For the first time, I finally had purpose and direction. My final job lasted 17 years. I don't mean to suggest "Wants to Enlist" suffers from the same disorder, but it deserves some consideration. -- B.P.D. IN TENNESSEE


Once a job became routine, I lost interest. Eventually I found my way to higher education and a position where there are always new challenges. I now have a long-term and successful career. Perhaps this 19-year-old should consider attending college even part-time -- to satisfy her intellect while preparing for a more varied and challenging future. -- BEEN THERE IN LAS CRUCES, N.M.


"Wants to Enlist" may want to be tested for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). For many years, I was misdiagnosed with a variety of mental health issues. Then my husband read an article about adult ADD. After checking with my doctor, I was put on medication to see if it would help. I cannot tell you the difference it has made in my life. I'm calmer, happier and have more confidence than ever. I hope this young lady will look into what might be causing her behavior because she will see how wonderful she is. -- HAPPIER NOW IN FLORIDA


I also had difficulty settling down in one place. My solution was to become a traveling health care worker. I work for a contracting agency that sends me on three-month assignments all over the country. If I don't like a facility, I know my time there will end soon. There are local contracting agencies in larger cities if you don't want to pack up and move. This job has been the answer to my dreams! -- TRACY IN KINGWOOD, TEXAS

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)