Monday, October 16, 2006


Well I came very near a meltdown on Saturday evening.

I have not had a weekend (both days) off in I don't know how long.

I had last Sunday off, but after going to church (it felt like a chore) it felt like my day was gone.

I have been working some really long hours. I love my job but.....

So I came home after spending all day with my unit and the house was a wreck. Plus I was trying to replace a light bulb in the bathroom. I was working hard on pulling off the glass light cover but the bulb was wedged in there and not budging. I had a George Bailey moment. Remember the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart as George Bailey? Remember when he comes home; the kids are loud, one is banging on the piano, one is crying, his wife is reminding (nagging) him about something, he heads upstairs and the knob on the bannister comes off in his hand. He wants to sling it across the room but he doesn't.

Well, I was there. I began to shout about how much I hated my house, there is no room for anything, the house is SO old (built in 1847), no closet space no room for anything. I was mad because I felt like everything was pulling at me from all sides.

I calmed down, my husband gave me a backrub, my kids loved on me and I got over it.

Sunday I went back to the unit, missed church and came home "early" at 1430. I took a nap and then helped my husband set up bunkbeds in the kid's room. He also helped me organize some things. He also gave me a lecture.

Yes, I am a very good recruiter but have been doing a poor job managing my time.

I still won't have a weekend off until the second weekend in November, but I WILL be taking time off for me. I will slow down and not try to put in 10 people every month. 4 is my limit.

OK, another reason why I was having a meltdown.... I had 7 or 8 people lined up for MEPS. It dwindled down to 4, then to 2. So I took my 2 down. They both passed the ASVAB, passed the physical and the guy announced he had to call mommy, I mean his wife. He called mommy and she threw a fit. He then announces he is NOT going to swear in.

I was in shock. I had worked this guy FOR WEEKS. I had waited for college transcripts and documents, made appointments and interveiws galore.

I was speechless.

We rode home with him falling all over himself in embarassment. I told him it was fine, I understood.

I call my boss later that evening who says "Don't sweat it. He'll call you in a few days saying he can enlist. You'll see. All is not lost..."

I began to think about the people I have been interveiwing for the last two weeks for this MEPS date. I took 3 down to test for the ASVAB at the MET site; a paper ASVAB and taken in the morning with only a few people. Same test, easier atmosphere or conditions. 3 in; 1 out. The other two scored in the mid teens. Sigh. I had my doubts hence the MET site testing.

I had a Med Read (a person with a condition that requires an Army MD to look at the files and ok them to come to MEPS) that never made it to the Med Read list. I found out he was cleared to come to MEPS when I got down there and asked. "Oh, yeah.... he can come down..."

I had a guy who is trying to gain custody of his daughter back. We show up at his house to pick him up to go and he announces he will piss hot, as in won't pass the drug screen. "What?" I say with absolute incredulty. He says "I smoke pot sometimes." What is sometimes? "Like, um, maybe every other day...." How much each day? "Um three or four joints..." Heavy sigh on my part. "So, in other words... you are a pot head." It was not framed as a question. No response. I clairify that he is in a custody battle for his daugther. I say with the utmost clarity.."Listen to me very carefully. YOU ARE LETTING POT STEAL YOUR DAUGHTER. Right?" Silence. "YOU are LETTING **DOPE** STEAL your precious **DAUGHTER**!" ... 'yes ma'am'
I said ok and left.

Then to top it all off, I have the guy who got kicked out of his house (is living with his girlfriend and her family) working at a dead-end job, call and threaten me. Yep. Threaten me. He says his new family does not like the idea of him enlisting with the National Guard. They think he should hold out for the Air Force (the same guy I gave the number of the AF recruiter) and if "you force me to go to MEPS I may just have to say something to disqualify myself". Force him??

This may not sound like much of a threat...but the way he said it was like he would say something to make ME look bad. As in I had done something illegal. I am very above board with my applicants. In fact I record ALL of my interveiws. He knows this. Because he could CLEARLY see my little recorder on the table as we went through his pre-screening process. However who needs the chain of command doing an investigation?? Who needs the stress? I wanted to throttle him. I was amazed at his audacity.

Bare in mind this kid has called me repeatedly over the last 3 months, had his dad call the MAJOR at his unit to find out why SGT Lori has not put him in the Guard!!!!!! Seriously! I told the Major "This kid does not know what he wants to do. He keeps talking about the Air Force." So when little jerk calls and laments he has been thrown out of his house would I PLEASE talk to him...I say yes. Like an idiot. After he threatens me he throws me a bone "If things don't go good with my girlfriend and we break up; I am all for this and I'll call you." Yeah, right, you do that.

So after the episode at MEPS with Mama's Boy I had grown a few more grey hairs. I got up the next morning, went to work at my unit helping them since they just got back from deployment to Iraq and were having a Change of Command. I was proud to help and it was a priveledge to be there. Then about mid-morning I get a call. Mama's boy NOW has permission to join. He is all excited and can't wait to get down to MEPS to swear in.

I call my boss who says "Told you so."


Blogger SgtHook said...

I've heard of recruiters buying those home drug tests at Rite Aid for questionable applicants before sending them to MEPS.

I've often commented that in all my years in boots, I've never experienced stress like I have on the bag.

Monday, October 16, 2006 8:52:00 PM  
Blogger Station Commando said...

Welcome to my world.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger cryptofreq said...

Station commando beat me to the punch with his comment! But at least you don't have a chain of command telling you what a piece of S**T you are and working even later hours.

Time management is a tough challenge!! Its all about priorities and balance but I'm sure you already know that right? :)...

Keep up the great work and effort!!

I think the marines play a mind game of sorts but turning people away intentionally - kind of like reverse psychology and then they want to join so bad....have you tried that?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 7:12:00 PM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...


Crpto: yeah I am amazed at the people who are suddenly SO interested when they find out they CAN'T join!

SGT Hook; those drug tests are $15 a pop. I am looking into getting a free supply via the police department. We shall see.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 8:42:00 PM  
Blogger Station Commando said...

Try your local coroners office. Sometimes they can do them for you and charge a small fee. A lot of times though you can get it out of them if you ask the right questions. You have to explain to them that there is a VERY sensitive drug test and it WILL show up. Make them feel like you are just looking out for their best interests and 9 times out of 10 they will tell you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger Guardsman said...

SGT Lori,
My brother-in-law is partners in a business so I get the drug tests for pretty cheap (about $8 a pop, depending on how many I buy at a time). For me I live 4 HOURS away from MEPS. Actually, 4 hours from 2 MEPS sites - there is only a 12 mile difference between the two! So I make sure I piss test ALL of my applicants prior to leaving for MEPS - they all understand why and none have ever made a stink about it. The way I see it is that $8 is money in my pocket in the end - I'm not going to waste two days of my life for a kid to just piss hot...

By the way, you have way better stories than me - is Minnesota just boring?

-SGT Guardsman

Thursday, October 19, 2006 1:23:00 AM  
Blogger SFC B said...

We've got a couple boxes of the cheapo drug test kits in our supply closet. Saves us a lot of trouble.

Thursday, October 19, 2006 3:10:00 PM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...

Minnesota is probably not boring, I am just having a really intense learning curve.

Friday, October 20, 2006 5:49:00 PM  

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