A long and painful sigh

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Sometimes in life you just gotta look at the mirror and give yourself a look dripping with “I fucking told you so”. Some of it boils down to your own personal failures, but sometimes it just boils down to good old fashioned bullshit, or bad luck. Sometimes you’re a victim of circumstance, sometimes people go out of their way to fuck you over. Either way, it’s the end of the day, you’ve settled all your matters and you’re left washing your face off and staring in the mirror thinking about the events making that very familiar face of disappointment with a twinge of acceptance. See, I fucking told you so.

My look tonight has been three and a half years in the making. I’ve poured my heart into my work and I’ve been treated pretty shitty as a reward. This has been pretty common throughout my time in the Army. Service has always been a big part of the military and it’s always been an important part to me, especially taking care of younger Soldiers, but I’ve consistently been let down and fucked over by most of my bosses. Time and time again people use me for their personal gain, giving me work and shit under the false guise of taking care of Soldiers. The thing is, it wouldn’t bother me if the military and it’s leadership were actually geared toward taking care of Soldiers, but I’ve noticed a few things.

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1. Most of the leaders have turned into self righteous, stubborn bastards, with little tolerance for people who tell them the truth. Time and time again I watch as “yes men” get preference and reward, while I’m used to solve problems for the command and told that I’ll be taken care of later. So being diligent, doing your work, and solving problems only gets you more work.  Briefing well, hiding dirt, and not rocking the boat gets you promoted.

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2. Nobody cares about you or your Soldiers, they want the next rank, the good evaluation, and the problem to just work itself out. Leaders tend to stick to predetermined and unwritten rules which is why change is so slow in the military. So while we preach about the tenants of taking care of Soldiers, everybody is really just out there covering their ass, hoping you don’t make much of a fuss. Real problems and root causes of issues don’t really get fixed, instead, leadership creates a “system” to patch up a symptom and cover ass until the next scapegoat can be identified.

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3. They don’t want you to propose a solution, they want you to propose the solution that they want to hear. I’ve spent almost ten years in the military now, and every boss I’ve had has either not given two shits (making me to work until he’s happy) or has micro managed me to the point of telling me how to copy and paste items on a power point. The catch is, all of these bosses tell me how important it is to empower subordinates and listen to feedback.  A little confusing right?

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4. The military is like a big bully, no matter how much you challenge it or help it, it will still shit on you. Your experience in the military, much like roaming the halls with your musical instrument and calculus books, all boils down to timing. A lot of how shitty or awesome your life is all boils down to your commander or sergeant major. The worse part of this is the fact that, no matter how hard they challenge the system, it will still crush you.

So, lesson learned, people will let you down, they’ll take advantage of you, they’ll use you up. When it comes to choosing between them and you, they’ll pick themselves every time. The only thing you can count on is that familiar look in the mirror telling you you’re an idiot. While, I love training and taking care of Soldiers, holy shit I’m tired of putting up with ego and bullshit from the topside.  Case in point, I’ve worked in the same brigade for three and a half years, and my boss still struggles to remember my name.

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