Tuesday, June 19, 2012

$&%ing leadership development

I've been lucky enough to be selected for several programs at NASA. Just knowing that I was chosen has meant a lot given the caliber of people that are in the selection pool. In my eleven years at Kennedy Space Center, a full year has been spent in Austin, TX on a graduate fellowship doing microelectronics research. It was a great experience and one of the better times of my life. Austin is a great city, and I've been back several times... including a 2012 St Patrick's Day GORUCK. I enjoyed the city so much during my time there, that I set the beginning of my novel on 6th street. It was fun returning with a couple buddies and pointing out key locations from the book.

I was also selected to NASA's System Engineering and Leadership Development Program (SELDP) that sent me out to San Francisco for a year to work on a lunar mission (LADEE, scheduled to launch from Virginia in 2013). San Francisco had great weather and I loved the city, but the people were a bit too... much... for my tastes. I wasn't sad to begin the long drive home after the program ended. (Ironically, San Francisco is featured in Number 181, also, but I wrote that section of the book before I even knew I was SF-bound.)

I've been selected to Leadership Seminole to work with city and community leaders to build lines of communication between government and private entities to promote the area. I've worked international symposiums with representatives from dozens of national space agencies. There's a lot going on to better yourself with any company, and I have been lucky to have so many advocates among previous supervisors.

My current supervisor is no exception. He championed my selection for Leadership Seminole and is working hard again for the year-long Mid-Level Leadership Program.

The catch is that the application itself is a study on discipline and sanity. This thing is essay-upon-essay of similarly worded questions and double-speak, and I find myself rambling on subjects to no foreseeable ending. I am pretty sure that I could cut-and-paste one response into three different questions and have them be appropriate. On the flip-side, this is a highly competitive, agency-wide program in which few applicants are selected... and I'm on day four of filling this thing out. I wonder how many other people around the country are knee-deep in this paperwork at the expense of their sanity... and day job.

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