Thursday, February 3, 2011

Maybe It Oughta Be...You

4 in, 396 out.

After two straight nights of catching z's on a linoleum floor under a desk in Reading, it's nice that work and weather have let up just enough to get me back to Lowell -- even if it's just for an hour or so before hitting the hay and then waking up at 0400 to drive back.

Before I do that, though, I'll say this: we are very top-heavy. Emphasis on the very. We are an HQ staff, so nearly 1/3 of us are officers, and if you add in the senior enlisted (E-7 and above), you're way into the numerical majority.

That's not really how it's supposed to work. In a normal line Company, you would have a handful of Officers (including the boss, a Captain), several more NCOs, and then you'd have a huge *base* of junior enlisted (Privates and Specialists). Think of a pyramid as a model.

We kind of flip that on its head, which is generally okay, but it drives me nuts every time I hear someone say, "I can't believe I'm doing [x]. Isn't there some Specialist or Private who should be doing this?"

Well, oftentimes there simply isn't.

So the way I interpret that is that if the water bubbler is empty I can simply grab a full one, rip the top off, and replace it...rather than kick it, curse, and walk away.

If a trash barrel is being stuffed past the brim, I can tie it up and put in a fresh liner...rather than play the trash 'jenga' puzzle of seeing where I can stack my garbage on top of something else.

And if something needs to be cleaned up, that means the choice is sometimes between doing it now, doing it later, or not doing it -- but certainly not expending just as much effort finding someone to pawn it off on.

Top-heavy units aren't all bad...they bring a lot of operational experience and perspective to the fight.

But the whole thing only really works when the people in them can check their egos at the door. Sometimes, if a Master Sergeant or a Major wants to make something happen, the simplest and most effective way might be the self-initiated one.

1 comment:

C R Krieger said...


Regards  —  Cliff