Military Habits: The Pros And Cons

While there are many things we learn in the military that can be a great benefit in the civilian world, there are other military habits and such that can actually hurt us with civilian employers.

I was reading about the many military habits we pick up. Some are funny while others are quite serious.

Speaking of funny, I think of a soldier having his pants around his ankles in the middle of the Iraqi desert and whistling.

Why whistle when you are trying to relieve yourself of the terrible rations the Army fed you earlier?

Because there is no lock on the door, and you do not want to have the next soldier in line assuming the outhouse is free and swinging the door wide open.

Is this a bad habit that could harm you in civilian employment? I doubt it. Actually, the company CEO may like the song you are whistling while you are in the company restroom together. Hopefully, they will anyway.

In today’s post, we are going to look at the military habits you have picked up. I will try to explain why you should get rid of some and build on others. Let’s look at military habits: the pros and cons.

Cussing – Con

While swearing in the military is normal, it is generally unacceptable with the majority of civilian jobs. There may be clients or customers around, or your co-worker may not take kindly to you asking them to pass the f__k__g manual.

I suggest you find more acceptable wording or get a job with the Italian mafia.

Tightly Dressed – Pro

Are your boots polished? Are your buttons tightly aligned with your belt and zipper?

Civilian employers naturally respect well-dressed employees. That does not mean to overdress. If you are an auto mechanic, you probably do not want to wear your “Sunday Best.” But dressing tight will get you far in the civilian employment game.

Don’t change that habit!

Following Orders – Pro and Con

Ok, here are 2 scenarios:

You hear the Colonel saying he wants something done a certain way, but your Platoon Leader orders you to do something that is almost opposite what the Colonel said. Who are you to question the orders? You do it, and the Platoon Leader gets his ass reamed. You just followed orders so you are fine.

You are working as the foreman of a manufacturing plant. The meeting that was held by the owner in the morning stated that a production line was supposed to be moved to the East wall. The owner is gone, and one of the Plant supervisors comes out and tells you to move the line to the North wall.

Should you just blindly follow the orders. I suggest you question it, and if nothing else, call the owner. I guarantee that if you do follow the supervisor’s orders, both of you will get chewed by the owner.

Following orders is a military habit that can work both for and against you in the civilian world. The key is to evaluate the consequences and make a common sense decision.

Waking Early – Pro

It is that military habit that is a part of all of us who have been there and done that. We wake ahen the sun peeks its beam above the horizon, or even earlier.

I put this as a pro unless you work one of those oddball shifts.

Expecting Respect – Con

I put this as a con, because if we just expect that our co-workers, subordinates, and employers are going to respect us, we are likely to become discouraged.

It is often said that respect is earned, but in today’s world, respect is seldom. Some civilians play the respect game if you have something they want, but do not assume that anyone respects you no matter what you have done or who you are.

Once you realize that, the civilian world is easier to understand.

Some Terminology

One that comes to mind is when we were ready to leave a location, we used the term “Popping Smoke.”

I highly suggest you do not use this term at a civilian employer. Many look down on cigarette smokers or at least do not want to hear about it. Or, worse yet, they may think you just moved there from Colorado and you are ready to go smoke some pot.

Another one that can get you some heavy looks is when you are trying to get through a crowd of co-workers and you say, “Make a hole.” If the boss is there, you may be “Popping Smoke” to the unemployment office. Excuse me is a better term.

Final Thoughts

Do you see my point? Just consider the military habit and how civilians will respond before you use it.

Some are good, but others could land you in hot water. Just consider the guy who was a tank mechanic and was working with a woman on the production line. She asked how something went together, and he said, “Nut to Butt.”

The sexual harassment lawsuit is still pending.

What are your thoughts? Do you have any military habits you would add to this list, or any stories where your habit got you in trouble or helped you?

Please share any below. Thank you.

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