In my old career I worked with a number of active and prior service military, and I heard variations on the phrase “don’t stand out” from them a number of times. I was told it’s a reference to boot camp, in where those who “stand out” by doing exceptionally good OR exceptionally bad get extra attention from the drill instructors. Said extra attention usually resulting in more PT or extra work for no benefit.

Reminds me a little of public school; just substitute the drill instructors with bullies and occasional bad teachers, and extra work with being hit spit-balls, nasty comments, or slaps to the head… 🙄