In this video, we meet Matt Whiat, an airman in the United States Air Force. Matt discusses how his personal value of providing service and personal preference for a dynamic work environment aligned with his career.
I’m Matt Whiat. I’m an American Airman in the United States Air Force, and I do what I love.
What is it about “what you do” that you love?
I have the opportunity to work with people- and I work with an organization that is not set up to simply serve itself. In that it serves something greater than just the bottom line profit margins. It serves something greater than just the organization to survive and to make a profit.. or to make money - it serves others. It serves as defense of our nation. It serves, a lot of times, in helping our allies and helping those around the world that are in need. And I think that as we go through life, that was personally something that was important to me - that I devoted the time that I had in my life doing something for someone else.
What keeps it from feeling like work?
That I have the luxury of a job that constantly changes. And while to some that might seem very daunting, to me it’s very enjoyable that every year or every two years, I’m forced, or I’m at least put into a position to learn something entirely different.
How did you determine that this was what you wanted to do?
It wasn’t that I don’t have interests, it’s that I had too many interests, and I’m sure there are young folks out there going through high school and junior high and even college that think, “you know, I love everything from the arts to working on a car, and I have no idea where it is I fit in the world.” I think I was certainly one of those people. And at the time, there was a little bit of the patriotism and there was a little bit of the fact that I spent a lot of my high school classes surfing and not being in class -and didn’t really set myself up very well to go to college. And so the ability to go into the military, both from a service aspect, and also to help with advanced schooling to learn different things about the world - that was dramatic for me and it opened up the doors of a whole host of other options that I had a chance to do. I certainly did not know, growing up, this is all I want to do and yet I look back and I’m not sure that, in my personality type, and I know that there are others out there that have just a lot of interests, I’m not sure that I could have done it any other way. So if someone is out there thinking “how do I choose?” and “what is the right way?” I would say there isn’t one magical formula. Open yourself up to taking classes and exploring new avenues you have no idea about. And when you’re uncomfortable - those are the moments that you’re growing and you’re learning. And you’ll find what niche you should fill.
What is one misconception about your job title?
Under that surface level, though, of someone who has not dealt with the military, you find very dedicated people who, a good portion of our time, is spent helping those in need - whether it’s for man-made disasters or from natural disasters. In fact, the command I currently serve in, Air Mobility Command, the majority of our missions are not combat in nature at all. They’re mostly humanitarian and we have men and women right now down in Africa, down in South America that the public will probably not know about and will probably not hit the headlines, that are building schools and digging wells, and all of that is phenomenal capability. And there’s something beautiful that these same machines that we build to defend America - that we build to wage these wars are also used to help those in need.
I’m Matt Whiat. I’m an American Airmen United States Air Force and I do what I love.