Thursday, May 12, 2005

Recyclable Career Counselling

I recently found a blog where a young service man seemed to not be liking his time in. I understand the service life in not for everyone. I have come to dislike those who don't like it, yet from their perspective, the system needs to change to suit them. Whether I heard it from a junior enlited or a junior officer, I never really had much tolerance for such attitudes, but I chose, as I discuss below, to try to help them understand the bigger picture than themselves. I had one tremendous success. I posted the below comment, after reading all of this young man's posts and all the comments. The other commenters, who are in the uniform and forward deployed, and many of you have read their blogs, even made some staight forward comments, but I'm sure ones that he (the blogger in the spotlight here) liked at all. He's still stateside, and still hasn't gone to the Sandbox for a deployment. They think (as do I) this young man doesn't have much of a clue. We can pray he gets it. The quote follwing is my guidance to him, which includes the case I mentioned above (typos have been corrected from my original posting on his blog, otherwise it's unedited - that's my full disclosure):
I'll try to make this brief, but maybe it will help you out, attitude wise. I've read your posts and the comments you have gotten. When the guys from the Sandbox, who are also enlisted, tell you to buck up and suck it up, it would be good for you to pay attention. Yes, it's your blog, yes, you can bitch. The reality is you're angry and I'm sure that gets in the way of you seeing the reality of what can be done, and therefore, you're most likely not the favorite of your chain of command, which in turn, bears down on your a little harder (happens out as well as in, sport) and then you get more aggravated. Vicious cycle, and an ugly one...break it. As far as cut backs, how about addressing that to the voters all around you. It may look like the Pentagon is doing it, but the real deal is the voters are calling the shots and then it has to roll like a wave thru all the government. I got my "pink slip" in 96, because the voters wouldn't stand for a large military with the Soviets out of the game. Fair enough. I'm out and making it. When I was XO, I had a 32 YO guy enlist in the Navy to get training as an electronic tech, so in 6 years, he could be out and in the field. Only problem was, almost at the end of his ET training pipeline, he flunked out. There he was, sent to my ship to be a deck seaman. Sounds great, a 32 YO chipping paint under the watchful eyes of 19 and 20 YO E-4 Boatswain's Mate 3rds. He complained like you have here. He wrote letters to the CO, demanding to be released from his obligation, because the Navy didn't give him what he signed up for (the reality is he screwed it up himself). I finally sat him down and told him to find something he liked, because he was going be in a few years. He was barred from taking the test to become an E-4 ET, so he didn't want to do anything else. I told him to look at Radioman, since they and the ETs worked together all the time. He took the RM3 test, passed it and soon was a watch supervisor. Two years later, I'm coming down the pier with my inspection team and he sees me and comes over. He's now an E-5, and loving his new job, and told me he was thinking of reupping. He looked happy. I felt good. It is what you make of it. You can have crappy leaders and you can make that work, too. I've worked for a few brutal ones, who were worse on their officers than the enlisted. I've also worked for some magnificent men. Better yet, I had excellent enlisted men, who made me look good, and taught me many things.
As I wrap this up, I think of the awesome opportunity to provide some herat felt counselling to those who come behind us. An excellent example are the postings of author John Harriman, in his series of "Warrior to Warrior" letters, one of which is here on Mudville Gazette. The rest of John's letters are posted on Mudville and are timeless guidance to those serving now, or in the future. What an interesting world we are part of....

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