Re: What's your "day" job?
This note is for Whitey who posted over in the Off Topic Lounge...that thread has now been directed here.
I was in the AF for 11 years and just got out almost 3 years ago. I made Tech but got out before pinning on. My career went like this....
I started out as a crew chief on C-130's. I loved it...it was just the job I wanted going into the service. Lots of great experience, great travels, etc. and fantastic training. There was a point after a TDY over in your neck of the woods, Ramstein, that I realized I didn't want to pursue aircraft mainenance after the military. So my crossroads came after I returned stateside and decided to crosstrain to weather. One of the best decisions of my life aside from marrying my wife!
I was able to extend my AF career long enough to just about finish a bachelors and get all sorts of experience in weather before separating. I wasn't planning on a retirement and knew I wanted to get out only AFTER I got enough training and education to make it on the civilian side. That's why I extended my enlistent just enough to get forecasting school and more college under my belt. I saw too many kids getting out without taking advantage of the FREE education. Soak it all up and get as many classes as you can. Go ahead and see if there is another career track in the AF...it could be anything. Try something that would allow you a decent schedule so you can take more classes. Who cares if it's pushing papers or whatever....get some college credits! Look into getting your Airframe/Powerplant license so you can apply your metal fab work to a civilian airport. One of my buddies did that same thing and is doing very well. You need that certificate on the outside!
That AF experience got me a job right away back home after moving back. My boss told me in my first review that he could tell I worked as a professional before which was the single biggest compliment of my career!
So, just don't fret right now and just think about what you would like to do as a career and see if it matches with something in the AF right now...then get some classes going.
I went through the same thing trying to plan my life but it's not going to happen overnight. It takes time. Sometimes things fall in your lap, other times you have to really work at figuring this out. There were two kinds of people in the AF...those who just skated along doing just the job and nothing else, and those who used the AF as a stepping stone to a bigger and better career. Who knows, you may just continue up to Chief someday...just don't suddenly shut yourself off to those options right away.