What happens when you fail to do your job?
This weekend we witnessed another government shutdown. The US government is officially closed for business. Congress and the President could not figure out a way to avoid this debacle.
It is a frustrating situation for our country. You boys know that I have worked with our government for over fifteen years. After a decade in the US military, I decided to become a civilian.
It was a big change for our family, but it was a good decision. One that I never regretted.
Why I work for government clients
Both of you should know by now that the primary reason I provide consulting services to government clients is that I want you to live in a safe world. A better world than what we have today.
The events of 9/11 in 2001 demonstrated that our country needed help dealing with those enemies who would do us harm. I want to do my part.
Many people do. People who work for the government (like our military members) or support it as I do. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in challenging times again. This time for all the wrong reasons.
Not the first time this has happened
The last government shutdown occurred in October 2013. The government remained closed for multiple weeks which was unexpected.
Most people believed the government shutdown would only last a day, or two. At most a week. It lasted multiple weeks, almost a month.
As the days passed by without a solution, everyone started to wonder when the shutdown would end. When would our leaders solve the problem?
October 2013 was a tough month
Those of us who were allowed to work had to cover for all the government employees and contractors who were not allowed to work due to the shutdown. The pace of the mission did not slow down. It never really does.
You probably don’t remember it, but I worked really long hours that month. Many of us did.
As you might imagine — it is difficult to get all the work done when you only have a limited number of people allowed to even show up at work.
Never shall I fail my comrades. I will always keep myself mentally alert, physically strong, and morally straight, and I will shoulder more than my share of the task, whatever it may be, one hundred percent and then some.
3rd stanza of the US Army Ranger Creed.
You can figure out how to get it done
There is no textbook or manual that describes how to deal with a government shutdown. It does not exist. We simply had to work together to figure it out.
Each day surfaced new challenges. Some we anticipated, others we did not.
As Indiana Jones would say, “make it up as you go along”.
But somehow we got all the work done despite our lack of experience solving this type of challenge. We did it through a lot of teamwork, collaboration, and effort.
Everyone pulled their weight and did even more than what was normally expected.
Americans know how to make it happen
One of the many things that make America great is that we get the job done, despite all obstacles. The work ethic in America is tremendous.
Some other countries make fun of how hard we work. The French actually have a law that limits how many hours their citizens can work in a week.
But the world marvels at the results America produces when we work together to achieve great things. I am convinced no one does it better than us.
“You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy.”
–Colin Powell after 9/11 attacks
Do your job and then some
At some point in your life, you will likely have to deal with a similar situation to the one we dealt with during the 2013 government shutdown.
How do you handle this type of situation? My advice is simple. Do your job and then some. Do your work, and be willing to lend a helping hand to others who may need it. Don’t complain about it, or make excuses.
Instead, focus on the task at hand. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish when you work hard and put in the extra effort. It can make all the difference, especially in difficult circumstances.
Don’t expect others to pick up your slack
If you decide not to do your job, then others will need to pick up your slack. That is not fair to them. No one likes a slacker. Don’t be one.
Instead be someone who gets the job done. I think it is particularly important you understand this point as a man. We men tend to be more apathetic and prone to passivity when compared with women. Don’t fall into this trap.
I have before and nothing good happens when you go passive as a man.
What is your job?
Now you may be wondering what is your job right now.
Gavin — your primary job is to be an excellent college student. Work hard to earn the best grades you can achieve. This summer you will attend summer school, select your major, and get a job to help cover your college costs.
Riley — your primary job is similar. You need to work hard in high school to achieve good grades. You will need them if you want to attend a good college.
Keep practicing hard at soccer. This summer you will need a summer job so that you have some spending money next year.
What is my job?
My job remains to work with government clients to solve their hardest problems. I will work as hard as I can to achieve the best results possible.
This year I will continue to build an online business focused on training the next generation of leaders who will help make our world a better place.
I also want to be the best day I can for you boys. That includes spending quality time with both of you and earning enough money so that you do not graduate college with a mountain of debt.
I will do my part. I ask that you do yours.
I write a blog for my sons called Doug Keating Letter to Sons. I am sharing content from my blog here. I hope you enjoyed it. All feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading it.
Originally published at www.lettertosons.com on January 21, 2018.