The sodas and snacks you buy for your people will go a long way. Once a week, pull one of your Sailors/Marines aside and talk with the sole intention of telling him/her how much you appreciate what he/she does. The ability to recognize potential will always be the mark of a great leader. If you get stationed in San Diego, take your division/platoon to LA and go to the Price Is Right. Clothes were meant to be tailored, accept the fact that you’re not as small as you were plebe year and stop torturing yourself. As an officer you have a golden opportunity to save money. For example, if I were to start over again as an Ensign, I would live off 0-1 pay and set up allotments to save the extra money you make as your pay increases.
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In the Navy, Jet pilots are uptight and helo pilots are laid-back, in the Marines, the opposite is true. By saving during deployments and investing your money wisely you can have even more. When you see your division or platoon out at a bar, buy them a round of drinks then move on, don’t linger.
Don’t let anyone know you are getting out until you drop the letter, no matter how much you want to talk about it. Picking Nofolk over San Diego is like turning down a one night stand with Jessica Alba, don’t be silly. If you choose Japan, be prepared to spend most of your tour out to sea. This one act, done with consistency and sincerity will have a profound effect on the people you lead. As a rule (and there are always exceptions) amphibs (LPD, LHD, LSD, LHA) are more laid back than cru/des (DDG, CG, FFG). Tickets are free and they love when sailors & marines show up in uniform (i.e. By doing that alone you can save $50,000 in 5 years.
Many of these are principles of leadership that can apply in any occupation, I hope you enjoy reading them. I have a dream to speak at a Forrestal Lecture at USNA.
The articles I’ve written about the Naval Academy have been read over 100,000 times.
She spoke highly of him and said that he commanded the utmost respect for everyone he worked with, yet humbly helped those who requested assistance.
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Down the road when you get out or retire the problems you document add up to compensation for disability, but only if you document them. Never accept the answer “that’s the way it’s always done” if a situation doesn’t feel right. Don’t be afraid to be that junior officer who makes connections with higher ups, especially admirals. It’s possibly the most difficult thing to accomplish and you’ll get a lot of shit from cowards who want you to fit in, but keep the faith, all great leaders develop this quality. The Naval Academy has high standards of physical fitness, the fleet has very low standards. Not being a group one major isn’t a crime, don’t be fooled into thinking you should be an engineer.
The only way to have a truly happy and fulfilling career, be it 5 years or 30 years is to be yourself, and never apologize for it. I joined for the chance to lead and inspire others, and at the end of the day, no qualification, pin, FITREP or award was ever worth giving that up for.