Leave And A Pavlov’s Dog
I’m out on leave in a few days after first attending an Operations Conference in Dubai.
This has been a tough rotation.
My ‘Higher’ has stepped up its push for regulatory compliance and it has been a daily battle to implement it while fending off the ‘please explains’ and kicks in the arse. The fact that I’ve had to do this without an XO for most of the last two rotations has made it even harder. I have felt a bit like the Ginger Step-Kid of the family for a lot of this rotation and I know my lads are weary of the constant negative reinforcement we get. Most of this is directed at me so I’ve managed to keep it from splashing all over my teams, but it rolls down hill as they say and I have had to be a hell of a lot more strict on management and compliance issues than perhaps I was first rotation.
I fully support the company’s compliance efforts – it’s part of what sets us apart from most PSCs in Afghanistan – and I have no problem with the pressure, ridiculous work hours or constantly shifting goal posts. However what I can’t handle, day in day out, is the constant negative feedback with never a word of encouragement or a ‘well done’ for our efforts. Calls or emails from my Higher have been provoking a Pavlovian response in me – I see them come in and I react physiologically. The Conditioned Response is predictable – my palms sweat, pulse rate goes up and I get a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is hard to handle.
I don’t need man-hugs from my bosses, or a gold star in my homework book, but the occasional ‘attaboy’ would go a long way. I’m only human after all and the constant kickings are sapping my usual stoicism and ’crack on’ attitude. Just reading this back, I realise what a weepy bastard I sound – time to give myself an uppercut and HTFU!
Still, I’ve dusted off my CV and am tapping my network for other opportunities – I’m dreaming of a job that sees more cash in my account and more time with L and the kids. A cushy BG job for a gazillionairre somewhere, or a fly-in fly-out security and risk consultancy would be just the ticket!
As usual, I am starting to worry about how my lads will be without me. Paternalistic and selfish, I know, but I do worry about them when I am out. Truth be told, they’ll probably be thankful I’m not here banging their heads about compliance, KPIs, reporting and asset management.
Only days to go to a good meal, a beer and a full night’s sleep. Bring it on…