Keep a positive attitude
By Lt. Col. Garry Kuhn, 319th Missile Squadron commander
/ Published March 12, 2007
F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. --
The stress of daily life can sometimes make keeping a good attitude a challenge. As we spend most of our waking -- and some of our nighttime -- hours at work, it is important to enjoy what you do and who you work with. This sometimes can be difficult as you may not particularly like your current job or you have a boss who has a nice set of horns and a pitchfork.
A few years ago I worked in an office with a boss who enjoyed oppressing the masses. One time, after a major in my office got passed over for promotion to lieutenant colonel, the boss took pride in explaining to all of us that he purposely watered down the major's promotion recommendation. The boss would even make these comments with the major present, who, as you could expect, was hurt and embarrassed.
On another occasion my boss put me in charge of a nine-month project to analyze U.S. nuclear capabilities and provide solutions to weapon system shortfalls. I gathered a team of more than 20 highly-respected individuals from all reaches of the Department of Defense who worked tirelessly collecting, analyzing and piecing together the information we needed. At the conclusion of the project, we were to brief several four-stars to include the chief of staff of the Air Force.
Prior to the "big" briefing, we were giving it to an audience of about 100 high-ranking people when, out of the blue, my boss interrupted us and said that he did not believe we had done all the work we said we did. We paused for a moment, wondering how we should respond to this allegation. The guy was actually questioning the integrity of about 20 individuals who had sacrificed a lot during this exercise.
The problem I then faced was keeping the team from quitting. Many of our members were not from the Air Force, and I couldn't blame them for packing up and heading out. It took all I had that evening to convince them to remain with the project. Several members later told me the only reason they stayed was because we were able to keep a positive attitude during the fiasco.
The moral of this story is two-fold. First, your service to your country is much greater than any single individual, so always use the Air Force core values as your guide and don't let others sway you. And second, a positive attitude goes a very long way.
As for the passed over major, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Yes, he made it three years above-the-zone, which I have never seen in my 20 years. And our team did eventually brief the CSAF who accepted all our findings, and he praised us for our hard work. With respect to "the boss," he retired less than two years later and is now working as a defense contractor supporting my old office. Stay positive.