Lots of troops spend lots of time debating whether they want to stay in the military or go back to the civilian world — but the feeling might be mutual. Right now, your chain of command might be debating on whether they want to deal with you anymore, too.
It's time. You're entering your reenlistment window. Now you have to decide whether to stay in or get out, whether to take incentives, like bonuses and assignment of choice, or opt to get out and accept release from the UCMJ. So you go to all of your bold leaders and ask them, "should I stay or should I go?" and they all get sorta dodgy.
Well, sorry to break it to you, mate. If they're doing any of these nine things, they probably want to give you a polite end of service of award and boot you like a cheap soccer ball.
1. Your squad leader keeps leaving community college pamphlets on top of your reenlistment paperwork
Don't you want to go here? Instead of to the field with us? ...Please?
(John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0)
"Hey man, the world needs more HVAC repair technicians, medical equipment repairers, and computer support specialists," they tell you. "Here are some nice pamphlets about schools near your hometown. Be sure to look at all your options when you're looking at your reenlistment options."
"All your options. Including getting out. Maybe just look at most of your options. Specifically, look at your getting-out options."
Hey, at least you have the G.I. Bill. Hint, hint.
2. The career counselor just can't fit you into his schedule
Seriously, this guy's whole job is showing people their reenlistment options but, for you, he's happy to show anything else. You only see him when he's at some mandatory unit event — never in his office. When you try to set an appointment up, it always turns out that he has a parachute jump that morning or a dental appointment that afternoon.
If the career counselor is ghosting you, it's not a good sign.
3. Everyone likes to list things civilians don't have to deal with, loudly, and only in your presence
All your squadmates, all talking about all the things you could be doing in the civilian world.
(U.S. Army photo by Capt. Kristoffer Sibbaluca)
Did you know that no one measures the distance between an engineer's nameplate and his pocket flap? And that, in most workplaces, you can wear whatever shirt you want? Grow your beard as long as you want? Work out or not in the morning, according entirely to your own whims and goals?
Of course you do, because that's all your unit talks about in your presence. They also tell you about how civilian employers ask you if you want to travel before sending you around the world, how you can decide for yourself where to live, and how you can change jobs to whatever you want, whenever you want.
4. You're always assigned to the most remote detail
"Yeah, go work over there. No, further. Little further. Alright, climb into the barrel and stay there."
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Hughes)
Meanwhile, all these hints are accompanied by serious isolation at work. If someone has to guard ammo at a far-flung training area, it'll definitely be you. Three-man detail for the motor pool while everyone else is at the armory? Yup, you know who's on it.
5. You get the overnight detail every time
Yay, night mortars. Let me guess who is guarding the site when it's not in use.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Arturo Guzman)
Same deal. Your name comes up on the list for charge of quarters duty way more than random chance could account for, and your "special skills" don't actually make you the logical choice for watching the stereo equipment set out for the change of command ceremony.
6. Constant reminders that other units need people and maybe you could reenlist for one of them if you really have to
"Look, this unit has a puppy. Wouldn't you be so much happier over there?"
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Felicia Jagdatt)
When you can press someone into talking about your reenlistment, they're full of advice about how other units are run differently and how maybe you'll enjoy yourself in a different kind of unit... preferably one on the other coast — or another continent. Yeah, you definitely seem like you'd enjoy an Arctic posting.
7. Your reenlistment packet keeps getting left in the trash, fire, range, etc.
"Huh. Weird. Is that your reenlistment paperwork on the target? Our bad."
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Brianna Saville)
You finally get the paperwork drawn up and now you just have to decide whether to sign it — except that it's in the trash now, for some reason. You retrieve it, but find it in the fire. You re-print it just to find that someone stapled it to silhouettes that were taken to the range.
Surely it's a series of mistakes. Surely.
8. Your chain of command flies your high school ex in for the weekend
Well, the stick hasn't worked, so they pull out the carrot. Specifically, someone looked up your ex on Facebook, flew them out to your base, and finally, finally, granted you a mileage pass so you could go to the beach. It was just sort of odd that you didn't request one this time.
9. Alright, fine, we'll just start paperwork
Maybe you're too fat? Here, have a popsicle.
(U.S. Army Sgt. Edward Garibay)
Huh, that didn't make you want to go home either, huh? Alright, fine. There's got to be something you've done that'll justify a bar to reenlistment. What are your most recent tape test results?
Remember that this is all in fun. The U.S. military actually needs most of you guys to stick around, and wants the rest of you to be super successful in the civilian world. If you have a friend who would find this funny, tag 'em. But if you're getting out, make sure to build a plan.
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