Fond memories – my perspective as an Officer Cadet in training

Officer Cadet Mihaela Mesca, Logistics Officer - Air
Officer Cadet Mihaela Mesca at the National Defence Headquarters (Carling). Photo: Submitted

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Officer Cadet Mihaela Mesca, Logistics Officer – Air

Before joining the military, I was unhappy with my job and my future prospects. I wanted something different and challenging, something that I’d enjoy, but nothing seemed to be the right fit. I considered joining the military, but hesitated due to unique aspects of the job, such as remote postings, arduous duties, and irregular hours. I also struggled with my own perceptions of military life. I would be outside of my comfort zone, and I wondered if I was made for it.

Despite misgivings, I decided to join. The Logistics Branch seemed perfect for me due to my aptitude and previous background in organizing functions and events. Basic military training sounded stressful, and while it certainly wasn’t easy, it was not impossible. I found that if you were reasonably fit and did not overthink, much of the training came naturally. Time seemed to pass quickly, and before I knew it, I had graduated.

When I joined the team at the National Defence Headquarters (Carling) as an Officer Cadet for training in 2017, my first impression was how kind and professional my new colleagues were. They took pains to be welcoming and accommodating, and helpfully assigned me tasks related to my trade and skillset.

This was invaluable in helping me get used to my role. During my first meeting, it seemed as if all present were speaking in a different language of acronyms, and I didn’t understand half of it. Even though I still struggle occasionally, my colleagues have helped ensure I can now speak that language.

I was also impressed by the supportive office culture that includes team activities such as golf, barbeque, and pool. This helped us work better together, and ensured that coming to work was never a chore. This positive culture extended to the workplace as well. During meetings, all team members, regardless of rank or station, are encouraged to speak up and share their ideas and opinions in an atmosphere of equality. I found that my input was valued despite my relative inexperience.

While there are many differing opinions about the move to NDHQ (Carling), I believe the space shows an improvement over some other offices in the National Capital Region that have big cubicle walls and little sunlight. Buildings at the new campus benefit from open spaces, and areas for employees to collaboratively work, socialize, exercise and eat – all with a natural backdrop. With plans to expand the gym facilities, food courts, beautiful walkways and paths, the campus is a great place to work even under construction.

As I prepare to leave Ottawa, and start my military career in Cold Lake, Alta., I will always look back fondly on the people I worked with at NDHQ (Carling).

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