Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back to Work

I have been catching up on work for the past few days and thinking about the contrast between the Army and my civilian job. At work I am a manager without a staff. A manager because I have a budget, but a "private soldier" when it comes to work. I write news releases, speeches, negotiate with video producers and photographers, talk to reporters who cover chemistry, and work on teams that are getting ready for events. The emphasis is on what I do. I work at home two days a week because I live 70 miles away and many of the things I do, I do alone. And if something comes up in a project I am working on that our president or a director should know about, I can drop in and talk to them, or send them an e-mail.
In the school at Aberdeen, my first responsibility was to be wherever the school staff said I was supposed to be. Even the tests and performance evaluations were essentially pass-fail. As soon as I met the standard on a performance test or got 70% on a written exam I was done with that art of the course and on to the next part. One member of our class was clearly the best at every hands-on performance measure in the course. If someone was stuck, he was the one they called. But he got a low (passing) grade on one test and so we did not have an honor grad. the first sergeant spoke to us every morning at formation before we went to class. In fact we could depend on him repeating everything at least once per formation then repeating a lot of the same warnings and information a half-dozen times more.
In my day job, time matters. Standing in front of our first sergeant all that mattered was that he believed that we understood the information he was passing to us.
Today I worked on 20 different things, and did no paperwork to prove I did any of it. I am a civilian again--at least until May.

The Philosopher of War and Terror and Politics: Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt 1906-1975 Today a friend asked and I were talking about politics and how refugee problems have led to wars in the pas...