Can You Imagine?

What is the duration or time of the effect of your work?  

When I worked in a gas station, I would have a customer arrive, take their order for gas and send them on their way.   At the Phillips 66 station, we focused on customer service and would even vacuum the front floor if the customer desired.  It was still a short time from arrival to departure.  When I moved out to Rock Road and Kellogg, on Friday and Saturday nights people would stop in to get a dollar's worth of gas just to have me clean their window as they were going to the drive-in theater across the street.  If they were smokers (in the 60's most were) I would even offer to clean the inside of the windshield.  Lots of times the kids would just fog up the windshield with steam but at least they could see to get there.

In College I worked as a clerk at a Safeway store and the time it took to service a customer was dependent on the day of the week and the time of the day.  Saturday was always hectic as most families would do their shopping for the week then.  I would have to ring up full shopping carts and it would take about 15 minutes.  During the week people would stop by and the later they shopped, the more it would turn into a junk food run.  The absolute worst day was the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving. You would think they had never been in a store before.  Carts and carts of food would go through the check stand. 

In the Army, early in my career there was a focus on doing things right and right now.  A few soldiers could beat back an ambush if done early.  We were a lot more react rather than think the problem through. 

As an Artillery Observer, there was never any time off for good behavior.  I had to know where we were and where the Artillery was and be able to put steel on target at all times.  That went on for a year and I didn't start to really make plans and perform jobs that I planned until I was a Captain.  The one thing I learned was that if I have been someplace 99% of the time I can get there again.  I have an excellent sense of direction, even if I do get lost because I try to go places in a different route a lot.

After finishing my degree at KU, I went to work for the national Guard full time and most of my jobs included the word "Plans".   That is hours and hours of trying to describe what and where to do things in detail.  I had a good imagination and could always find something that was a little different than the last plan.  The only part that I really hated was that I knew that most plans would change as soon as the first bullet flies. (or the operation began)  The ineptness of the person performing the duties had a lot more impact on the operation than my plans did. 

When I first moved to a job at the State level, I had just completed a plan for the Guard response to the Political Party Convention in Kansas City.  The detail was agonizing and because I had to plan to suit the Law enforcement officials it was re-written several times.  To our good luck, it was a cake walk and all went well.  Didn't hurt that my name was all over that plan.  OPLAN Stone Arena in case a copy ever shows up again.

Right after I got to the State Level, I was given the job of writing the Guard Response to the Nuclear Power Plant near Burlington.   I got to travel there and was one of the last people from outside the Plant to get to go into the reactor chamber before they loaded the uranium rods.  I just loved how the plant was double and triple redundant until you got where the plant actually generated electricity.  After hours of walking through complex places, there sat a generator all by its lonesome and that's where all the time and effort made money.  Simple and efficient.  For the most part, the Guard only put up road blocks out about 50 miles and told people to stay out of that perimeter.  The most complex part was the fact there was a lake in one area and there were about a hundred little lake roads.  The rest of Kansas is roads going north and south about a mile apart. 

After I retired from the Guard, I went to work at a Call Center teaching Customer Service.  Every 6 weeks, I would get a new 25 students and that went on for about 3 years.  I think I got better each time I taught the classes and I am pretty sure that my students were prepared to go out and do the job when they left my care.  The funny part is that in spite of all the good work I did there, it was the only job I was ever fired from.  Can you imagine that?

Now at the end of my time, the impact I have on the world is getting more and more local and less and less important.  Shoot, I don't even have a dog or a cat to help become civilized.  I guess the grass mowing and window replacing I do will never make the newspapers but I'm out here having fun. 


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