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As much as I try to be a good trooper, there’s just something in my personality that seems to pick up on the snarky, the jaded, and the slightly bitter. What can I say; government service brings out the best in my inner malcontent. That makes it hard not to pick out and focus on the little sound bites that hit your ear on a daily basis. Like first thing this morning, when I heard a snipped of conversation between a vexed young line employee and a not particularly grizzled officer turned civilian. She was asking why things needed to be done a certain way, which based on my understanding of the issue seemed like a perfectly reasonable question. His response, though, was telling: That’s the guidance we got from higher; we don’t ask questions, we just do what it says.

That pretty much tells me what I need to know about how to go along to get along in this little part of Uncle Sam’s extended family.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

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