LAS VEGAS --
Sergeant Spencer Garvin believes everything anyone does in life is a competition. The 26-year-old from Elko, Nev., applies this philosophy to his job as a cyber network operator with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
As a cyber network operator, he’s in charge of maintaining communications capabilities essential to MEU operations. Garvin’s competitive lifestyle grew from having to try harder than others as he struggled with his weight at a young age. His work ethic has brought him success in the Corps and in athletics though. In this interview he tells us how his competitive nature has separated him from his peers.
Q: What do you do as a cyber network operator?
A: There are a lot of aspects to an 0651. There are a lot of jobs that require an 0651. We have our joint task force enabler, which they deal hands-on with the routers, switches and the gear we have and would use in a deployment setting. We have a help desk that is taking care of all of the job responsibilities of user’s computers and network. Anything that can come up we’re in charge of taking care of it quickly.
Q: How essential is your job to the MEU’s mission?
A: If the unit doesn’t have their network or communications then they’re not doing much. They don’t have their email, if they don’t have their Outlook; they’re not communicating. It’s a newer generation where a lot of it thrives off of the online world. No matter what the case, everyone is going to need their communications. So it is key and you see it especially in the beginning of a deployment when we’re setting up our laptops. You see how much they truly need us because we’re always working.
Q: How long have you lived a competitive lifestyle?
A: I’ve always loved sports and competition. As I got out of high school I played soccer competitively. I didn’t have collegiate sports or that competitive team camaraderie, so I’d go to the gym and play basketball, play city leagues. In 2006, I got really into lifting and became a huge fan of body building.
Q: So what makes you so competitive?
A: That’s just how it’s always been. When I was younger, I was kind of a chubbier kid and so I had to work harder to do well in sports. I was alright, but there was always someone better than me. So I always pushed myself a little bit harder knowing it would pay off. As I joined the military, it did pay off. I was bigger; I was stronger than other guys I went to boot camp with. In the military, no matter what branch it is, first impressions are key. People who look at me will ask, “Is this guy physically fit? Well yeah he is, and we don’t have to worry about that with him.”
Q: Do you feel like you’re the alpha male?
A: Definitely. I’ll always compete. I come in contact with guys that are very competitive like me. I try to be respectful and have good competition in everything I do, but I just can’t help it. I’ll always be competitive.
Q: How does competition help you in your job?
A: Every aspect. I always want to be better than everyone else. I firmly believe that everything in life is a sale. I’m selling you on why I’m your best decision, whether that be an idea I have or a job promotion, I’m selling you why I should get it over the next guy. It doesn’t matter if it’s sports or a job, everything is a sale.
Q: How do you apply competition in the work place?
A: Right now I have the time to do off duty education and work on my leadership, and I have the full support of my [staff noncommissioned officers] and [officers-in-charge]. I need to utilize that more to be as competitive as I can be now that I’m a sergeant. It’s definitely always on my mind, what can I do to be better than the next guy. Sometimes all I see is being in better shape, but there are so many other aspects that I need to work on.
Q: You live a very fit lifestyle, is that part of your competitive nature?
A: I’ve been on both ends where I ate unclean and ate out all the time, but I just didn’t feel healthy. It’s worth it to me to eat clean and use your body for what it’s meant to do and be physically fit and healthy. You just feel better. I made that decision to always push myself, whether it is in the weight room or in sports. If it’s athletic I’ll do it, whether or not I’m good at it, I’ll do it.
Q: How does it feel being a competitive person?
A: I can’t see it any other way. It’s how I’ve always been, it gives me something to look forward to. You have to be working for something. Whether that’s college, your body or more importantly you’re work. You have to see yourself in the next couple of years and where you want to be and what you can do to make it pay off in the long run.
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