Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sucks to be a Staff Officer

A friend of mine who I am deploying with is a staff officer. Having been on staff before, I know it's a long, hard, and thankless job. You get all the bitch-work and blame, but none of the credit when things go right. Worst of all, you rarely get to interact with the troops, which is what being a leader is all about.
And the saddest part of all is that you have to master PowerPoint as a staff officer or you'll get eaten alive. It's all about format over substance with PowerPoint, which is part of the reason I hate it (as do some others).
Back in 2001, then SECARMY Thomas E. White issued a memo entitled "Army Directive #2 – Written Communication" to all Army Personnel that said in part:

- Stop the use of expensive, glossy, slide presentations and reports. The standard is black and white, regular paper. Multiple colors and specialty paper should be used only when crucial for safety and medical purposes.
- We are expending a far greater share of our resources than is necessary to convey our message. I expect commanders at all levels to fully implement this directive immediately and to continue to seek more efficient ways to use our resources.

God Bless that man. Presentations were out of control with snazzy fonts, noises, and graphics. The problem is that the directive didn't work, no matter how much hope I had for it. Most officers just ignored the SECARMY and drove on with the same flash over substance presentations we still see today.

I hear you can even get a Powerpoint Ranger Tab