Saturday, April 17, 2004

Applied Socratic Theory

Applied Socratic Theory
Saturday, April 17, 2004
3:33:00 AM CDT

16 Apr 2004

Talking with Clayton last night at Rydges over beers made to think about the underlying reasons for wanting to work in Iraq and now to go back. For nearly all of us here, money was a primary issue we considered. But as the Colonel said to us at CRC in Fort Bliss in January, if that is your only reason for being here, you won't last. For some of us, we are also here because we want to serve a cause in which we hope that we can make a difference.

My time in the Air Force and my time at my job at Palmer Station, Antarctica taught me the importance of working as a cohesive team and in a way that we could make a difference. The importance of the mission depended upon all people doing what was assigned and expected. If I were to have blown off doing my 2 am watch at Palmer, there was a possibility that in that time, the generators could have gone down. The impact on the station would have effected everyone in ways from having no electric, no water being created by the desal units and reverse osmosis, no heat, science support interrupted and even important data being lost. Each person's performance was vital to all of our survival, our success and for science.

Since I left military life, the job in the Antarctic had been the only civilian job I've had where I was made to feel that my contribution was meaningful. At other jobs that I held like at Lucent or Tellabs, we were told that our job was important only to see people layed off and decisions made that were not for the good of the company. People, teamwork and sense of mission were lost in favor of kingdom-building, selfish politics and cronyism. We were told, even in the weeks prior to layoffs, that our jobs were vital (as if to soothe our fears). But we performed no tasks involved with the "greater good of society" in mind.

Now I *am* in a job where we know absolutely the importance of the job. We are supporting a mission involved in the rebuilding of a nation and a people. Money was the initial motivator, but something changes along the way and you get caught up in your hopes for things to get better. As hokey as it sounds, we are working for the "greater good of society." It can be kind of scary when you start remembering stuff about Socrates from your undergrad ethics class and see the theory applied.
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