Civil Affairs Officer: Army Reserve Careers

2LT Alvarez talks about what inspired her to join the Army Reserve, her mission and how she balances her civilian job with her Army career.
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I am Second Lieutenant Ingrid Alvarez; Civil Affairs Officer of the United States Army Reserve.

What inspired me to join the Army Reserve was mainly the focus that I was looking for. I needed some personal growth and I'm the only one in my family serving in the military, so I guess that was another good motivator being a pioneer in my family.

What I do for my civilian job I work for a major computer manufacture. I am the customer's last resource pretty much when it comes to issues with their computer. I have a lot of resources that I can use in order to give them something better than they had and they're usually very happy, the customers very happy about that.

As a civil affairs officer what I've learned is that we're there to fight the kind of insurgency is reshaping their environment to make it safer and as a byproduct then the population benefits from that.

The way that my civilian job and my military job translate from one to another one is because it has to do with the public, and also taking care of the interest of the organization.

I take care of the customer however; I have to also watch for the interest of the corporation at the same time.

With the Army I deal with the public, the population, the locals and so forth, but also I have to keep in mind that there is always the mission first.

The Army Reserve overall has given me the confidence that I'm capable to do just about anything. I'm a completely different person that I was 2-½ years ago. Now I can look in the mirror and tell to myself ‘yea, this is a woman that I always wanted to be'.

I rather live a short life of the service of others than a long life of service of myself. And that's what the Army is all about. It's just not about you its about the team, the mission. For us it's mission first and that is something that you don't often time see in the civilian world.

My favorite part of the Army Reserve, I would say its flexibility. The reason that I decided to go on the reserve instead of active duty is because I wanted to live at home, and you get to stay with your friends and family that kind of thing. You get the same quality training and the same opportunities but it's a little more flexible. That definitely my favorite thing is to go work, even if its civilian, but I know that I can stand proud and say ‘yes, I am a Soldier' and I get to do things the guy next door wouldn't be able to do