Side hustles are all the rage these days. The lawyer, who runs a part-time subscription box company. The banker, who sells artisan chocolate. The executive assistant, who is a YouTube star. The publicist, who teaches fitness classes. And so on….
Yet, there’s one side hustle that doesn’t receive adequate recognition, respect, appreciation or support. One that is much more than a “part-time” job. Yet, has no potential for fame or fortune. One that doesn’t observe holidays, birthdays, weddings or special occasions. One that involves living in two separate worlds, bound by different goals, lifestyles, appearances, cultures, customs, skills and more. One that requires these side hustlers to seamlessly switch between worlds at a moment’s notice and be ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to switch into their alter ego.
Steve Rodgers as Captain America
Frank Castle as The Punisher
Bruce Wayne as Batman
Arthur Curry as Aquaman
Robert Louis Drake as Iceman
Except this isn’t fantasy - its reality. And while on a singular level, these individuals may not have supernatural or superhuman powers, when combined, teamwork creates synergies and together they form the world’s largest superpower. A superpower that, much like a superhero, is dedicated to fighting evil, protecting the public and defending freedom.
Steve Rodgers isn’t Captain America; he’s a U.S. Soldier
Frank Castle isn’t The Punisher; he’s a U.S. Marine
Bruce Wayne isn’t Batman; he’s a U.S. Airman
Arthur Curry isn’t Aquaman; he’s a U.S. Seaman
Robert Louis Drake isn’t Iceman; he’s a U.S. Coast National Guardsman
Together they form the Reserve Components of the United States Armed Forces, or the National Guard and Reserve, which comprises 40% of the total American military force. These citizen Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Seamen and Coast National Guardsmen, blend in with society, but serve a profound mission. Just like their active duty counterparts, they took an oath to protect and defend the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and with that, the understanding that they may be called upon to put their civilian lives entirely on hold for the good of the nation. Fully trained and suitably qualified, they stand ready to meet the nation’s calling, in time of war or national emergency.
Members of the National Guard and Reserve have to accomplish what their Active Duty counterparts do in less than 15% of the time or only 39 days of military service per year. This is in addition to managing a full-time civilian career, family, school and more. They balance their civilian lives with their military lives and effortlessly switch and integrate between both worlds, without missing a beat. One day you’ll find them wearing a business suit to the boardroom, while the following day they’re dressed in full camouflage on their way to the command center, with no time to readjust or decompress between each role. They’ve fought alongside the Active Duty force in Iraq and Afghanistan and every corner of the globe. The U.S. military would not be able to meet its requirements, without help from the Reserve Components.
I recently celebrated 10 years of service in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. A duty that I take seriously and manage carefully, with other commitments in my civilian life, such as running SportVenom, Viola Umbrella and being on the board at Global Youth Connect.
Please help support the Guard and Reserve at work and at home.