As an old fart, retired military, and retired .gov contractor, I don’t have a lot left…

BUT, I have always prided myself on three things, my honesty, my integrity, and my professionalism. When you come right down to it, that is what makes me who I am, and marks what I stand for.

Honesty- Be free from fraud or deception : legitimate, truthful

Integrity- The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness

Professionalism- The competence or skill expected of a professional

Yes, honesty and integrity are ‘interchangeable’ to an extent, but they are two different approaches.

Most of that comes from my family and the way I was raised. It was ‘fine tuned’ by my military career as an aviator. You tell the truth, you own up to your mistakes, you don’t jeopardize others by ‘ignoring’ things, and most importantly, you take care of your sailors.

When you go into the ‘real world’ outside the military, it’s professionalism that gets reviewed the most. You take the man’s money, you give the man an honest day’s work, first and foremost. That is the basis for your reputation. If you make agreements, you do your damndest to stand by those agreements, that’s the second part- Can you be trusted. The third part is doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching. That’s taking care of your people, not for praise, but because it’s the right thing to do. The same with people you work with outside your organization. It’s loyalty up, and the expectation you will have loyalty down (seems to be passe today, sadly).

Sadly, I don’t see a lot of these ‘values’ in the younger generation. Both my daughters have thanked me for the way they were raised. I didn’t hide things from them, or try to ‘protect’ them from the real world. Things happen. I never ignored those things, they were dealt with openly, even when they weren’t pretty, or necessarily things young girls should be seeing. Of course that’s caused them some problems, since they adopted ‘my’ attitudes, which don’t necessarily agree with those of their peers… Sorry kids.

None of us are irreplaceable, it’s like the bucket full of water. Stick your finger in, you displace a little water (very little), pull your finger out, there is maybe ‘one’ ripple, but there is no hole in the water. Once you accept that, and the fact that regardless of how good you are, there is always somebody better, life gets a lot easier.

Too many people put so much pressure on themselves they literally work themselves into serious medical issues, or they collapse under the pressure, which can take many forms, including ‘go along to get along’, or ‘don’t rock the boat’, especially in the work environment.

I would end this rambling with this old analogy.

Put a frog in a vessel of water and start heating the water. As the temperature of the water rises, the frog is able to adjust its body temperature accordingly. The frog keeps on adjusting with increase in temperature…

Just when the water is about to reach boiling point, the frog is not able to adjust anymore… At that point the frog decides to jump out… The frog tries to jump but is unable to do so, because it has lost all its strength in adjusting with the rising water temperature…

Very soon the frog dies. What killed the frog? Many of us would say the boiling water…

But the truth is what killed the frog was its own inability to decide when it had to jump out. We all need to adjust with people and situations, but we need to be sure when we need to adjust and when we need to confront/face.

There are times when we need to face the situation and take the appropriate action… If we allow people to exploit us physically, mentally, emotionally or financially, they will continue to do so…

We have to decide when to jump. Let us jump while we still have the strength.

Now back to the regularly scheduled brain drivel… 🙂


Musings… — 17 Comments

  1. There’s a fine line between “too soon to start shooting them” and “too late to shoot them all.”

    John Ringo’s “Under a Graveyard Sky” examines this phenomenon quite well.

  2. Wise ramblings on a Thursday? are you having schnapps with your coffee? chuckling

    There are some industries where loyalty and professional self respect flow both ways out in the world, Aviation is one, but as you said, not many. I would trust your girls more than I would trust over 70 % of the population, with the mindset they have, too many people are self absorbed and arrogant in this “modern world”.

  3. Very good points – they show ethics that are all too rare in this world today, and that is not a good thing.

  4. OK, we’re not irreplaceable, but the ones who practice honesty and integrity are hard to replace. Got heartily tired of younger professionals, and some supervisors, who missed the point about integrity. Look professional enough to get promoted, then dump your new duties on someone else to finish, while complaining about how hard the new job is. It’s hard to be honest with your team or your customer, if you’re not honest with yourself first.

