"Yesterday I had a good scare. We had out first major official inspection and as RPOC, my job was to stand watch until the Inspector (A Chief) came in. I then call the division to attention and salute/greet the inspector. After that I take my place in front of the division and give them orders as the inspector directs. Well, I aced my inspection (locker on spot and in proper uniform). I got a 5.0 out of 5.0 on both and the average was 3.3. BUT I messed up the timing on one part of the greeting so the inspector gave me a demerit chit. Now I've never paid much attention to the various lectures on demerit chits because I didn't plan on breaking any rules. So I asked my RDC what the consequences were of receiving a demerit chit. He told me that if I got another I could lose my program. Immediately my mind reviewed the parts of my contract that state that failure to perform can nullify my guarantees. If two demerit chits were to be considered failure to perform then all it would take to lose my guarantees would be for me to not notice an officer while walking somewhere and not salute or even see a chief or a PO and not greet. So I started to worry (obviously) and began considering resigning so that I could blend in and avoid dangerous situations. The problem with that is that there is nobody remotely qualified to fill in for me. A couple days ago I was talking with the RDCs about who could take over as yeoman (our current yeoman is going to be fired for misconduct) and there wasn't really anybody that could handle that, let alone replace me as RCPO. I mentioned a few names to them and they ripped each of them apart. It was a big eye opener for me because I realized more than before how little there was to hold the division together in my absence.
So with all of that in mind, I thought about resigning, worried about what would happen to the division, but knowing that I had to do what was best for my family.
After thinking about it for a while, I realized that the RDCs probably had a lot of influence on the consequences, if not complete control (considering cues like the fact that RDCs had threatened to fire me on at least three occasions, but I was pretty sure it was just mind games they were playing, but I had to know that I had their support. I knew they were pleased with me performance from little cues like the fact that they let me laugh at their jokes and one time there was a graded event where the RDCs played a role in what would be graded and I had a special physical for the nuclear field that wasn't supposed to end until after the event started. So the night before the event, I trained my AROC who is second in command for drill (and the guy who calls cadence when marching). Well, the next morning I went to my physical and the division, especially AROC was very nervous. After I was at the clinic for about 20 minutes, one of my RDC showed up and started talking to the guy at the front desk. I heard the guy at the desk tell Chief that there was no way I'd make it back on time. Chief then basically told him to try anyways. Next thing I know I'm at the front of every line and the doctor is ready to see me. I made it back with almost an hour to spare. When I got back, one of my RDCs told me how happy the other RDC was to see me. I looked over and he was grinning like an idiot, kind of strange to see that from one's RDC.
Anyways, with all this in mind, I went to the RDCs office in the evening when all three were present, determined to find out where things stood. I approached them and greeted them and asked about the demerit chit. The RDC I had asked earlier laughed and told the others that he had told me if I got another I'd lose the program. They tried to sidestep my question and just threatened my with violence inflicted by the cutlass I carry as RCPO. (But I think they're realizing that those kinds of threats don't phase me at all and that I don' take them seriously.) So I decided to force their hand by saying "Petty Officer, if I were to resign from my position as RCPS, would you have any names in mind for somebody to replace me?" There was a brief awkward silence during which time it became clear that they had no clue who would and really didn't want me to quit. They tried to make fun of me some more but my demeanor forced them to cave and tell me that demerit chits would have no impact on anything in my contract. After that, I asked for permission to carry on and they resumed harassing me and told me to quit being a pussy. They can make fun of me all they want, but now I know that I have "job security" and that they'll help me accomplish everything I need to."
March 4, 2009
The Happiness Trap
2 days ago