Saturday, February 07, 2009

Totally not off topic

This is from SFC K in the comments.

Totally off topic, but here goes anyway.

I had the good fortune of having a 2 week break from recruiting shortly after Christmas.

When I came back, it was like the whole world had changed.

People actually want to join the Army. My station could actually make mission off walk-ins alone.

I hate it.

Not that I like P-1, or walking up to random strangers to pester them; but there was a certain purity of spirit to the recruiting game.

It just pisses me off, now, knowing that all these people who are walking in the door now are the same lazy pinko hippie f*cks who've been calling me names in the street and hanging up on me for the last 2 years.

But now they need jobs.

I say "F*ck you." If you don't have a diploma, or if you need a waiver, or act like your hot sh*t; too bad. You should have joined the Army last year, when we needed you. When I get a call-in, I tell them where the station is located. That's it. No attempt at prequal, no offer to pick them up. They can come to the station, and I will disqualify them at my leisure. I guess you could call it, "The Army Recruiter Strikes Back."

On the other hand, it has made recruiting in the High Schools a genuine pleasure. All the teachers who looked down their noses at me and my DEPS for the last year are worried about their jobs. The students are much more attentive. Economic reality is starting to sink in. My Future Soldiers are really hustling for referrals, too.

High School is the only place I prospect now. I want to get them while they are still qualified.

Just a note to anyone out there who reads this, and is not an Army Recruiter:

Don't look for sympathy from me. Empathy, sure, but not sympathy.

It is a shame that you lost your job; but I made a decision to do a hard job, because I knew that it would provide a steady (not huge, but steady) income to my family.

It is a shame that you are losing your house, but I made a decision not to participate in a vastly overvalued market that was using inadequate financial tools. I want to own a home, and I know I can afford one, but you guys are the ones who f*cked up the housing market by buying sh*t you couldn't afford, with credit terms you didn't bother to read.

So, I know it sucks for you, looking for a job with your GED and Felony convictions, but don't ask me for money, and don't expect me to get excited about putting you in my Army.

Now for my sympathy bit. I really do feel for some of my Future Soldiers, especially the ones still in High School. Some of them are hustling for referrals for the simple reason that they need to earn money to help their families. Some of them have had to move multiple times due to foreclosure. One girl didn't even have a good pair of PT shoes. Who can't buy their own kid shoes?

It really does convince me that I am doing the right thing. These kids need the Army, more than I did when I joined.

I hope they ship.
That is the most on-topic thing on my blog in about two months man and thanks for posting it. Hope you don't mind it being put out on the front page, but, really, I'm nearly tapped on what to talk about.

The lack of foresight SFC K bemoans when he talks about people buying homes they couldn't afford is the same as the people who I'd see at job fairs back when I was recruiting. We'd run into hundreds of people who would discuss the Army as some sort of "safety net" for them in employment. Regardless of their qualifications they'd have this fantasy that, if worse came to worse, the Army would always take them.


I keep in touch with my former recruiting partners and they mention things similar to SFC K's experience. Maybe not quite as good, but things are still better than this time last year. All those people who figured that the Army would always need bodies have just ran into the horrible-for-them situation of an Army no longer as hurting as it was for people. Those folks who were relying on waivers (and a lot of people do) will see them dry up. Whether the waivers themselves stop, or the recruiters no longer will run them because they don't need to. I'll bet that we'll start seeing a lot more high school guidance counselors returning recruiter phone calls and offering additional visitation days. Some schools will start to lower their restrictions on recruiters when they visit schools. Colleges will also probably start to become far more accomodating as the labor pool they hope to shunt their customers in to will have dried up.

There is a flip side to this as well. The Army has spent years allowing in people who it might previously would not have considered. Those Soldiers will likely find themselves being squeezed out as time comes. Same goes for Soldiers who have been enrolled in Weight Control and other flagging actions. Behavior and failings which were tolerated when there was a need for any warm body will suddenly be found a lot less tolerable when units are no longer understrength. This will be an issue for the Reserve forces in particular.

SFC K, thanks for sharing that. Appreciated hearing what's going on in the station level of recruiting.