Hey there! So this is me, Jen Causey.
I grew up a tiny village, which was in fact a collection of smaller communities, on the south west coast of Newfoundland, Codroy Valley. I was very much the tomboy, driven, and wanted to be the best at everything I did. I also was a bit of a rule follower, I seemed to like structure. It was perhaps no big surprise to anyone that I ended up in the Army. In 1994 at the age of 17, dressed in my newly purchased officer nerd clothes and loaded down with suitcases, I left my house at 0400hrs to start the long journey to Chilliwack, British Columbia, destined for Basic Officer Training. Clueless and naive about what lay ahead, but confident I could do it. And I did.
I graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1999 as a fully trained Field Artillery Officer. What the hell is that you might ask? Well, I make big guns go bang. Long range, indirect fire support, one of the three combat arms within the Army. You see, when the recruiter said to me, “You’re outdoorsy, you play a bunch of sports with the boys, you like camping, how do you feel about Land Operations?” I had no clue what I didn’t know and said, “Yeah, sure, that sounds awesome.” That innocent conversation put me on a certain path, one that I learned a great deal from, but now that I have partially stepped away from it, I am starting to realize how much I didn’t learn about myself.
I had a fantastic career in the Army. I had opportunity that I never would have found on the civilian side of things, and for that I will be forever grateful. But I’m pretty certain it was never my dream job. I really had no clue what I wanted coming out of high school. I thought maybe a teacher, and I was heading to university, but not with a plan (not a move I would recommend btw). Then I got an offer from the military. And once I stepped on that path, I never got off. Inertia is a powerful force to overcome. Eventually I took a step off, kinda, sorta. I left the Regular Force, took a job as a contractor for the military, and stayed in the Reserve Force part time. I guess more realistically I inched off the path.
Feeling a bit of a void, I started to write. Mostly as an outlet for me, partly because I felt I had earned the right to lend my voice to important conversations, and because I missed professional discourse. I enjoy exchanging ideas. But even with that, I still felt a little underwhelmed. Blah. Toying with ideas in my head about trying to make my articles into something more coherent, could I find avenues to speak about my experiences? I didn’t know, was unsure, and once again, inertia won out. Until now, which brings me to this blog.
I’m migrating my articles from LinkedIn to a domain that will allow me greater freedom to explore my ideas, to think out loud so to speak, learn about myself, and to share it with a wider audience. I’m willing to do something, to throw my ideas out there and see what comes back. This is me, defying inertia for once. It’s a step off the path. What you will find here are a lot of my thoughts on leadership, communication and gender integration that are born out of a 25 year career as a female combat arms officer. On the flip side of the coin, I’ll share my some of my personal insights I’ve gleaned along away, as I’ve only really began to reflect in detail on them and gain an appreciation for how much of an impact certain things had on my life.
I welcome feedback. I’m new to this and don’t really know what I’m doing. So if you care to listen to An Army Girl’s Perspective, enough to comment, it can only help broaden my perspective.