28 July 2008

Ever have one of those days...

...where you feel like you just can't do anything right? Yesterday was like that for me. I went to work and after a mercifully short and not terribly boring Commander's Call, I talked to the Command Chief who is the highest ranking enlisted person in my unit. He had given this lovely speech about how the enlisted ranks need to take care of their own, and look out for each other. He also talked a lot about doing what you need to do to get promoted, and how no one is looking out for your career as much as you are, that you are responsible for your own career. So I went to talk to him after the meeting and said, "Look, here's my situation." And I laid it all out for him. I've known him for a long time so I felt comfortable to sort of speak freely. I'm doing everything you are supposed to do, everything the leadership tells you to do, in order to get promoted. I'm WAY qualified and eligible for my next stripe. But because of the way manning is authorized for my office, I'm stuck in a place where I simply can't get promoted, unless someone (that would have to be the Commander) was seriously motivated to get me promoted. There would be some paperwork (OK, a ton of it) involved and perhaps a slight bending of the rules. Not outright illegal, just a slight bending.

A word on bending the rules, in a situation like this. Just about anything, and I do mean anything, is waiverable or negotiable. Anything. AND, I've seen situations where someone should have just been out on their ass, they broke the rules (BIGTIME) and got caught red-handed, and yet they not only stay in, they get promoted. So, tell me why someone who is doing everything right, going above and beyond and generally being well known as 'a good shit,' can't get promoted to save their life?

I digress. I have a whole list of accomplishments I can rattle off, and it seems to count for nothing in this instance. So I asked Chief, plain and simple, "Is there nothing that can be done to get me promoted? I'm doing everything you are supposed to do. Col G has said, 'Do A, B and C, and I will promote you.' Well, I've done A, B, C, D, and E, and I still can't get a stripe. Is there nothing? Seriously?" And he kind of shrugged and said that sometimes sacrifices had to be made. I then asked, "So am I correct in stating, my choices are to stay in the job I love and I'm really good at and never get promoted, or cross train (again) into some other career field that I don't like and am not as good at, to get the stripe?" He said he'd talk to the Commander but we'll see. He's a nice guy and he means well but I don't think he cares that much about whether I can get promoted.

It's just incredibly frustrating. I deserve the promotion. I've worked hard and done everything they said I had to do, and more. But at least I will be back in the office next weekend and hopefully seeing my face will remind him that he promised to talk to the Commander on my behalf. Oh, and on the heels of telling me there really isn't anything anyone can do, he told me, "Please don't leave the unit and go somewhere else." I wanted to say, "Don't put me in a position where I have no choice but to leave, in order to get a deserved promotion," but I felt like I had pushed him enough. There will be another opportunity to make that threat if I feel like I need to.

Then I found out that the math classes that I busted my ass to pass.....don't count toward an associate's degree granted through the military. When you originally come in, they tell you about this degree. It's SO EASY! It's FREE! All you need to do is have a pulse and fog a mirror and you will get a degree! Yeah. I talked to two people this weekend, griping about the unfair application of outside credits....one woman I work with is has a Masters degree, plus 15 hours of a doctoral program and that isn't good enough for the piddly military associate's. Another guy has an MBA and they said that his math credits don't count for the stupid military associate's. I mean, there are ways I can still get the degree and it is in fact free. But still! Math classes that count toward a degree from a nationally accredited college aren't good enough for this? BS! On the positive side of this is knowing, in general, how highly educated and motivated the enlisted force of today is :)

Then when I got home, the husband was in a bad mood...the ghosts of recent 'trouble in paradise' had come back to haunt him. My fault, because it was my mistakes that caused the trouble in paradise. Not to discount or belittle it. It's just that I thought maybe we were past the worst. And then he said he didn't want to talk about it, which is like waving a red flag in front of a bull, for me. Not talking about it is what got us to the low point in the first place. In fairness he later said that he just didn't want to talk about it right then. OK. Fair enough. But still. After the day I'd had, the last thing I felt like doing was going over all that again and apologizing again and just generally reliving it.

So it really was one of those days. I just couldn't find my butt with both hands. But today is a new day and I hope it's better. It's my last day before my second summer class begins. And it looks rainy.

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