Friday, September 30, 2005




Must destroy everything that is beautiful.

I've got a paper contract. The same guy who's decision to not transfer last month sealed my doom as the World's Worst Recruiter. I spoke w/ him again because we need two people to box the company. He would be one. He does not want to deploy. I was able to call in a favor or three and get him a position w/i the local Drill Sergeant unit in a training division. Non-deployable. Everything he wanted. Local, non-deployable, a Staff Sergeant position so he can be promoted easily. Plus he'd get a 2k affiliation bonus and he'd make more money on a weekend doing reserve duty than he's making at his job.


I tried everything short of violence and bribery to get him to sign. He doesn't want to do it. I bend over backwards and put myself on the line to get this position for him. He says no.

The next time Human Resources Command scrubs the IRR to find Soldiers to assign to units that are deploying I hope he's on it. I hope he gets cross-leveled into a unit and he calls me, asking if there is any way he can get into that unit. I will laaaaaaauuuuuuuuggggggghhhhhhh.


So now I find myself in a position where I must beg a college student to miss a day of class, or hope that a guy who has been very unreliable so far suddenly gets responsible, or hope that the doctor's at USAREC don't hate me too.


I had written a post dealing with a young man I had on the floor, but I didn't get it finished before he was DQ'd at MEPS. Turns out he has horrible vision. I mean awful. Which is a good thing forMEPS because before I found out how bad his vision was I was planning some serious war crimes and atrocities to commit upon them.

I dislike MEPS. A lot. They have no fear. There is no one calling them asking about their processing lists. In the balance of power between MEPS and recruiting they hold all the cards. All 52 of them. Recruiters are stuck holding the stupid instruction card that comes in a deck. Whatever insanely stupid thing MEPS requires we must do. They don't even need to follow their own published guidance. They can make it up as they go along.

I swear, the MEPS morning meeting must go like this:

MEPS Person 1: "We have 20 people on the floor today. We cannot approve them all. If we did that the recruiters would expect it to happen again. Now, how can we knock 5 of these applicants out?"

MEPS Person 2: "One of them has a tattoo that says 'Hello'. We can DQ him for profanity."

MP1: "BRILLIANT! We need four more."

MP3: "This guy is 32 years old and he says on his 2807 that he saw a counselor when he was 8 after his parents died in a car crash. We can DQ him for that until he can provide us documents from a doctor he saw 24 years ago."

MP1: "Excellent. That will drive the recruiter to drinking for sure."

MP2: "This woman wears glasses. When she gets here we can DQ her too."

MP1: "But she might be able to see well enough to qualify."

MP2: "Don't worry. She won't."

MP1: "I like your style."

MP3: "Oh,I've got the motherload here. These two are both applicants of SSG B. That gives us 5 we can DQ."

Anyway. Need to get to work.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Here it is again

I'm sure this has made its way across the blogosphere before. It's the sort of quote which perfectly summarizes why we're in Iraq, why we should be in Iraq, why America rocks, why the Army is important, and why service in the Army is something for which people should asipre. I'm going to take this quote, print it out, and hand it out to people during the next set-up I do at my college.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice--is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature, who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

John Stuart Mills

One extreme to the other

Recruiter and I got a bit of love from Kevin over at Command TOC. Recruiter's original point was that the Army is not the "last ditch" opportunity that many people think it is. This is because the Army has some very high standards. Most of the time, when someone is at that "last ditch" moment in their life they've effed up somehow. They failed HS, got into some trouble w/ the law or drugs, or in some way did something which has made them disqualified from the Army.

The Army's failure to meet mission is a self-inflicted wound. For the past several years the Army's been able to meet mission based on a mission in the 70,000's. This year though the Army upped the mission to 80,000 and we fell short. Even though we would have met mission in prior years based on the number of people who volunteered. It is never good to fail to accomplish your mission, but thanks to the INSANE numbers of people reenlisting the lack of enlistees doesn't seem critical. You don't need to recruit a bunch of people if you're not losing the people who the enlistees would need to replace.

Retention doesn't offset recruiting. The Army is a funnel. You put people in at the top and 20 years later a small percentage of them come out at the bottom. With retention outstripping recruiting that will become a problem eventually. More senior personnel will block promotions, they cost more in salary, and you have to buy them out with early retirement options when it's time to get the funnel back into shape. But we're at war and if someone wants to stay in the Army won't kick them out.

Back to my original thought. Kevin mistakes the fact that because waivers for disqualifications exist it means that everyone gets in. That isn't true. I've been working with Mr. Mayer since the end of July. I had multiple trips to different courts all across the state getting police checks, court documents, and referrals from his previous employers. He had to write a statement about what happened and how he's changed his life. He had an interview w/ my CO who grilled him for 45 minutes about the incident and why he should be allowed into the Army. All of this for a single DUI that occurred FIFTEEN (15!) years ago.

Waivers are not easy. I know several recruiters who won't do them because they're a pain and there isn't a guarantee it will be worth it. If Mr. Mayer hadn't been approved I would have wasted the hours I spent waiting in line at municipal court. The cash I spent on copies from his court record. All the effort would have been for naught.

Kevin is free to believe whatever he wants. If he wants to believe that the Army is letting anyone and everyone in. Fine. If he wants to believe that recruiters are living in a La-La land and we're all just a bunch of liars feeding America's youth into the evil Bushitler Iraqi Meatgrinder made by Halliburton. Please do so, it's your right, a right you helped to defend. Honestly, I really don't care.

