We are coming to the end of another calendar year and oh, what a year it has been. Workloads shifted, end-strength targets changed and budgets were developed and revised so often that it seemed like the only thing certain about the future was its uncertainty. And as if that wasn’t enough, there is the looming specter of the National Budget that is still left unanswered. The constant pressure to perform with less time, less funding and less overall resources can create decision points for us as managers that often test our personal standards.
As members of our respective areas in PHNSY it is only natural to feel a personal commitment to ensure the successful completion of our goals and objectives. For some, this comes in the form of an on-time completion of a CNO Availability. For others it comes in the form of audit schedules, surveillance completion, training, or even memo issuance. Each comes with its own required set of expertise and each comes with its own set of deadline pressures because they all play a role in the bigger picture of our grander mission.
Many times reports from other Government Agencies regarding impropriety or out and out illegality seem like things that would or could not ever “happen to me.” Keep in mind that in each of those reports you hear about there are two common themes: 1) Schedule Pressure in the face of less resources and 2) a degradation of personal standards. At the heart of each of those reports is a program or process manager that was faced with a decision point. While we cannot always influence budgets, schedules and resources we can influence our personal standards.
It is important to remember that every civil servant, regardless of position, takes the same oath of office upon employment:
“I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”5 U.S.C. §3331
The above oath is the very same oath taken by members of Congress, and with minor changes, the same oath taken by all Military Officers. Indeed, there is a certain “calling” associated with the words, “I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.” As Naval Managers we must hold ourselves to the same standards that Naval Officers are held to, not because of rule of law or regulation, but rather, because WE promised WE would. It is a promise we made “without any mental reservation, or purpose of evasion.” We are officers of the Constitution by virtue of this oath. Therefore we cannot allow schedule pressures, fiscal uncertainties or general negligence to degrade our personal ability to faithfully discharge our duties.
So as we prepare to enter the holidays, take time reaffirm your promise. Print out this oath and place it somewhere you can see it on a regular basis. You can rest assured that schedules and budgets will continue to remain variables in your day to day formula for success. However it is your set of personal standards as a Naval Civilian Manager that will be the constant upon which you can “faithfully discharge the duties of the office,” in which you hold.