An Army Private’s Job is Hard but Satisfying

By | December 28, 2022

[December 28, 2022]  An Army Private is the lowest of the low ranks in the Army.  And doing the Private’s job is very hard, demanding, dangerous, and exhausting.  This job is also satisfying.  Yet, to be a successful Private, you must be a good person to be around and do well at the job.

Privates’ jobs can be pretty strenuous and arduous, but the payoff for having the job is the camaraderie that emerges as a result of the shared hardships.  This makes such a job worthwhile, where you can make lifelong friends and accrue other social benefits too.

One of the advantages of this type of physical job, as opposed to those that require a higher level of thought, is that they can involve a highly sophisticated level of humor.  They can operate on a kind of mocking play.  And that is one of the things I enjoyed as a Private.  We played tricks on one another, joked around, and had a kind of dark fun where everyone at that rank played the game.

As an Army Private being introduced to my first active duty job in West Germany, some truly rough Soldiers would ensure we got a complete introduction to our place.  These Soldiers were all men, and they would give us a test to see if we fit into their ranks.  Traveling with me was Jerome, a friend, a wheeled vehicle mechanic.

It was the dead of winter, and German winters can be brutally cold.  My first job was ammo bearer for an M60 machinegun crew.  It was a simple job, and my nickname was “Satt,” a play on my last name; kind of stupid, nevertheless fortunately not derogatory.  But Jerome’s nickname was “Dipstick” since he fixed military vehicles.  Jerome didn’t like the name.

Nicknames, tricks, teasing, and joking were there to see if you had enough of a sense of humor to accept it without getting all twisted or all puffed up about it and still do your job.  If you were reasonably entertaining to be around, the doors opened, and you were part of the unit.  The test was to see if you could subjugate yourself to the multidimensional discipline of the crew.

If you possessed discipline, you could play the game, do your job, and show a bit of humor.  These jobs were difficult, often under extreme cold or heat, rain and ice, and the threat of deadly animals and a menagerie of biting insects.  To do the job, you needed camaraderie not just to tolerate the job but also potentially make it somewhat enjoyable, in principle.

These are transportable skills.  You are being molded into someone who learns to aim at something that is a goal and move forward with efficiency and ability.  And if you get good at this, you can improve yourself and help those around you, helping them do their jobs better simultaneously.  You become both good at your particular job and a team player, encouraging others to be that team player.  That is what is transportable and so crucial in life.

We admire those who can do this, like the great athlete who is a great individual player but also helps the team win.  Success is a higher-level skill and transportable to other jobs and to being an admirable member of the family, community, and citizen.  Such action is a profound ethical orientation because this is how things flourish.  Our society depends upon such actions.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I provide one article every day. My writings are influenced by great thinkers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Jung, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Jean Piaget, Erich Neumann, and Jordan Peterson, whose insight and brilliance have gotten millions worldwide to think about improving ourselves. Thank you for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “An Army Private’s Job is Hard but Satisfying

  1. Eddie gilliam

    Excellent advice. Your hard work and determination paid off. The day-to-day 55 rules for a good life is a must have book

    1. docwatson

      Greg, yes! What the main point of Gen. Satterfield, IMHO, is that there are social skills that are necessary to learn early in life and those lessons/skills are tough to learn esp. in certain environments like in the army. These skills are highly transportable to other jobs, yes, but also to a person functioning well in other social settings. This is learned in the military and why veterans are in such demand in the workplace.

      1. Jerome Smith

        Excellent insight docwatson. We should all see this for what it is. Learning valuable, useful social skills that help us do well in our lives.

  2. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    “If you possessed discipline, you could play the game, do your job, and show a bit of humor.” – General Satterfield, and great info. Be able to endure.

  3. Yusaf from Texas

    Gen. Satterfield, thank you for another spot-on blog post about being a worthy citizen; fulfilling our duties, and making life better for all.

  4. Pooch T.

    If you can’t cut it as an Army private, and that is more than finishing boot camp, then you can’t cut it just about anywhere. In this article gen. Satterfield identifies an important trait of survival in our culture of work and freedom.

    1. mainer

      Got that nailed Fred. Good to hear from you again. I really love this leadership website by The General.

    2. Maureen S. Sullivan

      ….. and buy Gen. Doug Satterfield’s book too. You will be happy you did and you will gain a tremendous advantage over others and also have the ability to help others achieve more. This is a “win win” strategy of life. While others use their advantages to climb over others and push them down, Gen. S. recommends you build them up with you. That is how you evolve with your team and achieve greater goals in life – hopefully noble goals.

    1. JT Patterson

      Exactly why I read Gen. Satterfield’s blog and have been one of his longest running fans. I go here almost daily. I send his blog posts to friends and family. I also like to encourage folks to buy his newest book, “55 Rules for a good Life.” You will love the book.

      1. Unwoke Dude

        Thanks JT and Army Vet for your advice and mentoring to those of us who would eventually like to join the military. I know that Gen. Satterfield advises us not to join today because the US Army is “woke.” Such a sad situation. I’m holding out joining for now until the army gets unwoke.

    2. Wild Bill

      Hi Army Vet, big fan of yours here. I hope you write another article soon.


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