Stop the rumors, stop the gossip -- Just ask

SELFRIDGE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mich. -- "Great minds discuss ideas, average ones discuss events, and small minds discuss people." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

One of the advantages to being old is that you can remember back to when everything you needed to know in life could be learned by watching Happy Days. Two lessons I still carry with me.  I learned my parents did not know everything when they disagreed with Fonzie for the first time. After an episode where Potsie asked one of the cheerleaders why she only dated football players and she replied they were the only people who ever asked her out, I learned to "Just Ask."

Rumors, gossip and innuendo mixed with a sense of entitlement can be the death of any organization. People are quick to spread their version of the facts without ever asking why what happened, happened the way it happened.

Don't spread rumors. Don't gossip. My advice to anyone who feels they didn't get something they felt they deserved or someone else got something they didn't deserve is "Just Ask." When you do ask, be prepared to answer the following questions - did you even apply for the job someone else got, did you step up to the stripe and not just fill squares, do you meet suspenses in a timely manner without having to be constantly reminded, did you admit there are areas you need training on and ask for that training. Why did that person get that job or why did they get promoted over me (because they applied and you didn't or that day you just weren't number one is usually the correct answer, but the popular answer is because of who they know or how they look or who they are related to)? Before you spread rumors and gossip, "Just Ask."

Mix that with a sense of entitlement that says you don't even have to ask, it should just be given to you (fielded a question today from Joint Forces Headquarters about why a senior Airman wasn't promoted to staff sergeant immediately upon finishing the Airman Leadership School correspondence course - the person's PARENTS called the Adjutant General wanting to know why) and watch it destroy an organization. When the truthful answer is probably something like "you asked to be excused for the UTA when the promotion board was scheduled and we're not going to do one just for you," the public answer will be because you don't know the right people, have the right connections, go to lunch or do fitness with the boss.

Instead of spreading the gossip and rumors, ask yourself how you can be part of the solution, That usually comes down to three or four things - 1) ask the supervisor, First Sergeant, Superintendent or Commander why, 2) if the answer is you didn't finish first, accept you don't always finish first, 3) try and learn from the person who did get what you wanted and 4) put your hat in the ring - nobody should question a promotion or a job selection or a deployment selection for which they were qualified but did not apply. Congratulate the person who did get the job, who did get promoted, who got to go on deployment, and move on.

Bottom line: If you want to know why something happened, don't be the one spreading rumors and gossip - "Just Ask." Though you may not like it, you will usually get an answer. Do not spread rumors or gossip, you only make things worse for all.

About the 127th Wing
Comprised of approximately 1,700 personnel and flying both the A-10 Thunderbolt II and the KC-135 Stratotanker, the Michigan Air National Guard's 127th Wing supports Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command operations by providing highly-skilled Airmen to missions domestically and overseas. The 127th Wing is the host unit at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, which marks its 98th year of continuous military air operations in 2015.