Saturday, April 28, 2012

In which our hero becomes "The Man"

I was promoted at work this week, I wasn't sure it was going to happen but I thought it might. I really wanted it to happen a year ago but it didn't so this time around I was a little less hopeful. With this promotion I took over the operation of a business unit with a budget of several million dollars and over 300 employees. I am not sure how I feel about that. I am responsible for all financial results good or bad and I have direct influence on the livelihood of not only myself and my family but hundreds of people and their families as well. I am very humbled and nervous. I know I can do a good job but only time will prove this. How did I, the guy who still listens to Rage Against the Machine and the Sex Pistols, become the establishment?

Honestly I always wanted to be a rebel but I am just not very good at it. The main problem is I hate being embarrassed, and I embarrass easily. So therefore not matter what I do I try to do the best job I can so as not to draw attention to myself. I also need to be constantly challenged or I get bored and dissatisfied. This desire to not be embarrassed and to banish boredom led me to every elite unit or school I could manage to attend during my 22 year Army career. Infantry,Paratrooper,Ranger, Green Beret,Sniper,Military Freefall, Tandem Master, Jumpmaster Static line and Freefall. 82nd Airborne Division,10th Mountain Division, 10th Special Forces Group and the Special Warfare Center. While attending these schools and doing my job in these units I eventually rose to the Senior Enlisted ranks and first found out what is was like to be "The man." It was a new experience for me to be the one everyone looked to for answers and at the same time they blamed for their unhappiness or any perceived faults of leadership. Being the man you are both leader and scapegoat. You are held accountable for a lot of stuff you have no control over. Looking back on that period I think I generally did a good job and I think I was a good leader. However I made some enemies, and that still bothers me because I have never been quite sure if it was me or them that was deficient.

Towards the end of my military career I decided I better get educated beyond the high school level or I wouldn't get a decent job. So I did, eventually obtaining a Masters degree after 7 years of part time study and full time employment. It was tough but satisfying. I am proud of the fact that I obtained an Associates, and Bachelors and a Masters degree while working a full time and a part time job and establishing myself in the civilian sector. During this period I also become qualified as an emergency medical technician. I started volunteering at a local ambulance service. Once again after a year or so I found myself as "the man." Even though I have not obtained the highest certification as of yet I am at an Intermediate level and experienced enough that I am often assigned to be the in charge on our various ambulance calls. Once again people are looking to me for answers and any screw ups are my responsibility. How does this keep happening?

So back to the original topic, I have reached the pinnacle at least at the local level. I can go no higher unless I am transferred to the corporate office and opportunities there are very limited. It took me 18 years in my military career to reach this point. The point where I was responsible for decision making that had far reaching consequences. The point where any further advancement would take me out of my unit.  This time the curve was much steeper.  I started out as a part time employee for this company 6 years ago and now I am in charge of the entire operation. America is truly the land of opportunity and no one will ever convince me otherwise. I have some big shoes to fill but I have been there before. I also know you are only as good as your last accomplishment so I will not be resting on my laurels. However while I am strategizing and business planning I will still be the guy who froze Curley Ward's hat in a milk jug. I will still be the guy who cranks up the Metallica.

Thanks for letting me ramble

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