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Chief Master Sgt. Karen D. Stevens, Command Chief, 126th Air Refueling Wing.

Chief Master Sgt. Karen D. Stevens, Command Chief, 126th Air Refueling Wing.

Scott AFB, Ill. -- Every Air National Guard member is a very effective manager. We all have to balance family, civilian employers and military career responsibilities. We must give equal attention to all three critical parts of our lives. If we neglect one of the three areas, the other two will not survive and we cannot afford to let that happen in our home, place of employment or military lives.

Our families are the cornerstone of our existence. Whether our families includes spouses, children, parents, grandparents, siblings or significant others, we must provide them with the necessary support to keep all these relationships happy and healthy. Neglect in this area of our lives can cause tremendous problems with everything else we do.

Each of us needs to spend quality time with our families away from our employers and military requirements. Blackberries, cell phones, and laptop computers have increased our ability to work anywhere in the world, but sometimes we let these tools interfere with the time we spend with those who are most precious to us. Planning time with our families, away from work and the connections to work, provides memories and relationships that will last long after our civilian and military careers are over.

As members of the Air National Guard, we need the civilian employers who provide for our livelihood and ensure present and future stability. Civilian employers of our Guard members are patriots in every sense of the word. They sacrifice a portion of their ability to produce income and company security to allow our warriors to defend our great nation. By allowing you to take valuable time away from their business, employers provide for the security of all Americans. Make sure you thank your employers for their patriotism and sacrifice that keeps us strong.

Many times we are "deployed in place" to cover home-station missions or remotely piloted aircraft around the world. These missions are just as important as forward deployment, and I am proud of those who serve in the continental United States as well as foreign countries.

We also need to remember that we have a military family that also needs our attention. Our military teammates need our support and leadership, so please take time to talk to each other and more importantly, listen. Knowing our military brethren as family will help us better understand their concerns and can help resolve many of their challenges because we have all experienced some of the same issues.

Please work to balance your lives to provide equal attention to your family, employer and country. We must ensure that we are not neglecting any one of the three main areas of our personal and professional lives. You are all excellent managers or you wouldn't be able to balance the three components of your very busy lives. Keep up the good work and thanks for being great teammates!
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