I've been told dozens upon dozens of times that someone won't join the Army while Bush is in office. When I was a total cherry recruiter I might have kinda believed them. I know better now. If you won't join for Bush, you wouldn't join for Clinton, Gore, Nader, whoever. President Bush isn't keeping people from joining the Army. Iraq isn't keeping people from joining the Army. Bush and Iraq are giving people who would NEVER join any service ever an excuse to not join that sounds better than what they were saying before. Iraq gives a coffeehouse liberal the ability to look cool by saying "I'd join the Army, but I could never support Bush". And that sounds much better than what they said before of "I'd join the Army but I'm a died-in-the-wool leech and have no intention of doing anything to repay this great country for the rights I enjoy and the unprecedented-in-history privilege in which I live".

Anyway, I dropped a guy off to see ortho today. If he gets approved I drop him on day 1 of next month. Yay.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

The poor recruiter

All I can think of when I read something like this is "In two years some poor recruiter is going to have to run a waiver for a 'titty-twister'".


Now that I think about it I'd get a real kick out of having to run a titty-twister waiver.

He got in? Wha-?

Today I had a quality contract write for me. Mr. Mayer joined the Army. It only took a month and a half for him to get his DUI waiver approved and the doctor to say "Yes, he really CAN hear". So today he joined the Army Reserve. And SSG B rejoiced. I would have really rejoiced but I had another guy on the floor and he was DQ'd for eyesight. He wears glasses, so I'm hoping I'll have him rescheduled for next week to join then.

Oh well. I'm off my tour-long quality zero so I am no longer the World's Worst Recruiter (yay!).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Lying about the lying

I spent some time tonight searching the various "I hate America's children and want them to be drafted into military service" counter-recruiter sites. I stumbled upon one that was pretty impressive. It has some really nice graphics that look like stuff straight out of Stalin's USSR but with more of an earth tone look.

One of the links on the Sepia-hued communist-inspired deco site was debunking the "myth" of the GI Bill. Their claim is that the Montgomery GI-Bill will not allow you to earn the $70,000 that the Army advertises is available for enlisting. They further claim that only highly specialised professionals, doctors, lawyers, etc are eligible for that $70k. They are 100% correct in their statement. Let me say it again, they are 100% correct when they say that the GI-Bill will not give an enlistee $70,000.

They are 100% correct and they are also 100% full of s**t. I don't know of a single recruiter who would ever tell a prospect that they'll get $70,000 through the MGIB. It's the Army College Fund, when combined with the MGIB that allows someone to receive $70,000. All of the pretty, well-designed, and occasionally snarky charts found here are as misleading as the most heinous things that counterrecuriters claim that us recruiters do.

The Army College Fund is simple. If you qualify (high school grad, 50+ AFQT, choose a job that's offered, and fulfil the contact you sign) you can receive up to $70,000 to use while you're in college. It is paid out in monthly installments of about $2,000 a month for 36 academic months if you're a full time student. If you're not a full-time sutdent you receive a prorated portion of the payment, but the duration of the money is increased.

Military Free Zone LIES when they say that you receive your GI Bill for 3 years then it stops. You're paid for 36 months while you're in school. If you're not in school, no payment. If you go to school for one month, then stop, you still have 35 months left. And you can use your benefits at any point up to 10 years past the end of your service. If you don't fully use your benefits before 10 years you will lose out.

They also lie when they talk about how only a full-time student will receive the full benefit. IE a student taking 12 credit hours (VA definition of full-time) will get the full $70,000, but one taking 6 hours will only receive 36k. Yes, the half-time student will receive less money over the same calendar period, but their benefits will last longer. A Full time student will receive their GI Bill for 36 academic months. A 3/4 time student (9 hours) will receive 48 academic months. 1/2time will get 60 months. Someone taking a single class will be able to have the Army pay for that class for 6 years.

It's late. I'm tired. Mrs. SSG B is already in bed and I want to join her. I hate having to spend my time having my job made harder by a group of nimrods with an axe to grind because a recruiter probably told them they were too fat to enlist. Despite the claims of Kevin, Counter Recruiter, and all those other twit-wits out there the Army really isn't out to cornhole America's youth.

What you sign with the Army is a contract. The Army takes it's contracts seriously. If you fulfill YOUR end we WILL fulfill ours. Unfortunatly for some their end is too hard for them to fulfill and they get "screwed" because the Army won't give them what they want, even though they haven't earned it. For a generation raised on instant gratification and appeasement the concept of not getting something they want can be hard to digest. It's kind of depressing that the first contact with a grown-up who will hold them accountable for their decisions is their recruiter.

Friday Cat-Blogging

Eh... I didn't have any idea for what I'd post. So here is a picture of my cat. His name is Zazel. He's sometimes annoying, but he's awesome. This is a picture of him riding shotgun as we drove across the country in a U-Haul truck.

If you ever have the chance to drive across the country in a U-Haul truck with a cat in the cab I highly recommend it.

Any time you take my advice remember that I take pleasure in other people's misery.

More SSG B

Just added my email addy so now everyone can send me porn spam.

I mean email.

What would you prefer? (more pathetic attempts at punditry)

The post title is what I'd like to ask Kevin from The Command TOC when he complains about the presence of recruiters at the Astrodome volunteering their time to help Katrina evacuees. It seems that 10 recruiters from the Houston area have been volunteering their time to help the victims of Katrina. I'm guessing that Kevin isn't upset that these NCOs are providing aid and comfort to people who are in dire need of both. He's upset because these recruiters will do what recruiters will do. Namely talk to people about the Army.

