Pride and Professionalism

The transition from being a civilian to being a member of either the military or law enforcement can be a challenge for many reasons both physically and mentally. Where you go, what you do and even how you dress is all dictated for you. But of all the changes and challenges new recruits face, one of the biggest hurdles is answering the question “Why?”

Regardless of how hard or devoted a recruit may become later in their career, there is usually a time early in their indoctrination when they ask ‘Why?” When it comes to the physical challenges it does not take long to understand the “why” is because, at some point in the future, you may need to run further, stay up longer or fight harder than the other guy. It is similar when it comes to the mental “why”- you never know what hardship you may face and doing so for the short time at boot camp or the academy can help you understand that you are stronger than you know. But why do you need to polish and iron everything so much? What benefit is there to shoes that shine like a mirror or creases as sharp as a Ka-Bar? Being parade perfect is not going to win a fist fight or cause the enemy to flee at the very sight of you is it?

Dress UniformThe truth is that when it comes to the “why” of spit and polish it is all about pride and professionalism. It is like when you are a kid and your parents told you to always do your best, whether anyone else was going to care or not. The first step to being a professional is having pride in what you do. Spending hours spit shining a pair of shoes or pressing a shirt, knowing you will need to do it again after wearing them once, seems like a waste of time when you are doing it. In all honesty, it probably is; after all, you can buy pre-shined shoes and send shirts to the dry cleaner, but doing it yourself makes you personally vested. When you wear them, you know you look good because of your efforts.

As your career progresses, this personal pride carries over to applying similar care when it comes to your other gear, your personal fitness and even your professional knowledge. You realize that there are no real shortcuts and that sometimes doing something right means doing it yourself. Although you don’t need to always do your own laundry or shine your own shoes, there are times when you will need to take care of your own problems.

Not everyone takes this to heart. Not everyone avoids the shortcut, but those who do are usually the ones who succeed. Look at any top official in the military or law enforcement and you will generally find they not only understood this, but embraced it. Sometimes slackers slip through, but they rarely go undetected and usually fail once uncovered.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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