Ships generally tend to be mission-oriented (e.g. finding and engaging an enemy, delivering a cargo etc.) as opposed to process oriented. If you want men to follow you, there needs to be a strong sense of purpose attached to the activity. People need to identify with and be part of something, and to feel that there is meaning in what they are doing. They will take on even menial tasks much more willingly if they know it is for something special.

The most fun and satisfying job I ever had was on an actual space mission. Our team was stationed for 3 months in Perth, Australia at the Aussat tracking station, and our job was to acquire the signal from the satellite Anik C1 after launch after it crossed into the Eastern Hemisphere on its shuttle orbit. We had a tight team, each member with distinct responsibilities– mine the operation of the computers and the software. Failure was not an option. At risk was a $300 million dollar satellite and multiple millions of transponder revenues to the company. We worked hard, testing and practicing, but we also partied and played hard. And we of course succeeded. It was a great experience. Create a purpose — and they will follow.

On a side note, that job spawned an awful lot of stories. They would be true, and would have titles such as:

“The Cherry Blossoms of the Hakone Hills (Japan)

”“The Vending Machine … or … Drawing A Crowd at Mt. Fuji”

“The Star Ferry, Kowloon, and Victoria Peak”

“Lobster at 30,000 ft on Singapore Airlines”

“Being Sprayed at 3AM by Men in Space Suits.”

“Being Propositioned at the Koolabah … or … Thank God She Fell Down Before She Got to the Table … and … Why My Colleagues Thought That Was Beyond Funny”

“Cigars at Night on Sorrento Beach, and the Great Green Meteorite”

“Leo T’s Retirement Plan”

“The Hughes Guy Did the Car-Mounted Camera for Steve McQueen’s Famous San Francisco Car Chase! Go Figure”

“Man on Beach Discovers Yin-Yang Sign is Actually the Moon Observed From the Southern Hemisphere”

“Sleeping in the Car Outside Bendigo”

“Abandoned Railcars on the Trestle at Bonegila (NSW) … or My First Australian Home Was a Refugee Camp”

“Visiting My Childhood Neighborhood in Eden Hills, SA … or … Why Does Everything Look So Small?”

“Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road - and All That Entails”

“It’s 43 Degrees C Outside - I Know, Let’s Install the Feedhorn in the Bird-Bath*”
* slang for antenna in stow position

“My Day at the Nude Beach”

“The Unofficial Coded Messages Slipped Into The Daily Mission Control Report … or … Had They Known”

“A.G.’s Unofficial Topless Beach ‘Photo Shoots’”

“Casually Chatting With Micheal B. As He Walks Out of Fremantle Bar Carrying a Newly-Found Girl Slung Over His Shoulder.”

“Rob P. Found Asleep Pants-Down in Toilet Stall After Brief Search by Fellow Drunks.”

“Crashing the Oilmen’s Association Cocktail Party, and Stealing Off With Their Women”

“Welcoming the QE2?

“Welcoming the Concord”

“My 3 Days on the Indian Pacific*”
* Sydney to Perth transcontinental train

“Shooting Pool With Gold Miners in Kalgoorlie”

“Buying a Water Polo Team Raffle Ticket in Kalgoorlie … or … My Shot at Winning a Side of Beef”

“Also During Kalgoorlie Lay-Over - Strange Kiwi Travel Companion Finds Reasonably Priced Horizontal Refreshment in Tin-Hut Alley”

“There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Pizza, Cricket, and Monty Python; oh yes, and Souvlaki”

“The Girl in the White Bikini”

“Officially Verified, Playing Cricket in a Parking Lot is a Bad Idea”

“The Kodak Girl … or … The Most Amazing Red Sweater in the World”

“Finding Circuit Board Cleaning Spray with 15 Minutes to go Before an Australian Long Week-End”

“Bringing to Life the Expression ‘Not Being Able to Get Laid In a Whorehouse’ … or … the One-Armed Madam”

“The Swan River Wine Tour … or … No Man Left Standing … or … Group Vomiting on the Swan River”

“Catamaraning on the Swan River”

“Swimming After Catamaran on the Swan River”

“Foster’s, Toohey’s, Swan Lager … We Drank It All. No Really, We Drank it ALL”

I think I’d better stop … 





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