This is a repost from Whatever-Weather.com that I wrote back in 2010 that has been taken down due to site problems.
When you work in operational forecasting, Situational Awareness is crucial for your day-to-day work. Individual Situational Awareness is the ability to be aware of your current surroundings and still be able to see the big picture and not get caught up in details and loose the bigger picture.
This concept has been applied to many professions, and the National Weather Service (NWS) considers it so important that they have made it part of their core operational forecaster training. It is offered free online through the Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB) as part of the Advanced Warning Operations Course (AWOC), requirement IC 2, broken up into four parts and viewable on any internet browser with flash installed. Look for the link at the bottom of this article for more details.
Now, how does Situational Awareness help with day-to-day life and a job search? When you are tracking a storm and are involved in creating detailed forecasts, you bounce between different scales of the outside conditions. We also collaborate with fellow forecasters in the operations room on what we see as each event unfolds.
In our job searches we can lose Situational Awareness as we go from one job application to another and one networking session to another if we let them blur together. We also can use Situational Awareness when we look at our large, diverse skill set and look for the best way to use this skill or that skill in the interim while we are making our transition between positions. A proper application of Situational Awareness can keep our job transition on track.
In the forecast operations room there is a large monitor showing the synoptic or national scale conditions. To help keep our Situational Awareness, we need to have our own virtual monitor, and we need to look up from our day-to-day tasks from time to time and find our bearings to keep our Situational Awareness. It can take the form of a whiteboard, Microsoft Outlook scheduling program, or even a paper planning calendar and task list. The tools keep us organized and keep us reviewing on everything we have done and what we still need to do in our job transition.
WDTB AWOC IC2 on Situational Awareness:
©2010-2012 Charles Schoeneberger