At 3am on a rainy Thursday the doors to the barracks doors burst open and my drill sergeant screamed at me and 30 guys I barely knew to get up out of bed, get dressed, and be outside in 5 minutes. 6 minutes later when I was doing push-ups in the cold rain I thought – why did I actually volunteer for this? Am I really that stupid?!?
Months later I realized the benefit of applying as much stress as possible (physical, emotional, verbal, etc.) in combined tasks was to teach one to make logical decisions under duress. I was being trained to react in a rational manner in a totally irrational and unambiguous environment, in simulated combat situations, with the ultimate goal of accomplishing a mission.
Today I take some of these same principles to work with me every day running a multi-million dollar data center. My job requires 24/7 attention, including calls in the middle of the night because of unforeseen issues, or working in the middle of the night to conduct repairs or updates so our customers are protected and their service is uninterrupted. This requires a level of commitment not required by most jobs, and sometimes it doesn’t feel far off from doing pushups in the rain.
But I realized when I took this job that despite how critical we are to our customers’ livelihood literally every minute of every day, the things I experience here are a fraction of the stress I was put under in order to become an officer in the military. It was there in central Illinois, far away in life and geography from running a data center, I learned the leadership, problem-solving and stress management skills to excel in high pressure situations, to make sound and rational decisions.
For our customers, it means there is always an even-keeled captain at the helm. Quick and rational decisions are essential for our customers and for us to accomplish our mission – the mission of making sure the only downtime the customer should experience is their own.