For some reason Kevin doesn't think that the people of New Orleans deserve the chance at a life better than living off hand-outs in a sports stadium that has fallen out of use. I guess he'd rather have all those people hoping enough minimum-wage jobs open up in the Houston area to allow them a chance to start over. God knows that the guaranteed job training, free room and board, free health and dental care, and guaranteed pay and benefits the Army has to offer are the last thing that people displaced by a disaster need. Oh, and if they qualify, a cash bonus of up to $20,000 which would probably help a displaced family recover. I'd be willing to bet that the Army was providing the BEST job opportunity of any of the employers going to the Katrina evacuee centers offering employment. I guess Kevin doesn't want people who have had their lives destroyed by a disaster be given a chance to take charge of their lives again and recover.

I think Kevin might be a closet racist. Why do I think that? Why would I make such an outrageous claim? What possible proofcould I have for that? Well, I have the same proof that Kevin had when he claimed that the entire right-of-center conservative world was racist. I'm making stupid assumptions about the statements he's made.

In the comments of this post Recruiter from the awesome Confessions site made the same observation I made. Namely that the Army could be just the chance that these people (evacuees) could need. When making this observation Recruiter used a phrase that Kevin took to be racist. Now, what horrific, awful term did Recruiter use? Was it n****r? Spearchucker? Tar baby? Or any of the other hateful words that can be used? Nope. Recruiter instead said "these people". Recruiter said "these people" when describing a specific group of people; Katrina evacuees in the Astrodome.

When replying to Recruiter's comments Kevin goes straight to the racism card and claims that, obviously, Recruiter, and the Army, and everyone who doesn't have DailyKos on their Favorites list is a racist. Recruiter was using a totally race neutral term, but Kevin assumes he's a flaming KKK member. I think Kevin might be projecting a bit of his on failings on someone else.

Recruiter wants to provide a new hope and opportunity to people who's lives have been destroyed.

Kevin would rather have black people remained trapped in the Astrodome relying on hand-outs.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I'll take your little survey

I've seen this post on a couple of the other recruiter blogs. I figured I'd take the time to answer some of Diedre's questions. I was a journalism major for a couple of semesters when I was in college so I have some sympathy for the poor girl.

What I'm tring to find out is why, since February 2005, have active army recruitment numbers fallen so short of their missions?

Well. The Army in 2004 had a RA mission of about 77,000. Prior years the missions were in the mid 70k range. Since 1999 USAREC had mission boxed (accomplished the recruiting mission). When the mission was increased to 80k they failed to accomplish the mission. I'd have to say that part of the reason recruiting fell short was that the mission was set beyond what was reasonably accomplishable.

Are you pressurized(sic) to meet your missions? If so, how?

Of course we're pressured to meet mission. It's a mission. It's our job. It's what we're supposed to do. Are you being pressured to write this paper?
How are we pressured? Hum... we're told to do what we're required to do. Some recruiters have had their careers threatened. Some are made to work insane hours. Some are taken out back and shot like the zero-rolling dogs that they are. Kidding. Recruiting is a numbers game. We need to make those numbers. The leadership will do what it can to make us reach those numbers, whether the numbers are achievable or not. Sometimes they will apply pressure and pain because it's all they have left to do and they have to look like they're trying.

What is your average recruit like?

The average recruit is age 17-39. They are either male or female. They are in good health with a background free of major criminal offenses.

Have you ever seen the army recruit someone clearly not suitable? If so, what was wrong the recruit?

Honestly... nope. Never have. I've seen some corners cut on the process of getting someone in, but I've never seen or heard of someone who was blatantly unqualified getting in. Despite the perception that recruiters are immoral blood merchants only concerned with getting the next body into the grinder, we're not. And there are many many different layers between the recruiter and the swear-in ceremony. It's hard to game the system.

Do you think the "standard" of new recruits is falling in terms of education, capability etc?

I don't think the standard is falling. The standard is a High School diploma or GED with a qualifying ASVAB score. That's the standard. You meet it or you don't. A better question would be do I think the quality of recruit is going down. To answer that I'd say I dunno. I don't have a huge frame-of-reference with which to judge. But the Army is allowing in more people with lower scores. I don't know what that bodes for the future though. I've known plenty of Soldiers who posted great scores on their ASVAB but were piss-poor Soldiers and I couldn't counsel them fast enough to get them out of the Army. And I've known Soldiers who had to retake the test 10 times to qualify for enlistment who were terrific Soldiers and welcome additions to the NCO Corps when their time came. The enlistment standards are like a cover charge in a bar: it's meant to keep the obviously unqualified out.

What do you think of ethnic specific recruitment drives such as the Hispanic H2 Tour?

I hate when I have to give up my Saturday and Sunday to man a booth in a freaking Cinco de Mayo celebration on the 7th of May. Aside from the events and drives being a drain on my time I think they're great. Not all advertising will reach all groups equally. There are a lot of people who are first or second generation immigrants who might not have the same exposure to the Army that other groups do. If something needs to be targeted better to get people to join I'm for it.

What upset/annoys you the most about your job? What, if anything, do you gain satisfaction from?

The stupid. I hate the belief that seems to be held that everything that is wrong with recruiting is the fault of the recruiters. I am annoyed by people who assume that, because I'm in the Army, they can spout off any wing-bat theory about 9/11, Iraq, Halliburton, Bush, WMD and I'll agree with it because I'm being used by the machine to support my oppression.
I gain satisfaction from putting someone into the Army. I love it when they ship-out. I enjoy making fun of people taking a double-major in business and philosophy at a freaking 2-year community college. I like sitting on a college campus watching hot chicks go by in tiny shorts. I like when the station goes to P3 at Hooters.