    Thanks – much to think about for Thursday.

  5. Amen brother! Preach! Too many of the values that make good people into great people aren’t being instilled any more. I work hard to teach them to my kiddos just like they were taught to me. Unfortunately in doing what I do for a living I am almost daily reminded that I am not the norm. Sad really.

    I do have to say that I am occasionally greeted with a young person who goes against the grain, much like your daughters and it does my old heart good to see it. Keeps some small modicum of faith alive in my soul.

  6. Well said sir. Many times in my life I have been the freaking frog. But that is also how I become wise in some areas.

  7. McC- Oh hell yes… And it IS a fine line…

    Grog- Suffice to say yesterday was ‘interesting’, I’m gonna leave it at that. 😀

    PK- True. And you see it all too often now days.

    Tole- Amen!

    CP- Wisdom or death… Kinda motivates one to learn. 🙂

  8. It is a sad world where truth and honesty are considered handicaps. The modern MBA-led business world considers these traits as career hampering, if not career ending concepts.

    And it is even worse when the same infection shows up in our military.

    All this while Gollum and Nelson have rescinded their concessions in Florida. Which ties into the whole honesty and truth thingy way too well.

  9. Years ago, I was volunteering at a bake sale at my son’s school. Two 7th grade girls were eyeing the cupcakes, when one of the girls put her head down and said, “My mom forgot to give me money this morning.” Her friend replied, “That’s okay, I’ll buy you a cupcake.”

    No sooner did they pick out what they wanted and the generous friend paid – the girl who said she had no money pulled 50¢ out of her pocket and bought another cupcake. Her friend said, “Hey, I thought you said you didn’t have any money” – to which her greedy friend replied, “I know, but I wanted 2 cupcakes and I only had 50¢.”

    The woman I was working with and I just looked at each other in disbelief. Little Miss Manipulator thought absolutely nothing of tricking her friend to get what she wanted, and her utter disregard for her friend’s feelings was chilling. Is this how kids are these days? I hope not.

  10. Well said, sir.
    The word trust is also important.
    As we all have experienced, it can bite us or make make us greater. Are we losing trust? Sadly, I think trust is slipping away. I pray that it is not, but I’ve been proven wrong a lot lately…sigh.

  11. “As an old fart, retired military, and retired .gov contractor, I don’t have a lot left…”

    Those sound like the musings of The Grey Man.

  12. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

    >complaining about how hard the new job is

    Oh yes. In a similar vein we have a person here who will swan into your office uninvited and talk at you (at, not to – can’t get a word in edgewise) for an hour about how she is SO busy and has SO much work to do.

  13. Beans- Shades of 2000 anyone? Sigh…

    Mrs.C- I ‘think’ that is the norm, rather than the exception these days…

    WSF- Exactly! For better or worse.

    Skip- Agreed!

    TOS- 🙂 Maybe…

    Mike- Gah, we had one of those… sigh

    Ed- Agreed!

  14. I am, and have been for the last 15 years, a calibration/metrology technician (no, that isn’t a weatherman). I used to tell new hires that calibration was just part of what we sold our customers; the primary thing we were selling was integrity. What we said we did, & the data we reported, were exactly the truth, no more, no less.
    If you’ll break your word to another man, sooner or later, you’ll lie to yourself. Worse yet, you might believe it.

  15. The thing is, to be true to yourself.

    There is a time and a place to do that thing.

    I was fortunate in that thing. I worked, at first, for honorable men.

    Later, when I found me working for less than honorable there was a giant equation with brackets and all kinds of other signs. At that time, I was the essential man.

    We decided to do things my way.

    I honestly don’t know how it would have worked if I was just starting out. On the gripping hand, I learned from my dad and in the end, he was a general. There is a way. It is sometimes not pleasant.