Today’s post is not really military-related … it’s more of a rant/rage/gripe session. (Hope you don’t mind if I use you readers for my therapy session.) Sorry for not having a military story today, but some of you who work in offices can probably relate to this.
Today, I had another meeting that stirred up the never-ending debate about the differences between Information Operations vs. Public Affairs vs. Strategic Communication vs. (insert current buzzword here.) I’m not going to detail the (supposed) differences here … if you’re REALLY interested, Google these terms (and let me know once you’ve had enough.)
I really don’t enjoy these types of conversations, because there are so many “grey” variables about each one of these topics that it makes holding a credible conversation very difficult. (Everyone just tries to argue their point and hope everyone else believes them. It’s kind of like arguing over religion.)
What’s worse, everybody in the room swears they know what my job is. Mix grey-area topics with a know-it-all, and do you know what you get? The “Good Idea Fairy.”
So, about twice a day, without fail, I have the Good Idea Fairy pay me a visit. The Good Idea Fairy appears in the form of a thought in someone else’s head … A thought that they feel the need to communicate to me, hoping that I will take action on it. They feel the need to share their “good idea” with me, because they think they know my job. However, I’m usually the only person in the room trained to do my job and usually the only person in the position to do it. Of course, these “thoughts” that they drop on me usually only result in more work for me.
The sad thing is, individually, the person who delivers the message from the Good Idea Fairy is trying to be helpful. They recognize the grey areas that exist, and want to help provide some clarity — some “black-n-white” that makes dealing with information operations/public affairs/strategic communication easier. But what they don’t understand is that when I have multiple people trying to “help” me, it just becomes a nuisance … a nuisance I don’t have time for. (More importantly, I don’t have TIME to deliver the word from the Good Idea Fairy to OTHER people … why do THEY?)
Before I deployed, I foolishly thought that the Office-Space-isms that I experience when working in an office back in the states would somehow go away once I deployed to the ‘stan and focused on the war effort. But nooooo …. Powerpoint presentations, boring meetings, paperwork and the Good Idea Fairy are all Sergeants deployed to the ‘stan. The regular pains of office life still follow me, but they only peek their heads out when I’m back in the safety of Bagram …
Funny thing … When we’re outside the wire (trying not to get shot,) the Good Idea Fairy is nowhere to be found.