A Rant - no response required!

Discussion in 'Officers' started by TheCheerfulSubbie, Feb 10, 2009.

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  1. I have to admit, I’m getting steadily more and more threaders with the job. Don’t get me wrong, I love being an officer. I joined to command soldiers and it’s been one of the most rewarding things in my life.

    But more and more of my old Pl from Sandhurst have seen the light and are leaving at an alarming rate now, and not just those who you’d expect to go (you know the type). I’m talking about Sword of Honour winners, and officers that hold bravery awards for their leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan, who could go all the way to the top jobs.

    I get the feeling that after six years of us being in Iraq and Afghanistan, more and more officers are joining to lead soldiers at Pl level and want to fight. No one tells you that after two years (and in some Battalions, even less) that you’ll be shunted into a Coy 2ic job and a succession of low grade Staff appointments, shuffling paperwork that matter not a jot to the winning of the war. Unsurprisingly, people soon leave. Christ, I can work just as hard in a similar office for twice the money in the City.

    Why is the MCM Div way the only acceptable way? Why can’t I forego a Staff job and stay with my Pl another year or two? Everyone slates Y.O.’s for being clueless, but that’s not surprising as we’re only allowed literally months in the Pl Comds job. Can you imagine how much better we’d be if we were allowed to stay longer and learn more about the system and the men we’re trying to do our very best for?

    I’m tired of seeing the goalposts move time and time again for MK1 and MK2 (latest revision as of today). I’m fed up of trying to find a mentor who is willing to learn the MK package himself so he can give me quality advice. No one has the time to put themselves through all those constantly moving hoops – not the students, not the mentors. And if we’re really trying to encourage initiative and mission command, why are we learning things parrot fashion?

    Of course we’ve got to do it – it’s cheaper than a residential course.

    I’m bored of filling out H&S Risk Assessments, EASPs and RASPs for every little thing my sub-Unit does. Surely, they must all have been done before by now, for every Regiment in the British Army. Can’t there just be a big file of them somewhere in LAND? I’m frustrated by the fact that I now have to complete all of my soldiers SJARs on JPA and there’s only two DII terminals in the sub-Unit, which makes report time interesting, to say the least.

    I’m annoyed at the system for allowing the scandal which is PAYD ruin my beloved Mess, and the other Messes. If I want to pay for a meal, I’ll go to a restaurant. If I want to eat with my brother officers, I want to come into a full mess, not somewhere that has driven people away with stupid prices and sloppy service.

    I’ve tried to make it as good as I can for the lads. But I really think the system needs a good shake. We’re loosing great officers due to inflexible career profiles that work great for peacetime but badly right now, and badly implemented plans that seem to put profit before our fighting power.

    No wonder I’m threaders….
  2. How many of those officers that are leaving had to do "x" years before getting their inheritance?
  3. Leave, change capbadge, join as a Tom ! You'll love it !
  4. I know you didn't want a response, but you're getting one anyway!

    Standby for some unprompted and probably unwanted advice. Pull up a sandbag.

    Well done, you have now become a disenchanted Coy 2ic. I felt exactly the same 4 years ago. As did nearly everyone of my peers from PCD & Sandhurst. :D

    The bad news is that you are in the classic junior Captain situation of having lost your job platoon commanding ( the only job we joined the Infantry for ) and, unless you get a Sp Pl, you have a succession of shitty Bn Staff jobs to wade through before the next thing which seems worth doing - OC. IO / Ops Offr / RSO / Coy 2ic are bloody annoying and involve all the attendant annoyances of RD - reinvention of the wheel, seemingly nugatory low level paperwork, last minute fastballs, orderly officer duties and feeling that your battalion ( whichever one it is ) is some kind of cursed penal battalion. But, unlike most people in the Bn, you don't feel as if you're on the main effort. When the Coy is out patrolling, and you're left beind with 6 phones, 4 maps, 2 downgraded blokes from the Coy Sigs det and a cup of tea... it hurts doesn't it?! :wink:

    Lets face it - all of us joined to bayonet frenchmen. No recruiting leaflet showed a Coy 2ic doing EASPs at 8pm, and at no point at RMAS did anyone stress the importance of getting to grips with MS Excel.

    Unfortunately, you need to do all this stuff to reach the next job you want to do - OC probably. And then, after that, some kind of cool defence diplomacy job as a passed over Major training a local Army in Africa... or something.

    I don't mean to sound patronising but its about playing the game - cue groan. I was in your situation and decided to leave, which I enjoyed. But basically, because I'd sulked about it I'd always been written off. Those that did play the game - who gritted their teeth, faked a nonchalant smile and plodded on - have (largely ) since got some good jobs.

    A number of us ( from my intake ) who didn't either left or have marked time, chuntering. Interestingly, though, quite a high percentage of us have since re-found our military mojos and either re-joined or properly committed.

    If you don't want to plod on, then times are quite difficult now. I left in 2005 and had a great time as a civvy. I spent some time in the TA and was offered tours & postings that I would have never have been able to do had I stayed regular. For example, there was no way the Bn would lose one of its junior Grad Captains to become an FAC, FHT bloke, linguist or do a tour of choice. Yet all of these things were possible for me as TA. And I'm now a linguist, which I'd whole-heartedly reccomend.

