Knit-picky: Berating Haircuts and Rewarding Latecomers

Bethaney Wallace, Army Spouse

Bethaney Wallace, Army Spouse

Growing up I was an avid dancer. I took lessons in ballet, tap, jazz, you name it. Until my college years, it was part of my daily routine. And part of that routine was ensuring my hair was securely in place. Bobby pins, hairspray, gel – whatever it took to keep flyaways down and out of my face. To this day, I find it an incredible pet peeve when any type of performer has hair in their face. No it's not fashionable or cool, it's sloppy and is bound to land you barre exercises until your mom comes to pick you up.

My point is, I get the whole military haircut thing. Long hair is distracting. It's messy and it makes you stand out in all the wrong ways. It's absolutely a rule that should be enforced. But so are all of the rules.

Why are haircuts so totalitarian, but then soldiers can sit for hours on end being lazy? Why can they show up late without consequence? Act out with the law and receive a slap on the wrist? Why is one soldier shipped home for breaking the same law the next guy made right with an extra late shift. (Often used as a punishment.) Anyone ever heard of conflicting DUI stories?

Anyway, yes I have a point: military rules and consequences are inconsistent. How can anyone know what the rules are if they always seem to be changing?

And while things like haircuts might seem important (or unimportant, depending on your opinion) in the grand scheme of things, they are not near as big of a deal as following rules. When guys are heading to the battlefield, who would you trust on your team? The dude who was late with the high-and-tights, or the guy who thought he could drive home drunk as he pleased? Yes, rules are rules, but which ones a person chooses to break are very telling of their character.

The Boringness, Yet Necessary-ness of it All

The military is a structure of formality, where folks are and should be on the same standards at all times. The bigger the entity, the more difficult this is to achieve – no arguments there. However, widespread locations and vast numbers are also why standards need to be enforced. Equal consequences across the board, where the punishment meets the crime. No extreme cases for miniscule infractions while the big stuff slides. And more importantly, better motivation to adhere to rules in the first place.

I know, boring, right?

It's a distraction from training, and ultimately, taking away from knowledge that could save a life at any given time. Rather than choosing what should and shouldn't be done, high-ups should focus on training. Let rules stick across the board so that soldiers are focused on training, not what they can or can't get away with.

If the military is going to have rules, they should be enforced, equally. However, it's when people get lazy or when they decide to focus on one thing that the importance is lost. Why not remain consistent at all times so your work force knows what to expect? And better yet, as the boss, you won't have to decide when to be the bad guy, cause chances are, they'll be better at listening.

And for God's sake, go get a haircut!