Hope this helps ya out Diedre. Good luck, let us know how you do on your paper. And if you want to join the Army Reserve let me know. Can help ya pay for college and maybe give you a perspective not many others in the journalism business have now. That of a veteran.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Every morning, when I check the updated waiver log I'm getting shot in the back of the head by my battalion OPS. I've had a freaking DUI waiver in their clutches for a week now. A simple DUI waiver. A DUI that occured 15 years ago. All it needs is for the battalion commander to sign the waiver. That's it. The BC's office is right down the hall from OPS. They can see it from their desks. If they're waiting on distro to take it from their desk to the BC's, let me know. I'll drive to OPS and take it to the BC's desk my self.

Maybe I shouldn't say that so loud, maybe they'll hear me and think it's a good idea.

I'm a 42A Human Resources Specialist myself. Came in as a 75B, promoted to 75H, and I switched my code to 42A when the Army told me to. I like admin. I like the Adjutant General's Corps. I like being in a very unappreciated MOS. I'm a glutton like that. I pride myself on being a good personnel sergeant. I don't need praise when I do my job well, it's my job to do so. I take constructive critism well and it's my personal mission to never make the same mistake twice (I like to make whole new, bold, glorious mistakes! VIVA LA ERROR!!!!).

Having 10 years in admin I can usually tell a good admin geek from a poor one very quickly. Poor admin clerks make my job harder. When someone in the Army has a bad experience with a personnel clerk they carry the scars for a long time, and the grudge about as long. I have to overcome those problems every time someone else jacks up someone's pay, promotion, leave, whatever. Something Soldier's sometimes don't realize is that a lot of their problems are self-inflicted or cause neutral. When you change your bank account, and don't tell anyone, don't be surprised when your money doesn't go to your new account. Computers do have problems sometimes. Numbers are entered incorrectly, data is overwritten. It happens. A good clerk is about to make sure that the affect Soldier(s) understand the problem and it is remedied ASAP.

Long story short (too late [Clue reference]), I hold a special dislike for poor personnel clerks and S1 shops. They hurt Soldiers and make my job more difficult. My battlion's S1 is filled with them.

They are the worst type of personnel clerk. They are the one's who don't do their job well, and when they do their job at all they make it seem like they went out of their way to get it done. The gauge I use for S1 effectivness is NCOERs. If they NCOERs are tracked, up-to-date, maintained you're working with a squared-away shop. As the quality of the NCOER system degrades, so does the performance of that shop. Few, very few, of the recruiters in the field feel that their NCOERs are being handled properly. Now, for those not in the Army, and even those in it, there are a lot of people who have some responsibility for an NCOER. The Rater, Sr. Rater, Reviewer, the admin folks, the first sergeant, CO, and ultimatly the rated NCO. I must suppress the urge to slap any personnel clerk who blames a busted NCOER system on it not being their responsibility, and instead the responsibility of the rating chain. True, the responsibility for the NCOER being completed is on the rating chain. However, that does not abdicate the personnel sergeants of their responsibility to account for the rating system. The responsibility of the individual report is on the individual, but the whole system is on the clerks.

Anyway, I'm rambling. Our S1 is broke. There is no hope on the horizon unless an experienced S1 NCOIC is inbound and no one knows it. I'd like to think that simply that one shop was broken, but it seems that their evil has spread to OPS, and that is now affecting me and my production.

*UPDATE* I'd felt like I'd made some spelling errors but nothing happened when I ran blogger's spell check. When you find them let me know. Too tired to do a good proofread.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

We'll see

Sometimes you need to treat recruiting like cooking pasta: just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.

I'd conducted an interview w/ a guy that I thought wasn't going to be joining the Army. He just wasn't very committal. Although he didn't want to enlist he was willing to take the ASVAB and phys. Now, usually, when someone isn't willing to enlist I won't set-up a physical. I'll ASVAB a crackhead off the street, but the physical is usually only done when someone has committed, or all but committed to enlisting. That's for two reasons. 1. The physical isn't cheap. There is a cost involved. Sure, it's not my money, but I am a custodian of the taxpayer's money and I don't want to waste it giving a physical to someone who won't join. 2. If I test and phys a guy he can take that and walk into another service or recruiter's office and join for them. I don't want to do their work for them.

But with this guy I did. I had no clue if he was even going to show up. But he did. I got a call at 8pm tonight saying he'd arrived and checked into the hotel for the night. It was a double edged call though. He wanted to call and tell me he'd arrived and that he was ready to join the Army. Yay. He had forgotten his 680 (form required for testing) and needed one for the 0600 test tomorrow morning. Boo. Oh well, he was ready to join and I've done dumber things for people who weren't. I went to the office, printed a new 680, and took it to him at the hotel. I just got back from the trip.

I'm tired, it's late, and I have an early morning getting a GED for another station. It's my own damn fault though. Should have done it Friday but I didn't. Bad SSG B. Bad.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Whoopsie. Seems I deleted all my wonderful comments! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

I was tyring to be cool by adding Haloscan so that more people could say things, but I broke it. Sorry everyone. I'm not that smart sometimes.

Anyway, I do hope it is a change for the better. Now more people can comment (I'm hallucinating that I have more than 8 readers *love you mom*). Seriously, I have like 1,000 page views and I think I, myself, make up 750 of them looking to see if anyone commented on my latest innanity.

Curses Again!

It seems my secret identity is being slowly peeled back. Another recruiter in my company, not in my station, managed to find this site and figured out who I am. He didn't have a hint from the Army Times piece either. He just stumbled upon it. Way to go SSG Sherlock. I would have gotten away with it too if hadn't been for those meddling kids and their dog.

I was out of the station today visiting SSG Sherlock's place. Went well. Got one pretty solid commitment and one that's a lot more flakey. Ever since my first appointment no-show I've adopted a "we'll see" approach to my recruiting. Between being no-showed, low-EST, low-ASVAB, physical issue, moral issues, commitment issues so many things can go wrong that I, just cannot, get excited about a prospect until they walk through my door with an Army backpack over their shoulder. And even then until their background and drug screen come back I'm still not happy.

