Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Goldbricks and Fobbits and REMFs, Oh My!

A wise old non-commissioned officer I used to work with, told me he classified problems in one of two ways: "The situation is either a snowball, or an avalanche...the trick is knowing the difference!" SFC Gore often added a caveat to his theorem, something to the effect of "...but sometimes what starts out as a snowball turns into an avalanche!"
Without going into details, I find myself encountering situations at work more and more frequently which begin as snowballs, but thanks to what I'll politely refer to as the "REMF Multiplier", are needlessly morphing into avalanches.
It is downright amazing how the REMF Multiplier can completely dismember a unit's formerly-high morale in the space of a few months, even overcoming that unit's highly effective, positive leadership. Even though I have witnessed similar occurences during my various careers, perhaps it is a symptom of my previously-diagnosed PDD (Pessimism Deficit Disorder) that I still get blindsided by those avalanches from time to time.
I imagine that SFC Gore would counsel me thusly: "Sir, it's time to seriously think about getting your ass out of the snowfield, and leave it to those effing REMFs!"


  1. I remember reading a study on the psychological effects of combat. According to their research the people most likely to panic aren't the ones directly engaged in a firefight, but the personnel in the rear echelons.

  2. There is some evidence to suggest that incompetence prevents those afflicted by it from recognizing their own incompetence. I can imagine that armed forces have been proving the theory for thousands of years. In an anectodal way, the problem seems to extend into the realm of humans ability to make decisions as well, especially when under pressure or threat.

    in short, recognize the REMF, deploy the MF as appropriate, and perhaps remind him or her to stay out of the way :)