No More Dangling the Carrot

As I begin to type this entry, I have yet to determine a title for it.  So, to start I’ll say this writing came from my dream state last evening.

I suppose the dream was influenced by last evening’s musician’s meeting.  You see, I’m attempting to learn a new instrument and I need to find a way to learn more by picking up notes in songs by listening and picking them out.  I don’t read music nor probably ever will.  I play by ear and feel the music.  I’ve played drums for decades and never picked up a lesson under a professional instructor.  I love this instrument, but I’ve always wanted to play another instrument of some sort.  I came to realize a single note instrument was my best avenue in the form of an alto saxophone.  I’ve learned to play only one song in two keys and I’m fairly proficient at it.  From that i can pick up notes in other songs simply by listening.

I’ve learned to read people over my years of experience dealing with people and ascertaining their demeanor.  I felt from certain of those at the meeting last night that they didn’t really care if I was there.  Sorry, but it’s true.  I did, however, sense certain of them were receptive of me, but for me to experiment with my new instrument I was relegated to sit in the sound booth way away from the platform.  That’s okay, though.  I totally understand.  I’m new.  I’m not experienced with my new endeavor.  I don’t want to interfere with the flow of practice for the upcoming service of which the practice was intended for.

The end of practice did lend me a moment on the drums long enough to prove my worthiness at actually having a valid talent to do so, even though I have not played in nearly a year.  It had my redeeming moment, I suppose.

But to go deeper into this subject in my mind this morning, I have to tell about my dream last night.  I usually have pleasant dreams, but last night was more combative in nature.  I was dealing with my past position in security.  I know since I left my name has been used in less than a desirable light.  I’m sure had I been there still I would be chastised for my work methods.  Sure, I was not able to get everyone in a staff of 2500 people vetted for their strictest nature of checks.  But, I knew the vast majority of the staff and I knew there were bad apples, but I also knew the majority of the staff was trustworthy.  If I knew someone was not, I recommended action on the part of their supervision.  I never took it upon myself personally to terminate someone’s employment.  If a supervisor deemed the person worthwhile to work, I left the responsibility of the person’s actions to their supervisory staff.  I would surmise I had about four hundred in process, or had been underway of process of some nature in terms of questionable needs.

When I took the position from a military staff member, who might have had six months time at most in the position as a collateral duty, I found it woefully in need.  There were probably over a thousand staff members who had not been vetted at all.  Many of them were active duty.  I was tasked in the onset of my taking charge to get the active duty vetted ahead of anyone else, because these staff members were not deployable without a clearance.  Civil Service staff was second and thirdly, contract staff.  I did initiate everyone who walked through my door to the process if they had not been.  In the seven years I was there I saw to completion just shy of two thousand clearances to completion.  That’s no small task.

Contract staff fell to the bottom of the list because of the nature of contract changes and higher attrition rates than that of the Civil Service staff.  I had to keep a closer eye on them while I worked to get the active duty staff in order.

In my dream I found myself in contention with my successor over how I performed my job while I was there.  I’m sure he doesn’t know from where I found this program nor how much time I spent seeing 25 to 35 people a day for the first couple of years trying to get everyone into the process.  I’m quite sure he isn’t seeing that many people now a days.  My last drop by there he was sitting alone at his computer just gazing into a screen of information.  There was no crowd waiting to be seen like it was when I was there the first half of my tenure.  He has no idea of the work I did to get the program to where it was when I left it.

I woke up this morning feeling exhausted from battling, once again, the nature of what I previously wrote about.  I did my best.  I did my duty.  I find myself to have accomplished a difficult task.  Had I not, my successor would be completely overwhelmed with unvetted people.

Some people have lost their jobs needlessly since I left, though, because of the heartless nature of my successor.  He goes by the book.  If they don’t line up, they are gone.  I worked with people to get them through the appeals process as much as possible.  Folks most of the staff in question were in that position because of financial issues.  Eighty percent is my guess.  I couldn’t go by such a bureaucratic plumb line.  In that form, you take away the human factor and base it strictly on something that has no positive outcome.

Oh, I’m sure some people lied, which to me, would be a more serious issue, but financial issues don’t get fixed for an individual if you take their job away from them simply because they had a rough patch in their lives.  Most found themselves thusly simply because of layoffs, medical issues or divorce.  I counseled with most of these people on how to recover from it and let them continue to work while monitoring their progress.  I had some come back to me as much as two years later to thank me for allowing them to work and rebuild their credit to the point they were able to finally buy a nice home and live on par in life again.  I feel more contented in knowing I helped someone this way than to throw them back on the street without a job and thereby compounding their financial woes.

I’m sure there were other issues such as legal immigrant status.  Homeland Security had approved one young lady to work and have legal status, but I found out after I left she was fired because she was not a citizen.  She had told me she was working towards naturalization, which I don’t know for sure where she stood on that, but she did have a right to work.  Still, they fired her.  She’d been working there long enough to have established that she was dependable and forthright.  There was no reason she should have been fired.  Yet bureaucracy won out.

The answer came to me in the form of an article I read when I got up this morning about bureaucracy.   It’s written by Hannah Arendt’s writing called Prediction on Violence in Modern Society.  It has to do with the increase of violence when bureaucracy takes hold and no one can get an answer because this avenue of government breeds totalitarianism.

See if you recognize it here.  You call a company and get a call list of punch 1 for this punch 2 for that and punch 3 for another only to find the person at number three has bad English and the best you can make out is they don’t handle your type of issue.  That my friend is bureaucracy.  There is no meaningful answer to your situation nor will there ever be.  How does that make you feel?

My dad always dangled that carrot in front of me when I was growing up.  I never made the grade.  Almost did a few times, but that carrot would swing on the end of that line away from me.  When I hear such things and feel the negative feelings now a days I think back to those days.  People still either don’t want you around or if they do let you be around they dangle the carrot.  I’ve over that.  I will not be put in a demeaning state of mind.  Some people simply don’t know me and until they do I can deal with that.  I will prove myself sufficient for the day without resorting to some extreme.  Violence, as the article state, is the end result of frustration with bureaucracy.  It’s not my style.  I adapt and then overcome.

I’m not mad or upset with anyone.  I give people credit for not knowing me first and foremost.  Get to know me.  I think you’ll find me amenable if it’s reasonable.

About Jim

I'm a 72 yr old guy, who had worked in Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune for 28 yrs and now retired as of 31 Dec 16. I've worked in medical records, Health Benefits Department, Billing, the IT department and retired as the Personnel Security Manager for the hospital. I'm a musician and Corvette enthusiast. Yes, I have had two. I traded my second Corvette for a Harley Davidson Fat Boy mid-summer 2019. I've already ridden about seven thousand miles. I'm also searching for a fresh new outlook on life with new spiritual insight among other things. I was ordained a minister on 20190202. I've become certified with the American Chaplaincy Association through Aidan University in June '21. I've found that with the unconditional love of my companion, Libby Rowe life is complete through God. She's a beautiful, vibrant, giving woman who gives her all in everything she puts her mind to do. She and I married on 24 July 2015. She was ordained in February 2022. She has a blog too called Under a Carolina Moon. Give it a visit.
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