5 ways to ethically 'bribe' the training room clerk

The commander is the head of every unit — there’s no question about that. But sometimes, you just need the ‘neck’ of the unit to turn just slightly towards your paperwork to get it expedited. That ‘neck’ is the training room clerk.

Now, flat-out bribery is a UCMJ offense, but you don’t need to be all “Fat Leonard” to get things done the way that you want. Maybe you’ve got a school you really want to get to, an award packet that’s been sitting in the inbox for too long, or you’re kinda hoping that your leave packet gets approved. If the clerk is on your side, things will definitely be more pleasant.

These are 5 ways you can persuade that clerk. Remember, you’re not ‘buying’ your way through the training room — it’s their job, they should do it anyways — you’re just making friends.

5. Befriend them off duty

Training room staff usually are stuck in a vacuum. While most of the unit bonds over shared suffering, they’re often handling hand receipts or training calendars.

Invite them out for a drink and you’ve got yourself a friend on the inside.

Beer Pong cups

This might explain why every training room clerk I’ve met is a beer pong champ. (Image via Flickr)

4. Bring them stuff from the shopette

Once again, flat-out bribery is punishable under UCMJ. But is it still bribery if you’re just saying, “hey, training room clerk, I’m making a quick trip to the gas station. Want anything?”

Technically, yes, it’s bribery if your intent is obviously to get the paperwork done. It isn’t bribery, however, if one troop is just being nice to another.

Airmen grocery bags

Donuts are a lot cheaper than actual bribery anyways. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kayla Newman)

3. Scratch their back first

There’s an old military saying about having four friends. You want to befriend “the cook, the medic, supply, and (insert whoever is saying the phrase).” It may sound trite, but it really does apply to everyone in every unit.

Of course, support MOS’s have more lucrative tokens with which to barter, but that doesn’t mean the combat arms guys can’t help the training room clerk be less of a POG.

galley bacon

Oh? You want more bacon? That’s funny, because I want to take leave… (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jesús Rodríguez)

2. Welcome them in doing “non-training room” things

Everyone joins the military for different reasons. That’s over two million people with over two million unique goals in life. One common thread, however, is that many enlist to satisfy a sense of adventure and for a chance to do cool sh*t. They probably didn’t join the military so they can skulk around an office all day.

This is what the combat arms guys bring to the table. Bring the training room guy along to the fun exercises and let them play soldier for a few hours. That way, they can get back to processing your boring paperwork feeling a bit more accomplished.

Marine thumbs up

At least let them feel like they actually joined the military. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Pfc. Heather Atherton)

1. Don’t be a dick

Simply put, raising your voice at them won’t work. It may feel like you’re accomplishing something when you watch a private wet themselves, but it probably won’t make them shuffle your paperwork to the top.

Yes, they should move at the military’s pace and not their own. If there’s a real problem, address it in a professional manner. If the kid is left alone with stacks of paperwork, cut them some slack and at least pretend like you empathize with them.

Training room

A little kindness goes a long way. (Photo by Sgt. Justin Naylor)