Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sometimes You Just Can't Help Yourself...

Despite my best intentions to remain detached from the latest and last iteration of colleagues who I will soon leave behind, I have fallen into the trap of getting to know and like them. Even more surprising and rewarding has been the outbreak of friendship.

Anybody who changes jobs or moves with any frequency can attest that "senioritis" doesn't happen only when you get ready to leave home and strike out on your own after high school. The dismissive, sometimes cavalier attitude at school, disregard for your parents and the breakup with your prom date who would hold you back in your new life are easily detected in the "end-of-tour" worker. Productivity tends to slip, together with concern about being productive, minor frictions with colleagues tend to become inflamed, and efforts to build up new relationships tend to be half-hearted, and many contacts and projects are simply jettisoned as the conclusion is drawn that insufficient time remains to make real progress.

I'm guilty of all of the above and more, but have been stymied in my senioritis by interesting work that keeps me at my desk, and by enjoyable colleagues I have been forced to enjoy rather than ignore.

Among the newest military crew I found the usual mixture of fun-loving, hard-charging, very professional, very patriotic and very likeable guys. The current crew is not obsessed with sugary cereal in the same way as a previous unit, but comes with their own signature quirks, including a tendency to end meetings/conversations by saying "Airborne" which might be translated into civilian talk as "long live the airborne rangers".

On a very early morning (0300) during a very pleasant "camping trip" I was given some perspective on why "Airborne" Rangers tend to be a tad aggressive (though they also tend to season into extraordinary officers). One of my new friends pointed out the obvious fact that when you parachute into enemy territory, your choices are pretty straightforward win or die. Surrender isn't part of their vocabulary, and dying seems to be shunned less because of the traditional reasons (i.e. wanting to keep living) than because it gets in the way of winning...

So as I was saying, how can you not love having these guys by your side and watching your back?


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