Not everything in the military can or should come down to direct dollars-and-cents analysis. Good order and discipline is hard to put a pricetag on. But, just because the military doesn’t pay by the hour doesn’t mean that time is free. The costs aren’t reflected in a balance sheet, but they are real, borne by the military and its people.
I once said to my boss : “You gotta put every people’s minds at work” which meant to get every people to think about their tasks and processes, to bring something fresh to the workplace. Those precious remarks often come out from the lower-level people (further developed in the article) which makes perfect sense when you’ve got to prove more than managers who tend to gradually lack awareness and creativity.
On the other side, they are less prompt to go against their own routine. This conflicting situation where managers lack creativity (but are to impose reprocesses to the lower-level) and the lower-level which is constrained to keep its mouth shut in order to avoid any shift in their routine creates a blatant inefficiency.
Offshoring and outsourcing do lower direct factor and lower-level worker costs. But they do so at the increase of greater coordination costs of much more highly-paid managers. And they also increase shipping and financings costs, and downside risk. Having people work at a distance, whether managerially or by virtue of being in an outside organization where the relationship is governed by contract, increases rigidity (harder to respond to changes in market demand) and the odds of screw-ups due to communication lapses. And outsourcing also reduces an organization’s skills. Those lower-level people have a lot of product know-how that you lose when you transfer activities to an outside operation. It’s nice to think that you can hollow out your organization and just do all the sexy design and marketing stuff and dump the grunt work on other players. But over time you are breeding future competitors.
A writer has to be a fighter at heart, to deal with the failures and the rejections, and like a fighter, he’s going to lose some, but he’s got to keep going. Whatever the job, whatever the pursuit, there will be moments when you taste some leather. The more you care, the more it hurts. The fighter’s way of laying in the training and converting the pain into motivation is universal. And when it gets hard, when the idea of quitting might start to glow like a lantern in the distance on a dark night, it inspires me to remember that if my grandfather could do what he did that night in the Garden, then I can at least try my damndest to answer the bell in my own way.
Michelangelo did not look up one day, climb a ladder, paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and then head home for dinner. He worked, toiled, and struggled for four long years. He lay on his back (a not-too-comfortable position to work in at length) and committed to bringing a vision to life. He endured plaster falling on his face and plans foiled and reformed. Today we are the great beneficiaries as we look up at the soaring frescoes that stand as a testament to that commitment.
For many professionals it seems, Sunday is less a “day off” than it is to do similar things as you might do while “at work” but without the infrastructure and bureaucracy of being “on the job.”