Tonight’s platform has given me some of my best work to date, for old time’s sake let us hope is still has what it takes.
This trip to the home front seems to be plagued by a different feeling than most. In past I’ve been primarily relieved to be home and relaxed to be back in familiar territory. Those feelings are still present, but occupying a secondary (or tertiary) seat these days. Of many thoughts and feelings, one of my primary concerns seems to be doubt if I’ve enlisted in the right service.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt that we’re fighting the good fight and serving a good cause. I also have full confidence in my commanding officer and those up the ranks. I suspect what has me feeling a uneasy is the lack of camaraderie resulting from the fact that I’m the only one in my unit in my position. I don’t mind my responsibility at all, it’s fairly rewarding on personal and professional levels, but I’m left feeling less like an appreciated specialist and more like the guy in charge of operating the radio because no one else was ambitious enough to figure out how.
I can’t help but look to my buddies from training school who got assigned to tank crews where they work together closely (perhaps too closely for their liking) with the rest of their four man team. I certainly don’t have a desire to be packed in a turret basket with three other guys, but I suspect they enjoy the fact that if they’re having a bad day there is someone their who readily notices and can help out if necessary. More importantly, they can call you out when you’re doing something wrong. The specialization of my current assignment doesn’t bother me, but the feeling of often being the lone man out does.
Thinking back, I miss the days in training school where all of us in the platoon would have to (and could easily) work together to get things done. Everyone developed a pretty good understanding of the specific tasks best suited for each other, and the hand-off from one person to another was seamless and natural. These days any hand off attempt feels less like an assembly line and more like a mess hall cafeteria. With a position near the end of the line, I’m serving something particularly tasty, the trays will already be filled by the time I get here and folks aren’t interested.
The logical thing to do might be to talk to my CO about this. I’ve considered it from time to time, but we tend to get caught up debriefing firefights when we talk. Some improvement needed here.
Being home during the summer season also means that everyone is out doing summer activities. In past I’ve coped with the fact that everyone is out and about by submerging myself in work (a technique I use to cope with just about anything). There is still a plentiful amount of work I could submerge myself in, it’s just logistically more challenging to do so now that I’m working a more proper job. During my summers developing open source code I felt quite comfortable working on a variety of different open source projects during the day depending on who needed help, what was broken, and what I planned to get done. Currently my job provides me with some flexibility to do that, but I start to feel guilty if I don’t get back to my fairly specialized role because I can’t currently rely on others to keep up while I’m off tackling an unrelated problem.
I’m hardly keeping any sort of quantitative measurements, but it feels like the less logistical it is for me to participate in something the more likely I am to get invited to it. Actually, that’s probably not true, though it does feel that way sometimes. The more logical explanation is that I happen to be deployed further away now and the timing just coincides with people having more active social lives now that we’re not longer in training school.
Good night moon.