Sunday, March 11, 2012

Knowledge isn't a luxury

Awesome article titled "Luxury Items No Longer" here:

My favorite part:
" People who don't walk through the doors others open for them need only look in the mirror when they don't get promoted, achieve a previously stated goal, or receive a less than stellar performance appraisal.  People who choose to go through life uninformed are fine with responding with "I don't know" and have trouble taking responsibility for a given outcome."

 Soooo many sea stories come to mind, but I'll pick a simple short one from my Ensign days. As the electrical officer on a submarine, one of the many programs you manage is the ships Magnetic Silencing Log. Since the submarine is a long steel tube, it normally carries a magnetic charge of some kind, which can be picked up by a variety of sensors. We measure this at Magnetic Silencing Facilities, and if necessary take steps to reduce or eliminate the magnetic signature from the submarines hull to help us avoid detection.

As you can imagine, this is a very infrequent thing, and most boats had bad logs...if they could even find theirs in the first place. We were getting ready for deployment, and I was looking ahead to next months deployment checklist, and the magnetic log was listed as something to check. Since I didn't know anything about it, I asked our designated petty officer, who didn't know anything either, since he had just taken over the program. I asked him to take the afternoon off and go to the local Magnetic Silencing Facility and ask someone over there what to do.

The next day, he came back with nice binder, which considering the original log was in a binder that probably hadn't been cracked open in 2 years is saying something. Apparently the facility personnel were all too happy to help, since no one ever stopped by to ask for help. Not only did we pass the squadron inspection, but our program was used as the model for all other submarines on the water front.

It would have been really easy to simply play dumb, and more than likely nothing would have happened. But instead I chose to actually try and do it right, and it paid off dividends for our division. I'm glad I stepped up then and chose to learn rather than be uninformed.