USAREC stands for US Army Recruiting Command. My biggest problem with the PATRIOT act has always been it's name. The act itself has some very, very useful and important authorizations for law enforcement officials to pursue terrorists. However, it's a name straight out of Orwell. If they simply called it The Anti-Terrorism Bill I honestly believe that a lot of the critism of it would fade away. KISS... Keep it Simple Stupid. That applies to acronyms too.

I bring this up because I think the job would suck a little, miniscule, pico-sized bit less if the pronounciation for the command wasn't "you-sa-wreck". Or, as I'm fond of writing USAwRECk. As in Recruiting will USAREC your life. Recruiting will USAREC your marriage. Etc etc.

I know, even naming it USAHAPPYFLUFFYBUNNYCOM wouldn't alleviate the suck of having to complete a 128 slide Excel workbook detailing how badly you suck as a recruiter, and thus a NCO, and thus a Soldier, and thus a human being, but maybe it would suck a bit less to be assigned to a command that an onomatopeia for what it will do to you. But that's just my opinion.

I didn't mention this yesterday, but I remember it today and thought I'd share.

SSG Rage, George, and myself did a set-up on our local community college. Now, this particular CC occupies a strange, parrallel universe. A universe where people attending Community College are actually attending an institute of higher learning, like a Harvard, Yale, Brown, MIT, Berkley, etc rather than a community college. Maybe things have changed in the 10 years since I graduated HS. But back in my day the kids going to the local community or junior college were going their for one or multiple of the following reasons:

Couldn't afford tuition for a local, in-state 4-year college
Didn't get good enough grades to go anywhere else
Parents were going to kick them out of the house and make them get a job if they didn't go to some college
They had plans to take a couple years of CC and then move on to a real school

Now, I consider these to be the reasons for recent HS grads to go to CC. I know that older individuals, people with jobs, professionals will go to CC for resume padding, career-enhancement or changing, or whatever. I'm not concerned with those people. I'm concerned about the numbnuts in my target market.

At the new student orientation for this CC they must use some sort of freaking mind-control device on thse kids. They are convinced that going to CC is the best thing EVER. I kid you not, we have multiple comments in our LRLs and ALRLs that read "Not interested- college; plans to go to Yale or CC". It is amazing to me the... cluelessness that pervades this campus. And that brings me back to Rage, George, and I standing at a table.

It was not looking like a good month for Rage. He's the best recruiter in the station. Without qualification. Puts in the most volume, quality, everything. This was not going to be a good month for him because he's getting close to leaving, his funnel is empty, and he'll be on leave for most of the RCM. He needed appointments and he needed them bad. He had a young man walk up to the table and express an interest. The kid's mom is in the Army and it's something he'd thought of doing. Rage starts to get the kid's info when two punks walk by and start yelling "Don't do it! They lie!" and kept walking.

Rage kept doing his thing, but George and I called for the punks to come back to the table. That is what I love about these set-ups is punking out numbnuts who come up and try to look cool by talking smack to the Army guys. Of course the kids kept walking. I shout something about how they're just hating "because they were told they were too freaking fat to join the Army." Low blow, I know, but true. Well, about 30 minutes later one of them comes walking back by the table. We all call him over to the table and ask him what the hell his problem was. He proceeds to tell us how the Army lied to his brother.

Turns out his brother wasn't lied to. Turns out his brother had really, really false ideas about what he was going to be doing. His brother was also just recently out of basic and hadn't yet learned that the Army isn't like basic training. Basic is meant to take you from being a civilian to being a Soldier. You are going from being a dumbass high school student to being a guardian of freedom. It isn't an easy change to get people to do.

Anyway, Tubby gets antsy and loud again since we're showing him how he's wrong. I go from being "logical" to being "emotional" and suggest he rush off to McD's so he can take advantage of the Extra Value meals. Honestly, all-in-all it was a good day. All three of us came away with an appointment, Rage's even managed to commit to take the ASVAB, and we got to make fun of stupid people. If I'd found a dollar it would have been the best day I'd had that day.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Please Don't

I think I was happier when the recruiting gods were just happy with me being miserable. Now,I'm being set-up for failure again.

Tuesday my first contract in two months dropped. A nice, easy paper contract resulted in a tic mark next to my name. Sure, it's not quality, it's considered "easy", but you know what? It's a contract and it had been a long time since I'd had one of those.

Now, I'd spent these two months of failure building up something of a funnel. I didn't mean to, but Ive been prospecting, finding people, and just not having them come through for me for one reason or another. Well, now they're getting ready. Two waiver packets were dropped off at OPS with my name on them. One, a DUI which should take about 3 days to get approved. The other though is a USAREC waiver which will take a lot longer. I'm kinda glad of that though because even if it takes like 5 weeks it's still a contract for next month. I've got a couple prior service guys working and I'll make sure to push on of them through this month, andI've got a medical waiver that will come through in about two weeks.

All in all it looks good.

That is where my concern comes in. It will not be this easy. Bad things are coming. I'm afraid. Pain.

How I do it?

Dreadcow asked recruiters managed to make it through the day. Well, I can't speak for all recruiters, but I know how the people in my station make it.

SSG Bri gets it done by killing a Mountain Dew and looking at his orders transferring him out of USAREC effective 1 October.

SSG Rage goes through his day powered by an anger and hatred that would power a million suns of pure anger and hatred.

SSG George gets through the day by killing several bottles of Coke.

SFC Royal downs a pot of coffee in the morning. Of course he might be using the pot of coffee to try and offset the effects of the pitcher of beer he consumes after work to forget the pain of recruiting.

