Remember when going on leave for the holidays got you a hearty "have fun!" from your fellow military personnel or command? You sent that last email, powered down your computer and headed for the sweet, sweet, freedom of a few days out of uniform and away from work.
Not so today. These days, all holiday leave can't begin until you've been given several stern warnings and been exposed to a few scare tactics to keep you anxious while you mingle among the civilians. So, in the spirit of making fun of military risk management, here is a look at the most common warnings you'll get when leaving for your holiday break:
"Let's be careful out there"
I must have missed the memo that holiday weekends mean certain death for all military members about to get in a plane, train or car. These modes of travel are apparently fine any other day of the year but make it a holiday weekend and we get the "keep your head on a swivel" speech from every single person in the chain of command. I would like to go on leave without worrying about my plane crashing, my train derailing or ISIS personally coming to my house to cut the brake line on my Prius.
"If your training isn't done…"
OH MY GOD THE TRAINING. Yes, mandated training is important and we all have to sign off and get our stuff done. But are you seriously standing there like Bill Lumbergh from "Office Space" and telling me you're going to need me to come in this weekend? My training isn't done because ALL THE SYSTEMS ARE OFFLINE ALL THE TIME AND NO ONE CAN ACCESS THEM. There is like a 5 minute window on a Tuesday in April where all the online training is actually working. Please let me go home now.
"I'm reachable by email."
No military member wants to hear their boss say this. Because if you are reachable by email, it means you expect US to be reachable by email and I plan on spending the holiday blissfully unaware of any government information other than what I see in passing on the news. Can I go now with the understanding that I plan to pretend next week that my cell phone died which is why I missed those emails you sent?
"Let's remember even though we are out of uniform, we still represent the United States Military."
In all fairness, we've kind of earned this one. Military members often, um… "celebrate" when finally free for a few days of holiday fun. But we can have fun and avoid front page news that brings shame upon the service. No one should go tear up a bowling alley and then loudly proclaim "Semper Fi, bitches!" But the point of time off is to actually take some time off and disengage a little. We promise, we'll be back to downing bad coffee and pretending to do PT at lunch in a few days.