“That’s not my job!”
There are certain phrases in the English language guaranteed to illicit a volcanic reaction from me. It isn’t always the words themselves vice the mindset revealed by the person uttering them.
As a company 1stSgt in Bahrain I once overhead some of my SNCOs arguing in the front office. We had a new corporal flying in that evening and there was heated debate over who was going to pick him up at the airport.
At one point someone remarked with mistaken finality: “I’m not doing it. It’s not my job.”
Windows rattled throughout the building as I signaled I had heard enough nonsense and summoned every SNCO within the sound of my voice. Sailors in nearby offices cowered under their desks as I rage-counseled my misguided leaders.
I explained in no uncertain terms if they were wearing uniforms indicating their membership in the United States Marine Corps then it followed that any conceivable sort of concern associated with it was in fact their &*%$! business. This would include, oh I don’t know, taking care of Marines perhaps?
Furthermore, they would ALL be driving to the airport to ensure our new corporal made it through customs. Since the Marine was traveling by himself in the Middle East, I imagined it would be a nice for him to be greeted by Marine faces when he got off the plane. I also imagined a Marine Corps where troops were under the impression leaders were genuinely looking out for their welfare. I imagined it out loud, loud enough to penetrate the imaginations of everyone within sight and hearing.
Finally, I left no doubt in anyone’s military mind the words: “that’s not my job” were permanently banned from our lexicon. If I were ever to hear such profanity again the consequences would be grievous.
Enthusiasm is defined by Marines as the display of sincere interest and exuberance in the performance of duty. It’s one of those Marine Corps leadership traits you may have read about before. That night our new corporal was welcomed with plenty of it. Go figure.