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A traveler saw two men cutting stone from a mountain and placing the blocks on carts. He asked them, “What are you doing?” One said, “Can’t you see? We’re cutting stones from this mountain.” The other man gave the traveler an understanding look and said, ….”We’re building a church.” (for non-USCG readers, sorry for the Coast Guard acronym speak – I’ll explain later) I am always screwing up; and I mean constantly. Not in big ways anymore, I’ve made all “those” mistakes and survived. But with little things, the things that aren’t so obvious, I miss them all the time. Later, when I look back, I’m amazed at how easy it seems to do things right. Like my first real boss used to say, “I go to bed every night thinking I can’t get any smarter, and wake up every morning wondering how I could have been so stupid yesterday.” That’s just life, I guess. But recently, I came across a goof not so easy to spot and even harder to correct. It’s something we do readily, backed up by years of tradition and practice, yet I believe it is the single biggest mistake that any of us ever make in our work life. It causes us more unnecessary hassle and serves to incite more job dissatisfaction than anything, and until recently, I would never have guessed it was such a big problem, but it is. We use the chain of command. […]
These young men and women (two-thirds of them were under 28 years old) had joined the service between 2003 and 2007. What that means is that they spent years of their young lives watching their friends and families come home dead or wounded and still said, “Sign me up.” At a time in the world where going into harms way was an “imperative” rather than a remote possibility, these people had volunteered anyway.
My friend, Sara Faulkner, is one of only four women currently serving as helicopter rescue swimmers in the U.S. Coast Guard. Here she is being interviewed after a rescue she was involved in late last year. Video 1 Video 2