Monday, July 10, 2006

Motivation and Dedication

In BCT (Basic Combat Training otherwise known as Boot Camp) there were several days devoted to classroom training- intelligence briefings on the Soviet Threat, classes on surviving chemical and biological weapons, Chain-of-Command... that kind of stuff. Questions from the recruits were encouraged.

Several of the other training platoons started prefacing their questions with slogans to show 'spirit': "Drill Sergeant! Private Jones from 3rd Platoon the best platoon! My question is..."

When I had a question, I asked it: "Drill Sergeant! Private Miller, First Platoon. What is..."
The drill stopped me right there. "What's the matter private? Aren't you motivated?"
"Drill sergeant! No Drill Sergeant! I'm dedicated! I'll be there long after these cheerleaders have burned out!" Fortunately, the drill sergeants we had- Smoll, Bowe and I can't remember the third, liked that. Smoll and Bowe had seen a lot of ugliness and valued dedication over motivation.

This is in my head now because of the ugliness mentioned in the last post. There were some bad and, in my opinion, unethical decisions made. I called the boss on the bad decisions and refused to go along with the unethical one... and called that one out into light. THAT's MY JOB. It's not easy and I don't always enjoy telling people I usually respect that they are wrong but that is my job.

And it's just a job.

But all week (and I've already had two days of it and it's making me tired) the individuals involved will be taking me aside and having long, private, heart-felt conversations to make sure that we don't have a problem. It's as if they expect (and I've seen it, so it's not an irrational expectation) that no one would actually speak out unless they were deeply angry.

I spoke, so I must be angry.

I'm dedicated. I'm dedicated to my job so I do the job. I do it as well as I can whether I'm tired or frustrated or injured or having problems outside of work. Not just when I'm motivated or in the mood. That's what I'm paid to do. That's what I swore I would do. Sometimes that involves saying things that people would rather not hear. That's okay. the best lessons are the ones you don't want to hear.


The Moody Minstrel said...

You're someone who stands by his oaths. That's admirable to say the least. Unfortunately, in this day and age it's also damned unusual. Oaths, promises, dedication, and even simple personal responsibility have all become endangered species in the "I deserve more" culture of today. If it's not convenient it should just be discarded. That seems to be the motto of the day.

Why do you think the divorce rate is so high? Two people swear a legally-binding oath to each other, "For better or for worse...(etc.)...death do us part." Then when they find that marriage isn't always a carnival ride, they immediately try to trade it in and look for a new model.

Frankly, I don't know why more judges don't order would-be divorcees fined if not jailed for breach of contract. Face it, people in modern, Westernized culture have a tendency to be not worth a whole lot.

Kai Jones said...

When everyone else is ignoring the elephant in the middle of the room, and you point it out, to defend their decision to ignore it they *must* give you an extraordinary reason for refusing the same choice.

I get into this problem a lot in political discussions, because I refuse to drink the koolaid and say that everyone who disagrees with me is either stupid or evil. I can imagine good reasons that other people might have for making different decisions from mine without feeling threatened about how I made my decisions. But when I explain that I understand those other positions, people assume I must have those opinions.

I never pick up on when they're playing the bonding game versus when they're having a genuine, sincere discussion in an attempt to understand (and possibly change) the minds of people who disagree with them.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Kai Jones,

So very true.

Then you have to deal with the people that rabidly fight for a particular cause only because that somehow makes them feel superior to "those people" that don't. Social acceptance through superior flame-power.

Kai Jones said...

That's like the bonding game, then, because part of the bonding game is almost always saying we-who-are-bonded are better! than everyone else somehow.

I'm only better than the person I used to be. That's the group I want membership in.