#PTSDDaddy Good at it, versus Passion for it
#PTSDDaddy Good at it, versus Passion for it? Earlier this week I tweeted/facebooked/socialed a question about having a set message for the week. My PTSD comes with some pretty full blown ADD, you know Attention Deficit ohhh shiney! I figure having a message or a direction I want to take each week will probably help the followers follow along. That does not mean I am not open for questions or suggestions. This week I’m going to take a closer look at some good points my old Army buddy brought up when he asked me a few questions.
Good at it
I can relate to this statement, I performed better in the Army and Special Forces than anything else in my life. I was naturally good at it and enjoyed most of it. Of course there are times that sucking is going to suck, but overall when taskings came down and when missions needed accomplished I was right there to kick ass and take names. One thing I will point out is no matter how good you are, there is always someone better. I get this. I will say though, in my opinion, I was pretty damn good at my job. I loved it lived it, breathed it, it was part of me and I was part of the job. There comes a time though when good at it continues at the same time as “tracer burn out.” Good at it, versus Passion for it ia one greater than the other?
Passion for it
Having passion for your work is just as important as being good at you work. I mean seriously look at doctors. I had the best hand surgeon in town work on my cut up fingers, but he was known to be late for everything. He did not care because he knew he was the best one and people would wait on him. He could do whatever the hell he wanted and I was stuck there. I hate the bastard because of this. My time is important, I have a family, get on with it doc! So now I can point this out, being good at something and having a passion for it do not have to go hand in hand. This doc is great at his job… when he feels like doing it. Lack of motivation makes the job satisfaction go down as well. So when it comes down to it, Good at it, versus Passion for it, the most important is being good at it.
My last deployment, I had an option of go for a Master’s Degree, or continue on team for as long as they let me. I asked my team daddy what he thought about my options? He was quick to point out that this was MY choice and if he chooses for me it will never be the right choice. He did suggest that perhaps I had a bit of “tracer burn out” and a break from the job I was good at wouldn’t hurt. I hit three deployments pretty much back to back. I did not see it at the time but now, in retrospect he was right. I don’t know how I did not see it, I guess sometimes you are too close yourself to your own life that you cannot see those things. I was good at my job but I was exhausted. The passion for it was gone at this point. It also became tedious as it seemed those in charge of everyone in country were just covering their own ass and trying to throw everyone under the bus to make themselves look better for career reasons. I had a one star General tell me to my face that he would rather one of us die than another local, and if we got in a firefight we should run away. This option was not feasible as when we went to our locations to do missions they were via helicopter into the mountain tops. Sorry boss! There is no “running away” in the mountains. If you looked at an actual map you’d see that!
Perhaps the “good at it versus passion for it” is exactly why transition is so difficult for many of us. Even though my passion is gone, I am good at my job. Outside looking in, I am a very highly trained and capable professional. And then we look at civilian jobs. Nowhere out here have I been able to put “shot a taliban off a motorcycle at 900+ meters with an M-4.” This is definitely a skill that takes being good at your job, but not very useful for todays business opportunities. Fortunately and unfortunately there are not many taliban to shoot off motorcycles in the United States of America. If there were then I did not do my job very well.
We have a very distinct skill set, and yes we can modify the terminology all day long to “fit the norm” of today’s business world but we know that there is no comparison for what we are good at. The other thing people do not realize about us PTSD folks is that I would LOVE a job (have a passion for it) if I was able to do what I was good at in a country that did not suck so bad as Afghanistan. How cool would that be? But that does not exist, again, because I did my job well.
So where does that leave us combat hardened individuals? It leaves us depressed. We now have to settle for a job that we are not as good at, around people who have no idea what we have done or how it feels to do it. If we talk any about what we have spent a majority of our lives doing we get odd looks and people start avoiding us. We are socially awkward and often misunderstood. I have to watch what I say because at any point someone could take it the wrong way and then somehow I am a crazy ass sociopath who is a danger to fellow co-workers because there is no telling what I will do. Mentally unstable and emotionally disconnected the words I say that are funny to me and all my Army buddies are scary and threatening to the “normal” class of people.
Transition sucks because society wants me to not be me. I need to get rid of all self identifying and self-worth aspects of life. I need to forget where I been and what I done because it makes YOU uncomfortable. I have to stop doing what I do best, because there is no one here needing to be shot and no one shooting at me. I have to stop all vocabulary that I have grown accustom to because it’s “offensive”. I have to wear clothes that do not have enough pockets in the right spots and totally re-arrange how I carry everything. I have to submit to those who are younger than me and have no actual life experience because they are in charge having done nothing in their life but work their way up a chain. Let me ask you this…
How many of YOU non-military non-PTSD folks would give up everything you are, everything you know, everything you do, just to continue to provide for your family? And you expect us to have an easy transition and zero depression? I tell ya what, my PTSD in a war zone is termed “situational awareness”. It’s the “street smarts of combat” Take that thought around with you next time you see a Combat Veteran!