Your's truely? I make it through my days with a couple of crutches. One, I'm cynical and that keeps me grounded. Two, a couple bottle of Diet Coke help. Three, when I'm really, really needing a lift I use the power drink that is sweeping the nation!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Zero to Zero

New recruiting month has started, as has a whole new recruiting year. This is a time of such possibility and hope. I've been the World's Worst Recruiter for the past two months. With any luck that will change with a quickness. Today, if the recruiting gods do not interfere, I shall have a nice, simple IRR-TPU contract write. Thus letting me start the month off with a whole number. Mr. Mayer's hearing waiver was approved, so now I just need for the BC to approve his DUI waiver and he'll be in. That should happen this week.

So, in the course of, maybe, if I'm lucky, five days I will go from an anchor on the company to being the top producer. I will go from having to fill out Excel spreadsheets detailing how I suck to being asked to help other people put people into the Army. Recruiting really does just come down to chance. There are things that a recruiter can do to move the odds into their favor. Having a full funnel, lots of COIs, and so on and so on. All those things will, I'm sure, get you through the lean times. But it's only a matter of time before it runs out and you're at zero roller training.

I'm more sure than ever that part of the training to become a 79R is to go through an operation that removes the part of your brain that perceives time, cause, and effect. Anyway, dropped a kid off for the phys this morning so I've been going since about 0330. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I am a horrible human being

Mrs. SSG B watched the MTV Hurricane Relief concert thingy. About halfway through the program I started to be curious about what the most inapproriate song that coule have been played during the concert was. Here is my list (I am fully aware that this makes me an awful person):

3. Raining on Sunday by Keith Urban

2. Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin

and the number one most inappropriate song that could ever be played during the Hurricane Relief concert is...

1. Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid soundtrack.

Now, please excuse me as I try and buy my way out of eternal damniation by donating money to the Red Cross.

Friday, September 09, 2005


The awesome Dreadcow asked me in my comments "(H)ow do you feel about the idea of contracting military recruiting to a civilian company?"

On a personal level, a SSG B level, I'd be all for it. Whatever gets me out of this horrifying spiral of failure and pain is a positive to me. However, I'm not all about me.

I just can't see how an all civilian recruiting force would work as well as what we have now. And what we have now is s.u.c.k.i.n.g.

I guess my primary complaint against going to civilian recruiters is you lose something that you have with military recruiters. Namely the ability to make them suffer.

Being in the Army means I will always be at work. I cannot quit (well, I can but the Army calls that desertion, and desertion is punishable by death). If I have a really, really, really bad day, week, month, year, tour, I will be there every day of it getting my counseling statements, being told I suck, etc etc. The stuff we put up with as recruiters in the Army would not be tolerated by a civilian. They'd quit.

Sure, steps can be taken to lessen the possibility of civilian recruiters quitting, but those steps pale when compared to what the military is able to do to keep military recruiters from quitting. Unless massive gobs of money are thrown at a company to keep recruiting they will lose their people.

And I'm going to have to cut my response short. Mrs. SSG B just turned the TV to a channel showing this movie. Gotta go.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


World's Worst Recruiter training was tonight. Good thing is it was only an hour. Bad thing was that hour started around 2015. Good thing was the trainer didn't want to rant and rave. Bad thing is I would have prefered ranting and raving to the two hours I had to spend compiling my production, planning, and execution for the past quarter.

It's frustrating. It really is. One of the attendees of the WWRT was the station commander for a local station. He was there is support of one of his recruiters who had to attend the training. He started to talk about, how at Recruiting school, we're all taught to overcome objections. That is true. The scripts we follow all allow a recruiter in training to overcome an objection. The problem is the script always results in overcoming an objection. It's a script. Everyone graduates ARC thinking that they can recruit. Reality ruins that dream for most very quickly.

The mentality I've seen from USAREC is that everyone wants to join. It's just a matter of finding out why they won't. That is the job of the recruiter. I think us recruiters know that is not true. The vast, vast, vast majority of people do not want to join. In one of the most self-defeating things I've seen for most of those who do not want to join the Army is their best option. For a small sliver of those it is their only option. Yet they say no. They say no for as many reasons as there are people.

The SC attending the training is probably oen of those individuals who does not think that people "just don't want to". I admit that the excuse "I don't want to" sounds pretty childish, but I thought about it and I had to rethink my opinion. Follow my line of thought.

Mrs. SSG B asks me to take out the trash. I've already been home for a while, I've taken off my boots, my BDU top, I'm drinking a Coke or a Shiner. I say "I don't want to." If she replies "Obviously you have a reason for saying that, would you tell me what it is?" None of the underlying issues matter. They cannot be overcome. I don't want to put on my boots again. I don't want to dig out my BDU top. I'm not changing into civilan clothes until I strip to my boxers for bed. No amount of "Just Suppose" or ORJ is going to change that. Thus, "I don't want to" is my reason for not taking out the trash.

Yeah, I know that arguement can be taken apart. I don't care. I firmly believe that anyone who I need to beg, barter with, or lie to to join the Army is someone who I don't want to serve with. I'm sure if I were to take the underhanded approach that the anti-recruiter crowd thinks all recruiters take I'd be very successful. If I told people that "Sure, you won't have to deploy" I could find someone on my processing list who would join. If I'm lucky they won't DEP loss before they ship and when the fail to grad or UNSAT out of a unit it's not my problem. I don't swing like that.

