INDIAN OCEAN (NNS) -- Navigating a career in the Navy can seem overwhelming at times. With all of the different options and programs available, it can be difficult for Sailors to know the best choices to make.
Thankfully, in the ever-changing landscape that is a Sailor's career path, the expert Navy counselors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) are ready to provide the guidance needed to weather the storm.
"We are here to help anyone who needs direction," said Navy Counselor 1st Class Amber McCrackin, from Cedar Hill, Texas. "It doesn't matter if the questions are about the new Career Management System-Interactive Detailing (CMS-ID) detailing window or just general topics. We are there to make sure that every Sailor feels confident about their choices."
In September 2017 the Navy announced changes in the CMS-ID timeline. The order negotiation window will now start 12 months prior to the Sailor's projected rotation date (PRD), versus the nine-month window given previously. This change allows Sailors to see an increased amount of advertised jobs that they will be able to apply for. To support the new 12-month timeline, Career Waypoints - Reenlistment (C-Way) applications will start 16-months prior to their soft end of active obligated service (SEAOS) and 15-months before their PRD.
The change went into effect October 2017 and as with any new program there can be a learning curve. The Navy counselors assigned to each command are there to assist Sailors in these potentially confusing times.
The changes were rolled out in the hopes that the expanded timeline will not only increase the variety of billets available, but also provide Sailors and their families more time to prepare for their permanent change of station.
Though the new billeting instruction is the Navy's latest focus, Navy counselors aboard Nimitz stand ready provide a full spectrum of assistance.
So far in 2017 alone, the Navy counseling team has completed 6,672 career development boards, trained and notified 2,637 eligible Sailors about the new blended retirement program, submitted more than 1,776 C-Way submissions, and assisted with 238 reenlistments which resulted in $3.2 million awarded in selective reenlistment bonuses. To say the team of five Navy counselors aboard Nimitz stays busy would be an understatement.
"You don't choose this rate for fun," said Navy Counselor 1st Class George Farmakas, from Santa Ynez, California. "You choose this rate because you want to see Sailors succeed."
Part of that success is ensuring that Nimitz crew members know their options, regardless of what stage of their career they may currently be in. From reenlistment to retirement, the Navy counselors are there every step of the way.
"All of us in the Career Counseling Center are focused on ensuring that each Sailor is fully equipped with the tools needed to effectively manage their time in the Navy," said Farmakas. "Whether you decide to do your four years and move on, or if you choose to stay in for 20, as Navy counselors we have an obligation to make sure you understand your options and choices available career wise."
According to McCrackin, the biggest piece of advice she could give to any Sailor is to know their PRD [and] SEAOS date, and to be actively engaged in the detailing process. These dates can be found through Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System or by looking at their electronic training jacket summary page online.
McCrackin also recommends that Sailors go and sit down with a Navy counselor 15 months prior to their PRD so they can evaluate their needs and select their preferences. The preferences can be updated in CMS-ID and may help detailers when it comes to deciding orders.
"It's their career," said McCrackin "I want to make sure that they know that they have the power to influence their future, and part of that is knowing their options ahead of time so that they can best select what is right for them and their family."
So, while ultimately it is the Sailor who is at the helm of their career, they can sail forward with confidence knowing that the Navy counselors are at their side helping navigate every career waypoint.
The Nimitz Carrier Strike Group is on a regularly scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
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For more news from USS Nimitz, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn68/.