Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jason W. Cochran
  • 501CSW/PA

Finding your dream job is a goal that many work for years to achieve, and it is never guaranteed. For some though, the dream job finds them.

This was the case for Errol McCammon, 423d Force Support Squadron fitness center operations director. He started his career working for the Ministry of Defence.

“Before I was here I was working down at the MOD main building, where all the MP’s and the generals work,” said McCammon. “They had built a fitness facility and wanted someone to volunteer to help run it.”

At the time McCammon was playing American football and therefore thought that he would be a good fit for a position in the fitness industry.

“I ended up enjoying that position so much that I knew that I needed this to be my career,” said McCammon. “And then fortunately this job came up here at Alconbury in August of 1995.”

In the 1990s, the future of RAF Alconbury was uncertain. The dissolution of the USSR resulted in operations scaling back throughout Europe. At RAF Alconbury, all flying operations ceased in February of 1995.

“The first day that I got here, the fitness and sports center director was taking me around the installation to introduce me to the people that I'd be dealing with day to day,” said McCammon. “Everybody I met that day said ‘Hello, nice to meet you but we're leaving’. So I actually went home that evening and said to my wife ‘I think I've made a big mistake. I think the place is closing down and I'm going to be out of a job.’ But since that first day I have never again thought that this wasn’t the job for me.”
As with any job there are pros and cons, having to wake up at 4:30 in the morning to be in at 5:30 is one of the only cons said McCammon. Fortunately the pros make getting up worth it.

“You can imagine in 1995 we didn't have a cardio room, we didn't have a functional fitness room, we didn't have spin areas, all the things that you see that we have now we didn't have,” said McCammon. “So helping, being part of the development of the fitness center has kept the job fresh. Every day is different.”

There is no perfect end state for a fitness center. There are population-wide changes in lifestyle, new discoveries in health science, changing fitness testing criteria and more that push fitness facilities and their staff to adapt.

“I think the fitness center could still do with some modernisation,” said McCammon. “Things need to be upgraded because fitness and sports science is always evolving and with that there's new equipment, new ideas and it's important that the fitness center stays in touch with all of those. It's really important that we do that sort of thing to make sure that we have all the tools necessary for the military and their family members to stay fit and healthy.”

In addition to the challenge of keeping pace with the ever-changing world of fitness, there are particulars about working at RAF Alconbury that enrich McCammon’s experience.

“One of the advantages of being in a small fitness center like this compared with perhaps Lakenheath or Mildenhall is that we get involved in all aspects of the fitness center,” said McCammon. “For instance I am also getting involved in some of the fitness aspects of the job, getting involved in some of the sports aspects of the job, so you get to see the whole of what the fitness industry is about. I think that's really enjoyable.”