Sunday, January 20, 2008

false motivation

They say false motivation is better than no motivation at all, so even when things are at their worst put on a happy face and pretend they don't suck. My problem is that I am at a point where that is becoming a nearly impossible task. We're at precarious point in our deployment where we are real close to going home - awards are submitted, evaluations complete, and for me, project proposals are all finished. So it's easy for us to put it in neutral and coast through the next period of time until our replacements arrive; in fact, the real challenge is getting out of neutral, like a car with a broken shifter.

The problem is that we still have a job to do. Our replacements aren't here yet, and it's not time for us to pack our things and ship them home. Allowing ourselves to slip into cruise control and just mindlessly finish out this deployment is a dangerous situation that we need to guard against, but how? I vaguely remember being like this in Afghanistan 4 years ago, but I think it was easier then. I still had a platoon to lead, and an example to set. Here? Not so much. Being an advisor has been a different sort of challenge the entire past year, and this is no different.

As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated!

15 comments:

LT Nixon said...

Whatup Jason,

I know you've been in this situation before, but I think the best thing is to not have high hopes when you come back from the deployment. I ran into this problem after my first deployment, when I returned I thought my life would be so much better, but it still wasn't anything special. I aim for a mediocre existence at best. Just my thoughts! Congrats on wrapping things up, I still got like 4 months and change, argh!

verybadcat said...

Maybe if when you got up in the morning, you just took a minute to think about the simple things you'll appreciate when you get home, it would remind you to protect that?

Psycho Squirrel said...

How about asking your crazy eight ball questions until it answers back with the right answers?

Bag Blog said...

Every job that comes to an end has its "short timers" syndrome - where you feel in limbo. Just keep yourself safe, and do your job well enough that you don't have a guilty conscience later and no one cusses you when you are gone. It will pass soon enough and maybe faster if you focus on whatever keeps you busy.

Anonymous said...

Jason - these may seem like off-the-wall ideas but I saw them work wonders in the waning days of OIF.

You are going to have a short window beginning next month where your FOB weeds will be a nice shade of green - before the heat wilts them dormant again.

So, get a hold of a small planting pot and some grass seed. Take care not to overwater with those large water bottles. Once it is time to mow, take the government issued scissors from your desk drawer and cut the grass blades to uniform length.

Another favorite past-time was to bait Iraqi field mice with MRE peanut butter spread into a set mouse trap. Proudly display your hunting success on sandbags near your hooch. Keep track of your kills. You will find this action one of your most satisfying memories of OIF.

Huggins said...

Mindfulness about everything is the only way to go...I recently read a book and in it the author talked about being mindful about your walk, your eating, your job, anything that you accomplish, it should be done with mindfulness. Take time out of your day to breath and to realize that each living moment is a gift. It has been more than 15 years since I was deployed to Somalia Africa with the 10th Mountain Division, and almost immediately when I got out of the Army in Oct of 1992 the U.S. Army Rangers went into that country and lost the mindfulness of our true mission to relieve the suffering, and I have still never gotten over the fact, that when we lose focus of our true mission as Patriots and defenders of freedom that we lose more than a life, we lose integrity...This is the 2nd war in this region since being discharged from being an enlisted soldier, and all I can tell you is that I never once faked or put up a front with false motivation about being in Africa. I hated it, wanted to be back home with family and friends, but I had a job to do. Everyday I did my tasks with the mindfulness of accomplishing what I was called to do, but I also made it known that I didn't have to accept the fact that people were hurting whether in Uniform or family members of those deployed, because we constantly deployed, whether statewide or abroad, that this was normal, and while being on deployment to Africa, I realized that upon being approached by Re-Enlistment NCO's that I would refuse the offer to talk to them, like the majority of those around me who came into the serivce would also do...At that point in my Army contract, I knew that in less than a year I would be getting out of the service. I knew I was close to accomplishing my goals of doing my time in service, only to return to a sense of normalcy in about 6 months when I would get back to Fort Drum in April of 1992 after being in Africa for only 4 months...

I did my job in the Army and I did it well...I didn't agree with everything we did, but I did it, and I am grateful that I put my best effort forward at all times, even though those around me, whether enlisted or officer grade, heard my true side of things. I hated a bunch of things we did, because I saw the families suffer because of the many deployments, and that was the main reason I decided to get out of uniform, with no regrets some 17 years later, but I made a difference in the life of many, but I realize that I had a life of my own, with unselfishness, I completed my goal, and don't feel any remorse for walking away from a life of service that would have left me unhappy. I am all the more better for walking in the uniform of the United States Army, but was even better when I realize that walking away, was what true freedom meant for me!

Do your job one day at a time and years down the road, you too will realize the difference you have made...Don't let your guard down, and continue to be that strong leader you've been called to be, Jason!!!

Huggins said...

Jason, I am sending in this to correct the dates in an earleir post, it was Oct 1993 when I got out of the Army and around that same time the U.S. Rangers went into Mogadishu Somalia and ended up in a fight with the Somalis...

sorry for the error!

HUGGINS said...

What can I say, I totally messed up on my dates in the original message...heck it was December 92 when we deployed to Somalia, and came back in April of 1993, and in October 1993 I got out of the military...In October 1993 the situation with the Army Rangers went down in Somalia...

maybe I need a drink...just kiddin!

Anonymous said...

Huggins if I remember correctly it was the Pakistan military who was in command of the blue helmet UN effort on that fateful Oct 1993 day in Somalia.

HUGGINS said...

I don't know who was in command of what during that time in Oct 93, but while we were in Africa, I was with the 10th Mountain Division, and our objective was to always provide convoy security, and to make sure that the villages recieved their food from the relief agencies...It's scary to think that we could have had an objective to capture an aging General, only to cost us the loss of our brothers, and to sit here 15 years later, and know that the same stuff is going on in Somalia...I'll stick with the 10th Mountain Divison's objective...Even if the Pakistani's were in command, we didn't have to try to catch the man..Even if he would have been caught the same stuff would still be going on if you have factions fighting one another...We escaped unharmed, and I do not apologize for that, what I do hate is that the people who were caught in that firefight, could have avoided it, if we would have stuck to our original mission. It still bothers me to this day that our Army came under attack from people that we were trying to help!

Jason said...

LT - mediocre is my middle name, while I am here at least. However, once I am home I fully plan on ruling the world!

cat - I do that each and every morning.

squirrel - that 8-ball has been deemed NMC.

bag - agreed. thanks!

anon - do pigeons count? pictures to follow . . .

huggins - great comments. some of my friends in 10th went to Somalia and told me some stories, but only once I got back from A-stan and they thought I could relate. Thanks for the input!

Army Sergeant said...

Best thing to do is hook up with people who can understand what you've been through or gone through.

You're out of Ft. Drum, right? Have you been by the Different Drummer?

Airam said...

I agree with verybadcat. When you're in a situation like that, you just have to motivate yourself. Just keep thinking that everything you do is just one day/step closer to your deployment.

Good luck!!

Jason said...

army - I haven't been back to Drum since I "got out" in '05

airam - thanks!

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