Aerial Combat Rules for Job Search (Rookies vs. Advanced Thinkers)

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Oswald Boelcke wrote down these rules as one of Germany’s early flying aces, some of the first rules about aerial combat. You must combat the enemy within during your career probably more than the enemy you perceive outside of you. These are also some of the rules Eddie Richenbacker mastered as a Medal of Honor winner and the Ace of Aces in WWI who I grew up learning about in Ohio. I like military history and history in general. It has application to just about all things. These rules remind me of what rookies do during their career vs. advanced careerists or entrepreneurs. Maybe we need to talk about “No Guts No Glory” next. The Dicta Boelcke consists of the following 8 rules:

1. Try to secure the upper hand before attacking. If possible, keep the sun behind you. Prepare all materials, plans and steps before you make some of your next career moves forward. Never wing it. Career rookies don’t have a plan; they are dictated to by their bosses, their companies or somebody else in their life. 

2. Always continue with an attack you have begun: Rookie pilots would start a fight, but instinct (fear) would convince them to break it off and run. Find causes, missions and companies worth fighting for. Never run your career via fear unless it temporarily motivates you to larger goals. Quitting, not dealing with conflict and that the business of your career is a game of conversation, interchange, negotiation and constant interaction. Rookies don’t take those key positions and often react through fear. 

3. Only fire at close range, and then only when the opponent is properly in your sights: A common rookie’s urge was to start blasting away upon sighting his first enemy machine. Rookies use a shotgun approach to advancing their careers and themselves. They also do more talking than they do building a portfolio of achievements. Build content into your career that lasts – patents, publications, original papers, ideas, awards, achievements.

4. You should always try to keep your eye on your opponent, and never let yourself be deceived by ruses: A restatement of this rule might be: never assume you know where your opponent is or will be. You never know where your vulnerable so you should always be moving forward but protecting yourself. Rookies think that everyone they work with they can trust. They think that what they do outside of work doesn’t matter too much. They reason that what they do online is private. 

5. In any type of attack, it is essential to assail your opponent from behind. In all aerial combat you have the advantage because you are in pursuit. Rookies in the career game pursue titles and recognition instead of wisdom. Your competition is vulnerable because they pursue titles, money and recognition for recognition’s sake.  

6. If your opponent dives on you, do not try to get around his attack, but fly to meet it: The instinctive reaction of many rookies was to turn and flee from an approaching attackers especially a diving one. This simply presented their tail to the attacker, usually with disastrous results…it was better to try to bring one’s own guns to bear than to flee. Need I say more? Maybe. Rookies in the career game should not avoid challenges and some conflict. Run to take on challenges that seem to be attacking you even if that means developing calculated risks to your career. 

7. When over the enemy’s lines, never forget your own line of retreat: If a pilot chose to flee a superior force, or was coming down with a damaged machine, it was critical to spend what little time he might have going in the right direction. Rookies in the career game haul it hard toward their goal and are good at getting into things but not good at finding their way out of their problems. 

8. Tip for Squadrons: In principle, it is better to attack in groups of four or six. Many young pilots still came to the front expecting to dash valiantly into battle as an errant knight, alone, but in reality they would be quickly overwhelmed by multiple enemies. Nobody in the career game ever makes it on their own. It’s a team effort. Rookie careerists and entrepreneurs are betting on luck and they don’t develop a career board of directors. It’s a team effort.

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