Pros: heathcare, comraderie, promotion opportunities, college tuition, financial compensation, 30 days vacation/year, travel, challenge, and excitement
Cons: occasional time away from family, operations tempo can be "high" depending on job. society's perception of the military.
A day at work in the USAF varies significantly with the career you have the opportunity to pursue. Depending on the job, job tempo also fluctuates, especially when deployed overseas and/or during conflict. If you don't learn to serve more than yourself, you will have a hard time assimilating to the USAF core values: Integrity First, Service Before Self, – more... and Excellence in Everything! The USAF recently has also adopted the core value: Respect for Human Dignity which translates into a "zero tolerance" for inappropriate discrimination in our military.
Serving my country in the USAF as afforded me the opportunity to serve with so many different personalities, races, and cultures other than my own. I have had the honor of working with so many different people. This variance in my life as allowed me to reflect on how I can better myself by improving on my self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and reducing ethnocentric ideologies. This all leads to professional improvement and the ability to lead and manage people effectively and efficiently.
From a management perspective, I always lean toward a style of leadership that inspires and motivates, cares about others, sets the example, and encourages creativity and innovation. Sure, leaders need to use leverage sometimes to get the job completed (e.g., contingent reward, carrot & stick, etc.), but I believe it is having a balanced approach to leadership that allows you and others to grow.
This balance approach to leadership is especially helpful when working with peers. It is important to be considerate of others and not over bearing; especially when working in peer groups such as process action teams, think tanks, etc.
The hardest part of the USAF are the long hours when preparing to go to war or participate in global conflicts and/or humanitarian aid efforts. When you are serving your country, you are on the job twenty-four/seven! Being away from your loved ones can also be hard.
The most enjoyable part of the job is getting to see the results of your hard work and the positive impact it has on people and the world in general. For example, teaching young Iraqi cadets to become officers of character during Operation Iraqi Freedom, delivering aid for a humanitarian effort like Provide Comfort in Kuwait, or relief efforts in Haiti or Louisiana after the hurricanes...just doing things you wouldn't imagine in the corporate world! Overall, the USAF experience for most who make it a career is an outstanding opportunity! – less