Military Sabbatical Prototype: Reserve Duty

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey has spoken publicly that perhaps the most senior 40 percent members of the armed forces should work outside the military, or even outside of government, in a sabbatical arrangement. This would do more than broaden their development as leaders, Dempsey says. It would also help to reinvigorate the passion senior officers feel about their affiliation with the military.

When I read this, I found myself in agreement with his proposition. This arrangement is already playing out in the lives of more than ten thousand officer and enlisted military members in the military Reserves.

“Work outside of the armed forces” is exactly what a Reservist brings to the fight. Here are some benefits unique to a Reservist:

  • Top notch efficient processes to balance more than triple admin work and time prioritization – family, civ, mil, plus the extra interface processes that have to be run such as filing leave paperwork with the civilian employer.
  • Concomitant diverse professional community experience. These days, there are many “good things” to become involved with. I’m come to believe that learning happens in the study of differences. By working multiple jobs at the same time, the educational value is not confounded by changing age, growing children, finances, or society changes. These things, of course, continue to happen, but one experience can be evaluated against the other with most variables held constant.
  • You’ve probably heard the adage that “80% of the work is done in 20% of the time.” Think through the corollary: 60% of the time in each job is chaff.  If a Reservist works two jobs equally by cutting out 50% of each, in order to survive the time loss, what has to be cut is the chaff part.  This leaves only 10% water cooler chaff at each job. This arrangement costs an employer 50% and still gets 80% of the work done. Sounds like a good deal for both sides of the fence.
  • Often times, instead of vacation, a Reservist goes to the other job. Stimulating different work can be equally refreshing while maintaining a high degree of productivity.

About Brian

Engineer. Aviator. Educator. Scientist.
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