A Soldier holds an American flag prior to the start of an oath of citizenship ceremony in the General George Patton Museum's Abrams Auditorium at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Sept. 19, 2018. (U.S. Army/ Eric Pilgrim)
Looking at many veterans' attitudes, especially online, you see a lot of complaining about the many failings of civilians. Most of those complaints come under the aegis of "slimy" or "nasty."
The best version of this is, "I worked so much harder than everyone else they fired me for making everyone else look bad."
Let's clarify. No one has ever been fired for doing too good of a job. You were fired for being an insufferable asshole to your coworkers, not because of your groundbreaking excellence in the world of pest control.
Sometimes it's civilians causing the "civil-military divide." But let's be honest, often, or even usually, it's veterans belittling civilians. You never hear a civilian saying,"I can't stand all these freaking nasty veterans around here!"
On February 19, 1999, the world changed forever. Office Space came out. It wasn't a box office sensation. It only made $12 million. But the VHS (the what?), DVD, and all the different streaming versions of it would change workplaces forever.
Oddly enough, one of the workplaces that Office Space perfectly captures is the military. Whether it's on a movie screen in a base theater or a laptop in troop berthing, service members have seen themselves in Office Space for 20 years now.
A movie meant to mock the daily drudgery of office drones also captured the lives of everyone from admin clerks to grunts to pilots.
At the beginning of 2017, the U.S. Army changed regulations to allow Sikh soldiers to grow beards under a religious exemption to male grooming standards. The surprise decision naturally inspired some service members to wonder, “If a small group can get an exception to the rules and grow beards because of their deeply held religious beliefs, why can’t I grow one because I think it looks badass?”
Recently, the term “toxic leadership” has broken into mainstream culture. Where it used to mainly occupy wardrooms, ready rooms, and professional journals, it’s now entered the lexicon of pop psychology and management consultants. The military, to its credit, has devoted much time and energy to the study of leadership, probably much more than the civilian world. It has been trying to address the toxic leadership problem for years, with little success.