Saturday, December 14, 2013

BUSINESSMEN IN UNIFORM – Part 2 – CATCH 22 – MILITARY MINDSET versus BUSINESS ACUMEN

HUMOUR IN UNIFORM

BUSINESSMEN IN UNIFORM – Part 2
Ramblings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Disclaimer:
1. Please read this apocryphal story only if you have a sense of humour. This is a spoof, pure fiction, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2.  All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
3. The generic term “soldier” includes all armed forces officers and personnel in uniform – soldiers, sailors, airmen)
NB:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

BUSINESSMEN IN UNIFORM – Part 2

CATCH 22

If you are thinking of a career in the armed forces, the army, navy or air force, I will recommend that you read a book called CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller before you join up.

Catch-22 will give you an idea of what life is like in the services.

Have you committed the “blunder” of joining the army, navy or air force without having read CATCH-22?

Yes? You joined the “fauj” without having read Catch-22?

Not to worry! As they say – “better late than never”.

So even if you already in uniform, it would still be a good idea to read the book so that you can appreciate the various “Catch 22” situations around you.

More importantly, it will help you comprehend the seemingly crazy behaviour of the motley characters you encounter every day in your military environment by relating them to the inimitable characters depicted in CATCH-22.

During my long years in the navy, I came across almost all characters of Catch-22 – Dreedles, Cathcarts, Peckems, Doc Daneekas, Dunbars, Korns, Scheisskopfs, Wintergreens, De Coverlys, plenty of Yossarians – yes, I encountered all sorts of idiosyncratic types.

And, of course, how can I forget the canny Machiavellian “Milo Minderbinders” – those “businessmen in uniform” who are proliferating like hobgoblins all over in the services.

In Catch-22, the character of Milo Minderbinder represents a typical “businessman in uniform”.

He looks at everything from a financial angle and his motto is: “what is in it for me?”

Milo’s sole obsession is to make “profit” and he has no allegiance to anyone or anything.

Just like the character of Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22, there are an increasing number of money-minded “businessmen in uniform” who are obsessed with money matters and their sole aim is to derive “benefit” from the service.

From the day join the military they seem more interested in their “entitlements” and “privileges” rather than their soldiering duties.

Forever they keep comparing their pay and perks with others.

They make sure they extract the maximum benefits and are paranoid about losing out on perks and pecuniary privileges.

They never seem to be satisfied and content with what they get in the service and have an insatiable greed for more.

It is these greedy “businessmen in uniform” who perpetuate corruption and get involved in all sorts of scams which tarnish the image of the defence services and destroy the inner discipline and moral fabric of the armed forces.


MILITARY MINDSET  versus  BUSINESS ACUMEN

Business Acumen and Military Attitude are stark opposites.

In fact, they are mutually exclusive.

You can either have a military mindset or you can have business acumen – you cannot simultaneously have both.

You can either be a Businessman or you can be a Soldier – but you cannot be both at the same time.

I am of the firm view that those with a “military mindset” should keep away from the business world.

And similarly, those with a “nose for business” must keep away from the military.

Military Ethic is different from Business Ethic.

The two are poles apart and there is no congruence between them.

For a Businessman – Profit is the sole motive.

For a Soldier – Patriotism is the leitmotif.

The essence of corporate business ethic is: “money comes before anything else”.

“Businessmen in Uniform” apply this tenet (“money comes before anything else”) even in the armed forces and ruin the inherent value-based military ethos of the defence services.

It is these “Businessmen in Uniform” who are responsible for the corruption and scams that tarnish the reputation of the defence services.

[Of course, you may also find some “soldiers” among businessmen (who create business fiascos), but that is another story which I shall discuss later]

The numerous scams and acts of corruption being reported in the media is a sign of the proliferation of these “businessmen in uniform” in the services, even at the highest levels of the hierarchy.

Unfortunately, in recent times, an increasing number of senior officers, even Chiefs, are getting embroiled in scams, corruption cases, unethical acts and controversies.

All this not only tarnishes the good reputation of the services, but also adversely affects inner discipline as juniors stop respecting their seniors who lose moral ascendancy.

How have we reached a stage where it is possible for so many “businessmen in uniform” to get promoted to high rank?

Or is it the other way round?

Have we reached a situation that unless you are a “businessman in uniform” it will be difficult for you to get promoted to senior rank?

It is for you to have a thorough look at the top brass and study the promotion trends in your service and reach your own conclusion.

But one thing is sure.

All these “businessmen in uniform” have one attribute – TACT (which is euphemism for “moral pliability”)

To be continued …

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this book review. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Disclaimer:
All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
NB:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
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