What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. ​Not hungry. It’s a rare accomplishment but I’ve slid through the last two days being so annoyed that I’m not even hungry. Bowl of cereal for dinner. A cookie and a giant iced tea for lunch. Copious amounts of coffee at all other points on the clock. I’m assuming that’s not one of those healthy diets people keep posting on Facebook but it is what it is.

2. Unity of command. It’s another one of those exciting weeks where I’m not entirely sure which of six people I actually work for. I know who signs my time sheet and who approves my leave requests, those being the most important functions of supervision. Identifying who exactly is supposed to assign and prioritize my work, though, remains a vague bit of prognosticating. If only we had an organizational chart that spelled out clearly who does what to whom.

3. The challenge of being topless. When you climb onto a Jeep with its top and doors removed you leave yourself open to whatever elements come. You also leave yourself exposed to the other people on the road. Cigarettes flicked out of the window of the car in front of you suddenly have a much more present danger than they did when you were buckled up in a sealed, climate controlled machine. It’s also important that the people near you can actually both see every gesture you make and hear whatever it is you’re saying (or singing along with). That’s a helpful bit to remember if you’re prone to criticizing the skills of your fellow motorists in colorful terms… although the guy stopped next to me on the bridge yesterday seemed to particularly enjoy my repeated pleas for the police to just push the mangled vehicles over the side, let the asshats responsible figure out how to fish them out of the Susquehanna, and get traffic moving again.

Higher headquarters (or, The Everlasting Know-It-All)…

General George Washington stayed in contact with the Continental Congress by means of fast dispatch riders.

General U.S. Grant send word of his victories to Lincoln across the wire.

General Dwight Eisenhower stayed in contact with Allied HQ in London by radio (and through the occasional, and often troublesome visits from elements of the Combined Staff).

Today, we have the ability for the people who dwell within the five-sided insane asylum in Arlington to count every nut and bolt in the inventory. We can do it. We have the technology. As is often the case, though, no one has pondered if it’s something we should do just because we can.

Situational awareness is a beautiful thing… but at what point do you trust the people on the scene to violently execute the mission without further “assistance” from higher headquarters? Eventually, the ability to become an Everlasting Know-It-All just makes everything more difficult. I know everyone wants to think their little piece is indispensable, but history shows me that our greatest commanders have moved the world with a hell of a lot less data and a hell of a lot more faith in their subordinates.

As always, it’s not a sermon, just a thought.

Burdens of leadership…

There are a number of reasons I’m not likely to ever be drug kicking and screaming into a position of leadership. Aside from the fact that it just plain doesn’t interest me from anything other than an academic standpoint, I loathe putting on a jacket and tie just to sit at a desk all day, small talk and glad handing make me want to poke myself in the eye with a pointy stick, and really, the only screw ups I want to be responsible for in life are the ones I make myself. With all of that being said, should the worst ever happen and I get stuck in one of these positions, I hope that I remember the little things; like knowing how to get from Point A to Point B without six other people managing the arrangements for me, or being able to have a conversation with my contemporaries without needing hundreds of slides and a stack of memos to decide what I want to say. I’d especially want to remember that normal people tend to have interests and obligations that aren’t work related so keeping them standing around early in the morning and well after close of business should be avoided.

I’m not even going to get into how bloody obnoxious it would be to basically have no control over my own schedule. Being shuffled around from place to place and meeting to meeting with just a few notes jammed in my hand at the last minute would drive me right up to the edge of wanting to beat people with my shoe. I’m glad there are people who welcome that level of pain in the ass, but frankly I’m ecstatic that I’m not cut out to be one of them. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stick my nose in a book about the Danish invasion of England. That’s way more interesting than a three ring binder chuck full of information about the fun things to see, do, and talk about at Fort Pignuckle, Louisiana.