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NDHQ (Carling) – My perspective

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By Officer Cadet Mihaela Mesca, Log Air –

Before joining the military, I was unhappy with my job and my future prospects. I was looking for something different and challenging, that I knew I’d enjoy, but nothing seemed to be the right choice for me.  When I finally thought about joining the military, I hesitated due to the unique nature of the job, such as remote postings, arduous duties, and irregular hours. I also struggled with perceptions of military life. I knew I would be outside of my comfort zone, and I wondered if I was made for it.

Despite misgivings, I decided to join. The Logistics Branch seemed perfect for me due to my previous background in organizing functions and events, and I always had an aptitude for it.  Basic military training sounded stressful, and certainly wasn’t easy, but it was not impossible. I found that if you are decently physically fit and simply turned off your brain, a lot of the training came naturally. Time seemed to pass quickly, without me even noticing and before I knew it I had graduated.

When I joined the team at Carling Campus as an Officer Cadet for training in 2017, my first impression was how kind and professional my new colleagues were. They took pains to be welcoming and accommodating, and helpfully assigned me tasks related to my trade and skillset.

This was invaluable in helping me get used to my role. During my first meeting on the campus, it seemed as if all present were speaking in a different language of acronyms, and I didn’t understand half of it. Even though I still struggle sometimes, my colleagues’ help has ensured that I can speak that language myself.

I was also impressed by the supportive office culture. The team organizes collective activities like golf, barbeque, and pool. Team-building like this helped us work better together, and ensured that coming to work was never a chore. This positive culture extended to the workplace as well. During meetings, all team members, regardless of rank or station, are encouraged to speak up and share their ideas and opinions in an atmosphere of equality. I found that my input was valued despite my relative inexperience.

Although some DND employees may be disgruntled by the move, I found that the Carling Campus is a great improvement on other offices in the National Capital Region. They often feature big cubicle walls and not much sunlight, whereas buildings in Carling Campus benefit from many open spaces, with areas for employees to collaboratively work, socialize, exercise and eat, all with a natural backdrop.

In the future, the plan is to extend all this with impressive gym facilities, food courts, beautiful walkways and paths, and much more, but the campus is a great place to work even in this stage of construction.

It’s time for me to leave Ottawa and start my military career in Cold Lake, but I’ll always fondly look back at Carling Campus and the people I worked with.

Photo: Courtesy of OCdt Mesca

 

This post is also available in: Français (French)

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