Do What You LOVE

Marketing + Black Hawk Helicopters

By Greg Acs, Phone2Action Marketing Coordinator

It’s 6:30pm on a weekday and while DC traffic is in full-force, my alarm rings, displaying “1830 Night Vision Goggle Flight with CW2 Thomas” on the screen.

And so it begins, the second half of my day . . .

I grab my flight suit from my trunk and hop into my car for a two-hour drive. After arriving at ­­an Army Airfield in Northern Maryland, I get a brief from the pilots, grab my night vision goggles and off I go. It’s right around this time, that I take a step back and think “man, my life is really, really, really weird.”

This was taken at 12,000 feet at the Army’s Hight Altitude Aviation Training Site and about 10 minutes after regretting not bringing oxygen. After getting back in the aircraft, my pulse oximeter read “SEVERE HYPOXEMIA: IMMEDIATE TREATMENT IS NEEDED TO PREVENT TISSUE DAMAGE AND DEATH”….woops

While sitting in the the helicopter, it’s not unusual for me to send out a quick Phone2Action Tweet, respond to an email or monitor our website’s analytics.

For the past 6 years, I’ve served as an Army National Guard Black Hawk helicopter crew chief and our mission is to evacuate injured soldiers. My day job on the ground is just as exhilarating. I’m the marketing coordinator of Phone2Action, the first comprehensive digital communications and advocacy platform located in the Washington, DC metro area.

It is a pretty common misconception that all the National Guard does is lend a helping hand during states of emergencies. To give you an idea of the National Guard’s “Operational Tempo”, since 2001 our unit has deployed, once to Afghanistan, once to Kosovo and twice to Iraq.

Oddly, I have absorbed a great deal of training in the military that has helped me carve out a career in marketing. Ever since basic training, four effective marketing traits have been brought to forefront of my success:

1. Attention to detail
2. Resilience
3. Loyalty
4. Humor

Right after basic training I landed my first marketing internship at a social tech company. Management told me to “Dress however you want and show up around 9ish.” But being the motivated Army Private I was, I showed up in a new crisp custom made black suit around 7:45am. I quickly learned that I needed to get with program because everyone else was coming in around 10:00am wearing flip-flops and shorts.

One could consider my attraction to start-ups as odd, given my proclivity for rigid military style order. I mean startups and the military couldn’t be more different. My days here don’t usually start with a physical fitness test or learning how to hoist up injured patients to the helicopter while wearing a gas mask. But when you start to dig into it, startups require employees to be loyal, hard-working people who have the resilience to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Much like the military, every person will do anything within their power to succeed in their mission.

But most importantly, I have recognized the value of having an authentically supportive employer. I am committed to social and community activism. It’s part of who I am. This commitment has taken me from the streets of Baltimore during the riots a couple years ago to 14,000 ft mountain tops. I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my duties if I didn’t have supportive employers letting me take off for trainings and emergencies.

I chose to work at Phone2Action because advocacy and small business are my passions. I just can’t see myself working for a company that creates initiatives and products that I don’t fundamentally believe in.

I encourage everyone to find the intersection of their passions and career. It might not fit into one job or position but as one of my first leaders in the military told me, “Everything you do should be in the pursuit of passing the rocking chair test. When you’re 80-years-old and sitting in your rocking chair, you should be able to look back and feel satisfied for what you were able to accomplish.”

So with that, are you fulfilled with you work? Are your employers supportive of your passions? If not. Time to make some major career changes. By the way, Phone2Action is hiring. Check it out.

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