I'll take their punishments. I really don't care. I cannot, and will not, bring myself to hurt the Army I love by putting people into the Army who don't want to be there with all their being. If that means I need to be a zero roller, a two month zero roller, or a 2 quarter zero roller I really don't care. I'm trying. I'm looking, I'm rooting, I'm prospecting, I'm doing what I'm supposed to. Sure, some of it is checking a block. If I'm threatened with working until I find an appointment and appointment will be found. There are about 20,000 names and numbers available in my office. A sizable number of those are people who we have never heard from. Two dozen attempted phone calls, no one ever answers. Every single one of those makes for a potential appointment to end a punishment.

Anyway. It's late. Bed time.

I really, really dislike my current duty.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


The Astros won tonight. It was stressful. They had taken an early lead on a Berkman homer, but gave it back immediatly when Brandon Backe (making his first start since coming off the DL) gave up a two run homer to Ryan Howard in the bottom of the inning. The Astros got the lead back when Mike Lamb when yard with a three run shot, and they held a two run lead until the bottom of the eighth when Dan Wheeler decided to have his worst outing since mid June. He gave up an absolute BOMB to Bob Abreu to tie the game at 5 all (the Astros decided to protect Richard Hidalgo from the Expansion Draft in '98 rather than Abreu ), and then loaded the bases for Chad Qualls to come in and try to bail him out.

Qualls has been having a very good year. He's been a great set-up man and has bridged the time between when the starter leaves and the Wheeler-Lidge combo can close it out. Coming in with the bases loaded and one out he managed to get a grounder to Lance Berkman at first, and Berkman threw home for the force out. Unfortunatly Qualls gave up a hit to pinch hitter Shave Victorino, his first hit in two years, to give the Phillies a one run lead.

At this point the Phils bring in Billy Wagner. Billy 100mph Fastball Wagner. Adam Everett and Brad Ausmus didn't stand a chance. Both were down before I had a chance to work up a good rage for the Astros blowing a win. Jose Vizcaino, who came in at third in a double switch w/ Mike Lamb when Qualls, entered came to the plate. He hit a grounder to third which as misplayed and booted by David Bell. Philly boobirds erupt. Vizcaino reaches on the error. A hope springs forth.

Willy Tavaras comes to the plate. Tavaras must be one of the weakest hitters in the game. How he's managed to hit three home runs is beyond me. When I see him swing all I can think of is Willy Mays Hayes from the movie Major League. Astros maganger Phil Gardner really should consider makeing Tavaras do push-ups for every ball he hits in the air because on balls hit on the ground Tavaras can beat just about any throw. Wagner would test this though because he can be downright unhittable against the best hitters, and despite an acceptable batting average no one should mistake Tavaras for a decent hitter.

Willy is quickly down 0-2. He begins fouling off a couple pitches. One of them, a wicked slider, I was really impressed that Tavaras managed to spoil it. Finally Wagner leaves one where Tavars can get a hold of it and he rolls it slowly to shortstop. Eric Bruntlett, the hero of the night before, had come in to run for Vizcaino had taken off for second on the pitch and was able to take the force off, then make Philly SS Jimmy Rollins go to first for the difficult play on the speedy Tavaras. Rollins is a good shortstop. He's a sure fielder and has a strong arm. But Tavars is too fast and he's safe by a hair. Go-ahead run is on first and Craig Biggio comes to the plate.

The folks at AstrosDaily (I'd also like to take the time to thank whatever powers that be for the fact that AstroDay writer John Lauck was found to be safe and sound in NC. He's from the NOLA area and writes a daily summary of the Astros games. He's an excellent writer and I'm sure all Astros fans will be glad to know he's well. So many others were not so lucky. It's strange how important unimportant things like baseball can become in times of such loss.) do a much better job of showing the excellence of Craig Biggio than I will in this space. Suffice to say he's one of the best ever. Wagner pumped in a fastball over the outside of the plate that Biggio reached out for an drove deep into the left field stands for a three run homer and a two run lead.

The Astros would do no more damage, nor would the Phils as Brad Lidge came in to close out the game for the Astros thrid straight win, retaining their one-game lead in the National League Wild Card race.

I say all this above because I love baseball. Particulary Astros baseball. I got into the sport when my family moved to the Houston area when I was a child. I had only gotten to see one game with my dad before he died. The Astros were playing the Reds in the Astrodome. Pete Rose was still their manager (I think the next year would be the one he was banned but I'm too lazy to look it up). The Astros lost, but I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't a fan then.

I became one though. Glenn Davis was my baseball idol. He was denied the attention he deserved by being a power hitter in one of the poorest power hitting enviroments ever. But he was a good player on some poor teams. I remember getting to see Craig Biggio come up and join the Astros. I remember being upset when Larry Andersen was traded to Boston for Jeff Bagwell. You see, Andersen was the first baseball player to ever autograph a baseball card for me. I got to meet Jeff Bagwell after his MVP season when I attended a Houston area sportswriters dinner. I got several autographs from him which I still have to this day.

Baseball takes a beating in the public opinion battle from the 800-pound gorilla of football. I'd like to make some elitiest remark about how football appeals to the basest interests of the TV audience. But I won't. Football succeeds because it's well marketed. Its action lends itself to easy commentary. Its is only played once a week so it can easily become something of an event. Plus, it's easy to bet on, and although the NFL will deny it, they know how important office pools are to their product's popularity.

Baseball though is something different. It's personal. There are 162 games per team per year. From April until October with only a three day break in July there is a baseball game on. Usually one involving your favorite team. The appeal of baseball, to me at least, is its intimacy. Since there is always a game on, I always have something to look forward to. I can come home, relax in the recliner, and watch my team (thank you MLB Extra Innings). When the game is done, win or lose, I know they'llplay again soon. Winning is always preferred, but losing doesn't destroy me because I know, tomorrow, they can make back any loss in the standings.

