Editor’s note: This article is an example of what we send to recruits at basic training in the “Motivation” section of our weekly newsletter known as “The Dispatch.” If you want to know more about “The Dispatch” click here. Information on how to order it for your recruit is available here.
Military service is full of traditions and customs, some so old and obscure that we aren’t even 100% sure of their origins. Some are very established and official, while others are more just de facto military life. One of those less official traditions that seems to be something all service members share is the art of complaining. Regardless of branch, sometimes life in the armed forces can wear you down, especially when you’re early in your career, paying your dues.
Sometimes venting to your friends or making jokes is a great way to deal with some of the frustration. After all, if you also receive the “Off Duty” section of this newsletter, you see several memes a week that we either made ourselves, or found somewhere else on military social media. These are usually poking fun at something we’ve experienced, and that brings us all a little closer together. A sense of humor is definitely a great device to help you thrive in a tough spot.
That being said, it is important to know where the line is between venting/ humor and just plain whining. Oxford Dictionary defines whining as “complaining in a feeble or petulant way.” Using a less academic approach, I think one important distinction of whining versus the more “good-natured” complaint is that it doesn’t serve anyone else.
Whining isn’t exactly good for you, either. You can easily talk yourself into being angry or annoyed about something and only make it worse by saying it out loud. But part of being a team is doing what you can to positively influence those around you. Whining is contagious, and it’s a morale killer.
I want to clarify all of this by saying that dealing with an issue pertaining to mental health or reporting something illegal is absolutely not “whining.” Those are serious issues that need to be addressed.
If examples are more your speed, then allow me to provide a few:
-“Why do we have to field day/ clean the barracks?”
-“This field op sucks.”
-“It’s so damn hot. What is the point of these change of command ceremonies?”
The following phrases are all pretty commonly heard, and you’ll probably think at least one- if not all- during your days in uniform. Keep it to yourself.
These are all things that can’t be changed. They are directed from someone with a lot more rank on their collar and are often borne out of that more “established and official” category of traditions. Not only can these things not be changed, but more often than not, they shouldn’t be changed.
Speaking as someone who was both a junior service member and an NCO, there are some orders that you just don’t understand until you are in charge, some things you are required to do that only make sense when you’re the one running the show.
The moral: If you’re given a lawful order and you and your friends are bummed about it, you either better be funny, or you better be quiet. Since not everyone has the wit and timing of a stand-up comedian, I recommend putting your head down and just getting the task done. You’d be surprised how much respect this gets you with both your leaders and teammates.
Read more from Sandboxx News
- 14 reasons to love military life even when it drives you crazy
- 10 reasons you may want to join the military
- Military career advice to start using ASAP
- 7 military benefits every service member should use
- Need a laugh? Here are 5 military jokes for National Humor Month
Feature image: U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon