More Marine Jargon — Embrace the suck

Michael Fisher
3 min readDec 2, 2018

Embrace the suck. What exactly does that mean?

That means you’re in a situation that just sucks, and you need to embrace it. Meaning suck it up and deal with it.

When you are in “the suck,” it can mean many things, but my experience is related to the Marine Corps. It was one of the first phrases I heard when I put my feet as a young recruit on yellow footprints in MCRD San Diego.

“Welcome to the suck!”

Yet I never considered the Marines Corps a sucky place, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. “It” was the discovery of the self and what dedication one could have to do things you had never dreamed of before you joined. The definition from my vague memory was any undesirable condition that you can imagine. That was the suck.

Military jargon is a blend of acronyms and expletives. It has its DNA intertwined with war laced with psychological and physical trauma, tinted with the blood, body and soul of everyone who has ever served. That is what makes up the suck.

What is unique about military jargon such as this is that it builds camaraderie. It is part of the culture. Just like most any occupation, whether it be saving the world or writing code or delivering babies, each has its jargon. Most may have quippy sayings. Yet military slang and jargon are usually the most base, raw and deeply rooted in stress-inducing situations.

Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

To embrace the suck means to have discipline. Having that mental toughness to see the hard work through to the end. You continue with the hard-charging attitude of being able to keep moving forward and never give up. When one Marine would say to the other it was to say, “Dude, we have been here before, it sucks. Now adapt and overcome and quick complaining.

When you “embrace the suck” is when you are able to push through that barrier — whatever that barrier may be — either physical or mental, to reach your destination. This is the time for you to realize if you have the guts to stick it out. This is an internal discussion and battle, one that rages in parallel with the one in the physical world that you are wrestling with. This is where you ask yourself, “Can I do this?” Flip the coin, some have it and some want it, but not all embrace it.

The suck is not the end all. It is at that point where you decide to keep going (embrace) and persevere. Not everyone wants to do it. But when you do decide to embrace it, you are stronger and better for it. The suck is eustress. The antidote to the suck is to improvise, adapt, and overcome. When you feel the suck sucking you down, pause, hit the reset button and redo it. Keep moving forward. Keep marching. Discipline and consistency. Drive and motivation. Growing and taking the leap. Discovering the new you.

Go forth and be brilliant.



Michael Fisher

altMBA alumnus. In and around manufacturing and business for more than 25 years in different levels of leadership. Always trying to poke at the status quo.