I started for the wrongest of reasons. Still don't regret it. Running back up the pier at Manama with a smoke in my lips (jaunty) while the
complete useless asshole skipper
was 'working out' on the rowing machine on the stack deck and watching me every inch of the quarter mile while running and smoking: priceless.
Don't worry, I got over it. I still enjoyed the look of incredulous rage on his face as I came up the brow and tossed the butt into the sea though. That alone was worth it.
Tell you what it did though and I think this matters.
Every single day, every hour or two, I stepped away from my desk and went for a smoke. I didn't like to stand and smoke so I walked. I usually did a lap around all of SPAWARSYSCOM or just the hanger my office was located in. One building was a smoke walk, all 3 of them was a 2 smoke walk. It was the first place I ever worked where we had people, lots and lots of people, dedicated to making the PPBS work. A lot of them had charts on the cube walls showing the planning programming budgeting system. I later saw this in another role at NECC and a few other Atlantic commands. They really really really thought it mattered.
Perhaps it does. It never mattered to me. Either the money would show up or it would not and I would once again accustom myself to doing more with less. It's pretty much how I did things for the first 20 years.
As with smoking, it is a relief to know that if it comes down to it, sometimes you get to shoot the assholes and your country gave you big guns, 50 calibre machine guns, M16s and your stateroom has a loaded .45 hanging in a holster on a hook on the back of the door.
I found it was preferable to just go outside sometimes, chat with with others, go for a walk and then head back into the office. You don't go to the office to make money.
If someone calls, the machine will take their message
If someone emails, it will still be there
If someone comes by, they will come back or leave a message
The secret lesson was this, if you leave your cover and keys on the desk, people assume you just stepped out for a moment. Having 2 sets of keys and no real need to wear a cover means you can actually be at the beach playing volleyball.
Life is what you make of it.