Anyway, I love baseball. It's late. I'm tired. Tomorrow I've got Worst Recruiter in the World training at 2000h so tomorrow will be a long day. Oh well. Say la vee. La vee.

Maybe this is a skill?

Okay... for the past two plus calendar months I have been the World's Worst Recruiter. During this time of humiliating failure I've managed to have every single prospect or applicant fail to come through for me for a variety of reasons. Inability to hear, open law violations, apathy, etc, etc.

Mr. Robb is the latest victim of my power. He is hot to join the Army. He wants in badly. Two weeks ago he was scheduled to test. He didn't show up because his baby's momma had to work late and he had to watch their child (A very darling daughter by the way who's art adorns my desk at the moment). Okay. Fine. Understood. He had his kid unexpectedly now and couldn't test two weeks ago. He couldn't test last week because of his employer and the long weekend took Friday which was when he could test. So he tested yesterday. 75, yay! He committed a serious offense when he was 18 so I need to do a waiver on him anyway. Ive gotten all of the checks and documents and the waiver just needs to go downtown with him when he takes the physical. Last night we agreed he'd take the physical Thursday. There was a good chance I could get him phys'd and the waiver back in time for him to join on Mission Monday.

About 30 minute after I completed the project his number comes up on my cell. Ruh-roh Raggy. Mr Robb's grandmother had died while he was taking the test. Because of the need to get the physical completed so the waiver can be done I do ask if it's possible he can still get the phys done before he leaves for the services. Nope. He flew out early this morning and won't be back until Sunday. I'm truly sorry for his loss. I'm not so mission-focused or heartless to know that there are more important things out there than joining the Army. My SC felt the same way when I called him, and luckily Mr. Mayer is supposed to get a hearing test done that may allow him to join if he passes. But it's a medical waiver and who knows if that will get approved.

Anyway. My evil powers of Enlistment Prevention have now grown a dark new edge. I can kill people. At this rate it's only a matter of time before I'm wearing a cape, a mask, and my underwear on the outside of my tights as I hold the city hostage. I imagine my supervillan costume will look like this.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Random Mutterings

Astros up 4-0 on the Phils in the second. Will it last? I dunno, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

I'm currently listening to the Avenged Sevenfold album which I'd bought on iTunes. I like it. I'd never heard of them until their current single Bat Country started getting airplay. Again... I like it. I don't know why. It sounds good, it's hard, it's fast, when I'm on the motorcycle listening to the iPod and it comes on I go faster. I like songs that make me go fast.

Oh, and an incredible anniversary recently passed. On August 30th 1993 the Astros traded Larry Andersen to the Boston Red Sox for Jeff Bagwell. One of the greatest trades in baseball history.

Braves Suck.

*UPDATE* I've managed to get myself some comment spam. Trying to go through and delete it. I feel so special now.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


How the hell have people throughout history managed to make it through the first years of marriage? How?!?!


It is time for me to make an admittal of sorts. I'm doing this so that the few people reading this, who are not related to me (still love ya mom, I'll call tomorrow) can have a better idea of who they are reading. Knowing the source of information is sometimes more important than knowing the information itself.

I have been described by some as someone who "Can split the atom but has a hard time tying his shoelaces." Not my words. I have never described myself as "smart" without using the word "ass" in the same sentence. When describing my intelligence I prefer to use "well read". Nothing I know is something that someone couldn't learn by just doing some reading. Maybe a little bit of thought too, but mostly just read.

But yes, I'm capable of mind-blowing moment of stupidity. The sort of moments that inspire jokes with "Hold my beer and watch this" punchlines.

Today I did one of the more mild moments of stupidity. I'm in the Phoenix area. It's kinda hot in Phoenix. It's very sunny in Phoenix. I'm pretty damned pasty white after spending the better part of this millennium in New England. I ride a motorcycle. I rode the motorcycle today. Since it was hot I rode with just a short-sleeve t-shirt. I... got... burned.

My arm looks like some sort of freakish Neapolitan ice cream. You've got the plain vanilla of the biceps, the kinda light chocolate of my forearm, and sandwiched in the middle is the freaking strawberry red of my elbow. Ouch. It's pink like medium rare steak. Which is ironic since I cooked it at about 400 degrees for three hours. I'm not feeling very smart right now.

Oh well. I'll survive. It's a four-day so I'm trying to enjoy it.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I feel like a Scooby-Doo villan. My grandiose plan, which likely cost several thousand dollars to implement, to steel a jewel worth $1,000 has been thwarted by a group of kids and their meddling dog.

I have been discovered. My co-workers read the Army Times article and my mention was enough to make them think it was me. I issued a couple of half-hearted denials, but in the end it was pointless. Turns out my super-sneaky nickname of my rank and the initial of my last name wasn't concealing enough. Plus, there aren't too many detailed Army Reserve recruiters out there who are "tech-savvy" enough to use the web. I didn't have the heart to tell them that Blogger isn't really all that tough to use. Of the 400 recruiters in my office (I'm only exaggerating a little, we've got a lot of people) there are three, myself included, who do not view the computer as some sort of strange, evil box that will steal your soul. A strange evil box that will steal your soul or show you pictures of nekkid women.

So, now my co-workers know who I am. C'est la vie (SSG B: La vee). Maybe I'll change some of what I say, maybe I won't. Who knows. The only... uncomfortable... feeling is knowing that if the Scooby Gang of my office can figure it out the Keystone Kops of the higher-ups should be able to stumble it out as well. Eh... Jack Army can reveal all his info and still be the most-awesomest recruiter blogger out there so maybe I'll get to that point as well. In the mean time I will soon be posting a picture of me because I'm vain like that. But now I've got a round of golf waiting for me. Here's hoping I can crack 130.