Over a decade ago, I was a Jet Engine Mechanic. A kid, who feared and respected his elders.. believing them to be wise and knowledgeable. I found out, however, that most of my leaders had leadership thrust upon them.. it was not something they sought out and mostly nothing they wanted once they had it. That’s one of the downsides of the military.. if you’re breathing and stick around long enough.. it’s only a matter of time before they force you to lead.
Why is this a downside? Well.. you know the really weak kid that you used to pick on in high school? Well.. give him a leadership role and he’ll take it out on his subordinates. Bullied kids grow up to bully others.. especially in the military it seems. Something else I learned while testing Jet Engines..
The box is for the Majority.. Great Leaders must be outside the box.
Being outside the box lets you see things objectively. The problem, I found, was that those standing outside the box were considered to be going “against the grain”, if you will. Everyone viewed them as rebels and worked collectively to remove them. One by one I noticed all of the great leaders leave the military.. leaving us only with the Bullies. Those that were afraid to leave.. knowing that outside of the military they would be returned to their weak status of ordinary, grass-eating, herd member.
I had a dream last night.. in it, I was back there.. testing Jet Engines. I loved that job. I was back after a long hiatus, and much to my surprise.. several of my old bosses were back there working as well. Unfortunately, NOT the good bosses. Only the bosses that I considered lacking in creativity. It was rather disturbing, the dream. Things were arranged in ways that didn’t even make sense.. and mistakes were made that were extremely careless and jeopardized the lives of all of us. In the end, a Jet Engine managed to be taken to full power without being secured which ended up in catastrophic events costing the tax-payers (you) millions of dollars.
I awoke to an email informing me that an acquaintance had made a bold decision entailing a move halfway across the country.. a new job in a new place. Gutsy. A new job in a new place is what started my journey into the real world. It’s what awakened the knowledge-monster that hides in my soul. It was the gutsy decision to go “against the grain” that has gotten me this far and I think the dream and the email are both a reminder that I should not get back in the box, or get out if I AM in it.