CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Choosing the right career path in the military can be a frustrating process. Sailors with 1st Dental Battalion look to one sailor for advice on finding the right one.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Melissa Irvin, an assistant career planner with 1st Dental Bn., 1st Marine Logistics Group, strives to help sailors make the right choices for career re-enlistments based on their needs.
The responsibilities of a career planner are essential for sailors looking to explore options in furthering their career. Career planners advise and provide the sailors looking for a change with the best opportunities available to ensure they have successful futures.
“I assist sailors with their careers by (helping them) choose orders and re-enlistments,” said Irvin, a native of Ely, Nev. “For me it’s all about helping people. I want to help sailors with their careers.”
In order to re-enlist, sailors need to meet certain criteria depending on the individual’s Military Occupational Specialty. Each individual’s performance, rank, time on station and Navy physical readiness test scores are factored into the evaluated score.
“I want people to have confidence in me (and that I will help) their careers stay on track,” said Irvin. “I do everything I can to make sure sailors are satisfied with the career options they choose.”
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“I call her the unsung hero of the battalion,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Bryar, a hospital corpsman with 1st Dental Bn. “She is probably one of the hardest working individuals I know.”
Amidst the countless service members Irvin has helped, she has a career plan of her own, continuing her education with a little help from the Navy.
Off-duty education can help service members with their current job by teaching them organizational and time management skills, and also providing a broader foundation of knowledge, added Irvin.
“I joined the Navy to be a better person,” said Irvin. “I feel like you always have to improve yourself for the better and that’s what education provides.”
Attending college classes has multiple benefits for service members, including broadening their marketability for job opportunities and improving their chances for promotions after service in the military.
Irvin took advantage of the opportunity to further her education and in July 2013, she earned her associates degree in health nutrition and kinesiology.
“I want to get my bachelor’s degree and then further my military career by becoming a commissioned officer,” she said. “I want to make a difference.”
No matter how busy Irvin is with her own career, her office is always open to offer a helping hand to her fellow sailors.
“I don’t do my job for recognition,” said Irvin. “My reward is accomplishing something and knowing I’ve helped someone every day.”