“Make a ridiculous demand and see what they say.”
Adam McCay was not happy at Saturday Night Live. Before he was the director of Step Brothers and Anchorman, he was the head writer for SNL. When he told his manager that he wanted to leave the show, his manager said, “Make a ridiculous demand and see what they say.”
McCay asked, and Lorne Michaels accepted. His demands included the ability to put on any scene he wanted and for his title to be the “Coordinator of Falconry.”
A friend of mine attempted a similar tactic. Our brigade was short command eligible captains. Because of the shortage, and options my friend had outside of the military, he thought he could make ridiculous demands.
He said he would ask for three things and if they couldn’t be accepted, he might turn down command. His requests were:
- A flight company (as opposed to headquarters or maintenance company)
- The brigade must get rid of the requirement to wear body armor when in the field (but not actively conducting training)
He was given a flight company command.
He didn’t get money, but he did go TDY a few times.
It’s unclear if the body armor concession was made, but he noted that we didn’t wear it much after he asked.
He may not have received everything he wanted, but he was given enough to make it worthwhile for him to stay in the Army.
It’s an interesting concept. We often think that we have no leverage and must accept whatever decisions are made for us.
So we don’t even ask.
Many of my friends left the Army when their service obligation expired. Some of the highest performing officers of the group enjoyed many aspects of the Army, but there were a few big things they couldn’t suffer through any longer.
What would have happened if they had the opportunity to submit their demands for one last chance to keep them around?
Are you thinking of leaving the Army? What are your shoot-for-the-stars demands that would make it worthwhile to stay?
Send me an email (email@example.com) and let me know, and I’ll feature some responses in next week’s newsletter (anonymously, of course)!
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The views expressed are those of Brennan Randel and do not reflect the official position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or any government agency.