Ah, the dread Newbie. We’ve all been the Newbie, and we all know the Newbie. In the Navy, we mercilessly tasked the Newbie with errands such as obtaining a bottle of Prop Wash from the Engine Room, requesting a Military Bearing from the Supply Officer, or simply donning every piece of foul weather gear they could find and waiting for the mail buoy. In the middle of a strategic deterrent patrol on a Trident submarine, that last one was the Holy Grail of stealing innocence.
If we weren’t busy indoctrinating them as such, we were constantly berating these “non-quals” for eating our food, drinking our water, taking up our space, and breathing our air (that’s right, you landlubbers – we made our own oxygen on the boat.) It never seemed to take long, though, before these fresh-faced, wide-eyed lads were just as salty as Senior Chief George Cooper, who famously claimed to have spent more time in the washroom (not his exact words) at test depth than the rest of us had spent in the Navy. And, no offense to my respected civilian colleagues, but, to a man, they were the finest group of people I’ve ever been associated with.
Ah, the dread Newbie. A blessing or a burden? So much to learn and so much to do before they’re a productive member of the team. But hey, we all have to start somewhere and sometime, right? If not here, then where? If not now, then when?
There’s also the “fresh perspective”, “from-the-mouth-of-babes” angle to consider. This may or may not be an urban legend, but I like the story about the truck that was a few inches too tall for the underpass. Its roof was jammed tight against the unforgiving underbelly of the roadway overhead. The police, tow truck drivers, highway safety personnel and emergency professionals of all sorts were out of ideas and at wit’s end. When all hope seemed lost, a boy in one of the cars being held up at the scene asked his dad, “Why don’t they just let some of the air out of the truck’s tires?” The dad, being desperate to get home (I think it was meat loaf night), approached the person-in-charge with the idea. It, of course, worked, and they all lived happily ever after – thanks to the boy who likely didn’t even know he was thinking “out of the box.”
Ah, the dread Newbie – it’s me, again.
Phone (513) 671-3322
Fax (513) 671-3363
Fax (513) 671-3363