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“That standard doesn’t pertain to me” syndrome

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jerome L. Blackwell
  • 451st EAMXS First Sergeant
From the day you entered the United States Air Force you have always been taught to uphold standards.

You hear it at commanders' calls, mentoring sessions, and the numerous emails you receive from your direct leadership on a daily basis. The reason for the continuous reminder is that some folks just don't get it! I like to call it the "that standard doesn't apply to me syndrome."

Now, you may ask what that means. It's quite simple, but I will explain. For example, everyone knows they must tuck in their PT shirt while wearing the AF PT uniform. On numerous occasions here and at home station I still see individuals with their PT shirt not tucked in. Therefore, that standard pertains to everyone else except you, the person with the PT shirt not tucked in.

I will take it a step further. Here on KAF we have standards that we must adhere to, standards which we don't exercise everyday back at home station. Like weapons, for instance. You must have your weapon at all times except when going to and from the gym, while running, or going to the bathroom/shower. You are not allowed to make quick stops at the DFAC, BX, or the designated smoking area without your weapon. That seems like a pretty cut and dried standard, but people still stop at the DFAC, they still go in the BX and they still stop for a smoke without their weapon. The only reason I can come up with on why people continue to do these things is they must believe "That standard doesn't pertain to me."

Now that's just one side of this syndrome. The other side is the individual who walks right by and fails to correct the issue.

During my short time as a first sergeant, on numerous occasions I have had individuals of all ranks witness a violation and come straight to me and say, "Hey Shirt, that individual over there has his or her hands in their pockets. What are you gonna do?" Well I will tell you what I'm gonna do, first I am going to ask you why didn't you correct them and then I am going to politely inform you that it is EVERYONES' responsible to correct and up hold standards!

I understand that the person you correct may out rank you, but if you approach them with tact and politeness then you have done your part. By no means do you have to run up on someone and inform them of their wrong doings like the basic training scene from "Full Metal Jacket" you can just politely brief them on their infraction and press on.

Listen, I understand we all have a mission to complete while we are here, but these are the little things that we can fix ourselves. These things are easy to fix, you are not being asked to re-invent the wheel, just adhere to standards. No, I am not labeling myself as "Dr. Standards" but I just want people to realize how simple it is to adhere to and correct standards. Remember, the standards just don't apply here at KAF, it applies everywhere!
We all have the cure for this syndrome now let's put it to use! Thank you.