Will You ‘Just Do Your Job’

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Stephen Hunter
  • 944th Civil Engineering Squadron
Transitions from Airman to NCO and NCO to Senior NCO are noteworthy. For NCO's, you begin to mentor others, gain responsibilities, and are expected to enforce standards and promote morale. SNCO's, in addition to the responsibilities NCO's are charged with, you are also relied upon by Squadron and Wing leadership to ensure that the mission is expertly executed and completed.

I remember both my NCO and SNCO induction ceremonies well. As a NCO, I was happy when I looked down on my sleeve and knew that I had earned that stripe. I was ready to take on any responsibility or task I could find. I was a little naive of course and at times took on too much. My advice though for new NCOs, is to take on as much as you can, even if seems overwhelming. At times things may seem too difficult, but you will learn so much from tackling different responsibilities. In addition, you will succeed because you are surrounded by people who want to see you thrive and who will step up when you need a hand.

As I put on my SNCO stripe, I thought of all the SNCO's whom I looked up to as an Airman and young NCO: the subject matter experts, the Master Sgt with patience and vision, the Senior Master Sgt who made the tough decisions but also took care of his people, and the Command Chief who believed I could handle giving a presentation when I was deathly afraid to. These SNCOs maybe retired now, but I try to carry forward these character traits I admired so much each day.

We have all heard the saying that goes, "The Airman makes the rank; the rank doesn't make the Airman". I was recently thinking about that saying and was struck by something I had heard on the NFL Network from Bill Belichick, coach of the Patriots, and Sean Payton, the New Orleans head coach, both successful Super Bowl champion coaches. Each said that while trying to focus their teams and execute in the midst of a big game they both would ask their players to do what appeared to be an average request, "just do your job". They didn't tell them to give 110 or 200% nor did they say to "give it all you've got". They only said, "just do your job".

It didn't sound motivating or inspiring to me until I started to think about what the implications were to 'just do your job'.

First, it said that the coach believed that his players could perform the task. Secondly, it indicated that the coach and team needed and relied on each player to do their specific job. Finally, and most importantly, it meant that both the player and coach knew that 'their job' is to push themselves to the highest level and to win the game.

The phrase, 'just do your job', was meant to build on previous successes and calm the team from the fear of not being able to accomplish the unreasonable.

In the Air Force, we have the unique opportunity to watch and participate in each other's progression through the ranks. We have to take care of each other and show what the Air Force can do. People come and go, we deploy and return, but we are a family. If we 'just do our jobs' we will push ourselves and each other to the highest level and we will all succeed!

(This commentary was modified from a keynote speech presented by Master Sgt Stephen Hunter, 944th Civil Engineering Squadron, at the 944th Fighter Wing NCO and SNCO Induction Ceremony held October 1, 2011.)