Some days in the Navy are all about churn. Working really, really hard at something, but not getting anyway. Running in place. Today was one of those days.
I worked on binders all day. I made 7 binders for 7 different people. It started at 3 and then grew. I printed page after page. Ran down tabs/dividers. Little known Navy fact: dividers are hard to come by and therefore hoarded. I had to make deals and trades to get a hold of the elusive A-D tabs (there were tons of T-Z). People would just look at my desk and laugh. I was literally buried in paper.
Being at an LT at a 4 star staff is a lot like being an intern. Most of the time you don't know enough to be a valuable member of the team so you get the scut work, like binders. I have also had to make coffee, buy donuts, and various other menial tasks.
Anyway, back to the binders. I spent hours working on these darn things. I endured the multiple changes and printed new pages. I tracked down new toner cartridges (yes, I printed that much). I realized today that binders are the backbone of the Navy. An Admiral won't look at things not in a binder. If you want information to be promulgated, put it in a binder.
In light of the recent issues with military leadership, it's funny to sit inside a large staff and observe how much the leader affects the day to day of those that work for him. Some leaders like binders, others like powerpoints, others info papers. Their particular style gets reflected in many different ways other than their leadership persona. While there are days that I hate working on a large staff (mostly days where I make binders), I think it was an important learning opportunity for me. I have a much different view than I had before on how the Navy operates.