Number four in a series of six posts originally done on Facebook in June of 2020. We really have to watch ourselves, one can quickly fall into a “victim mentallity” if he isn’t careful. When we realize our outcomes are primarily tied to the choices we make (versus the circumstances around us), things really begin to take off!
4 of 6
All this work, all this studying, and still no advancement to the next rate. Again. “Six months until the next opportunity to take the test”, I was thinking as I walked out the door and sat on the picnic table between aircraft hangars. The proverbial pity party was at it’s peak.
Along came Lonnie (false name, but the story remains true and accurate as far as I recall it), lights a cigarette, and says, “Hey man, what’s up?” Ah, he already knew what was up. But I entertained him none the less and expressed my disdain for “the system” and how I didn’t think I’d ever make it to the next rate. My scores were too low and they didn’t have enough slots and I’m gonna be stuck at this level forever, and blah, blah, boo-hoo…
He listened to me a bit, paused and asked me a simple question. “You want to be a Second Class (Petty Officer)?” I looked at him like he had a chicken on his head and responded, “Of course I do.” He was getting up and putting his cigarette in the butt kit, turned to me and said, “Then start acting like one.” And walked into the hangar.
Bam, let that set in for a minute. What did he mean by that?! Sometime later I went to his shop and asked. In a nut shell his advise was to take on more responsibility, be proactive in identifying those things that needed to be done, ask to be the manager of a couple programs to take the load off someone else. And by default, next thing you know, you’re learning all kinds of information to help pass that advancement exam with higher scores. Show some genuine initiative and be recognized for the effort on the annual performance report. But you have to put in the work, these things aren’t given away.
I took Lonnie’s advise, volunteered to take on a couple of programs, started being more active about asking what I could do to help. Combined that with a refreshed determination to study more and made it to the next rate.
Sometimes we need a little wake up call. Thanks for the nudge friend!