Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I never intended....

I never intended to offend with my post about how National Guard recruiters are different than Active Duty recruiters...... and I want to set the record straight. MY recruiter for the Navy NEVER lied to me. At all. He told me I was going open contract and I would not have a job assigned to me and I could take my time picking out a job in the Navy. What he did NOT mention was that I would be chipping paint, swabbing decks and cleaning heads for two years while I "looked around" at the different jobs.

I have heard the "horror" stories from people about how their recruiter lied, fooled and bamboozled them into enlisting. Being on both sides of the table I can tell you the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Sometimes (as in my case) people only hear what they want to hear. I had no clue what the Navy had to offer. I was offered Sea Bee (driving a bulldozer for the Construction Battalion) and Hull Tech (welder). I looked sideways at the recruiter and walked out of the office. A few months later the Senior Chief recruiter called me and asked if I had any ideas of what I wanted to do. I had NO clue. Instead of doing research I wanted them to hold my hand and do the work for me. So he sold me on open contract. I don't blame him. I was a dope smoking ninny that had no clue.

I arrived at Boot Camp and discovered my mistake through a series of "Sea Lawyers" who went into great detail of the fate that awaited me if I stuck with open contract. While in Boot I was able to sit down with a Detailer (career counselor) and renegotiate my contract for Electronics Tech. I was extremely "lucky" as they had one last slot for a female. Whew.

Now I have heard tales of recruiters that told the guys that they would have their own apartment on a ship and that the bigger Carriers had pools and even McD's. No lie. So I KNOW recruiters *do* lie.

I have run into my share of people who really don't want the truth. Or rather they have a preconcieved notion of what the National Guard and Army is like and no amount of reasoning on my part is going to convince them differently. Take for instance the Joe that walked into my office yesterday. He left basic because of a crazy wife he was worried about. Then he went AWOL when his Tennessee unit told him to go home and wait for his paperwork. He thought they meant Georgia as in "home". Now he sits in my office telling ALLLLLL about basic, AIT and the Army. He is the expert. He is now divorced from said crazy woman and wants to get back into the Guard. Nothing I say is sinking in.

Then I have the kids whose grandfather was in the Army. They know all about it. I try and tell them how it will be but they know it all already so I shut up.

I can say "The National Guard offers 100% tuition assistance UP TO $4,500.00 a year" and they totally miss the "up to" part. I talk about the GI bill kicker available to people WHO SCORE A 51 OR BETTER on the ASVAB, but they miss the score 51 or better part. I really try and make sure people are clear but the truth is...people have selective hearing.

I am also finding that I can believe about half of what applicants tell me.

Now, today I got to take a couple of rides in the Black HAwk. WOW. I got to sit in a crew seat and put on a headset so I could listen in on the conversation on the radio. TOO COOL. It was a BLAST. OK, OK, I know I am a rookie and most of the Army readers have shot out of the windows of a Black Hawk, fast roped out of a Black Hawk and other really cool high speed stuff but for an old chica, this was way cool. No pics yet. Soon to come.


Blogger Dale B said...

Granted that I joined the Navy a long time ago (1969) but the recruiter never lied to me. Of course back then there was a draft on and the Navy had no trouble making quota so maybe there was nothing to lie about.

I don't even know if they offered job guarantees in the olden days. I knew that I wanted electronics of some sort but beyond that I had no idea what was even possible let alone available. I was offered "undesignated seaman recruit" and that was my status when I entered boot camp. In other words I was guaranteed nothing and they could send me anywhere. I went in knowing that this was the case.

Back then you took a bunch of tests in boot camp that told you what jobs you could have. The tests were called the basic battery. They lasted a whole day. I qualified for pretty much anything I wanted. There were no career counselors. They gave you a Blue Jackets Manual which had a one paragraph description of each rating and a piece of paper showing what test scores you need for each rating.

Fortuately the one I picked (Avation Fire Control Tech, AQ) was a critical rating and was undermanned so I got it. The down side was that it had the worst sea/shore rotation of any of the avation ratings. Still, it was a fun job most of the time.

The point is that you control your own destiny. Don't count on anyone else to do it for you. It's up to you to make the most of whatever situation you're in at the moment. Stay focused and never give up. Of course most high school kids are not very good at these things. The military can fix you up right quick though.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 3:20:00 PM  
Blogger SgtHook said...

None taken. You know its funny how so many kids claim that "my recruiter lied to me." When I was on the bag, I wouldn't bring up the subject of bonuses unless I knew the kid had qualifying scores because as you said, they often hear what they want to hear, not "you have to score higher than 50 to be eligible for a cash bonus." Keep puttin' em boots.

Thursday, September 28, 2006 7:06:00 AM  
Blogger yankeemom said...

From what I've heard from my adopted recruiters here, it's really a crapshoot on how the enlistee is going to react to "reality". Nevermind the things I've heard parents say... of course these are the parents who never even read the contract their kid was going to sign. People are going to believe or hear what they want to no matter that the facts are in black and white.
And I am so jealous! A Blackhawk!! I'd give my eyeteeth...can't wait to see the pics!

Friday, September 29, 2006 11:55:00 PM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...

Dale, I just had that conversation with a lead. He said he had spoken with people who had beenin different services and heard so many bad things about each. I told him unhappy people tend to be unhappy no matter the circumstances. I think it went over his head.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 8:20:00 PM  
Blogger SFC B said...

The kids will hear whatever they want to hear, and buyer's remorse is a very real condition. Some enlistee gets to Basic and finds someone very similar to themselves who got a bigger bonus or a "better" job they're going to be curious why, or bitter that you as their recruiter didn't make it happen for them.

We've got a painfully hard job, and one where no matter what we do someone will think we didn't do enough, or were shady in doing what we did.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger KAT said...

SGT Lori:
How hard was the Navy NEETS curricula? I have it here at home but it is a rainy day project.

I may fix up a car radio based on tubes instead. I won't do the old AC/DC radios as their chassis are electrified with 110v in some cases.

Finally, did you get to see the old Lou Rawls recruitment video the Navy produced in the Seventies? The one where he says "common weeds taste like soul food, ya dig".

Friday, May 04, 2007 8:05:00 PM  

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