    So why not do the same? The difference is that, while on the outside, I had good jobs which were secure and well paid.

    That was probably true a couple of years ago - although very few of the guys who left at the same time as me made quite as big as they imagined they would - but its certainly not true now.

    So, basically, be f.ucking careful. Bad as it may seem, you could do a lot worse than stick it out for another year until things are clearer economy-wise.

    Oddly enough, personally, I'm even thinking of joining back up fully, despite fully agreeing with nearly all of your post.

    "The Army : Occassionally its ace, mostly its f.ucking annoying, but overall its not all that bad."

    I should be in recruiting.

  5. Become a mercenary be paid lots for it . Lead from the front and kill people. No paper work, no H and Safety.

    Jobs a good un.....
  6. Please excuse me for wandering uninvited into the mess, but, living down under it is my evening and I've had a tipple.

    Sir, get a grip eh. We all get threaders, you however have the opportunity to do something about it. Maybe not today but certainly in the future if you stick it out long enough.

    Please excuse me, I'll go now, got to rehash some H&S bollocks.....there really is no escape from it.
  7. Wise words from Charlie Kong.

    Certainly a contemporary view held elsewhere in the resettlement community.
  8. I´m with you on teh Mess bit and some other bits, but where it comes to no longer being a Plt OC....

    What did you expect, you must have read the paperwork. Officers aren´t encouraged to be graduated and intelligent so they can bayonet people.

    Do your next job as best you can, and your next and hopefully you´ll get your dream job (OC or CO). Or try something outside of Regimental life.

    At least you´re an officer and don´t get fcuked about rigid on various "Scale A" Parades.
  9. Hah! You're an optimist - have you seen the news recently?! :wink:
  10. in_the_cheapseats

    in_the_cheapseats LE Moderator

    Two points I suppose.

    1. I joined as a non grad as did about two thirds of officers ('89). I had 6 years as a Pl comd of one type or the other (Pl Comd, Bn and Trg Bn, Bn and then RSO) before shifting off as Adjt. Great fun. But then I had the years to be able to do it. Grads enter service at 22 earliest up to 27 (I mean, come on!) these days. Well, I'd been in 3 years by then and by 27 had done 3 tours, JDSC and finished my first year as Adjt.

    Today's recruiting, with so much put in store of a degree, doesn't give you the time to enjoy yourself before they have to throw you up to the next level to fill the gaps that are there. No time to learn? I agree.

    2. The other difficulty is that with the pace of life and the lack of money in the system, once you do get up a bit, you learn to be very cynical very quickly. If you think you are getting sick of what you see, just wait until you get to staff and see the real mess the Forces are in. Then ask yourself why the Army is short of so many Capts and Majs.

    However, I would say that the Army is still a great place to be. I agree that the Mess is no longer truly the establishment it was but it is still a Mess that you can make something off. I can't say the same now I am a civvie.

    I'd also echo Charlie's comments about the availability of jobs in the city. If you haven't realised it yet, the city is not a good place to be looking for work and I doubt it will be for a while yet.

    For all its faults and H&S rubbish, the Army is still a good place to be. Looking at your situation another way. where else would you get the chance to be 2IC of 100+ blokes at the age you are with an employer that trusts you with the responsibility of their lives. I can't think of any.
  11. But the main thrust of the point remains unanswered I think. Would it not be possible to slow down the rate of progression. Another year (or the option at least) as an LT/platoon commander before jumping to Captain. Or is it too engrained in the system, or are their too many young thrustering 2LTs coming out of RMAS that need to fill those slots? More experienced PCs staying at that level for longer seems like a good thing to me.
  12. Interesting thread. To some extent, it was always so and many officers have always headed for the door when faced with the prospect of driving desks after early command appointments. I guess it is exacerbated today, (or so I'm told), with many officers having so much war experiance that many will feel they've ticked all the boxes and it's time to move on to new challenges outside.

    Personally, with the foresight of a blind bat, I left in the late eighties because nothing much was in prospect. The Army has been at war ever since. Typical.

    I am genuinly surprised though at the short tours as Pl Commanders, is that a product of a vitually all graduate regime?

    Finally, my twopenny ha'penny worth would be to echo Dozybint's comment. The City is a cold place at the moment, the worst I've known by ten miles of good road. There are literally thousands of well qualified and experianced people pounding the pavements. I would caution anyone of any rank about making rash decisions to leave because of short term disatisfaction.

    By the way, the whole Mess thing is thankfully, beyond my understanding. I'll stick with my happy memories but don't envy you yours.

    Good luck!
  13. Well, seeing as this is ARRSE..... Financial incentives for officers????? Ive heard that the RA and RE are seriously thinking of doing this for those at a certain Capt level to stop those who are thinking like TheCheerfulSubbie leaving.

    If they did, would 20K (as it would need to be a lot) keep you in for another 3 years? I think It would work for me!!! But lets face it, can you imagine the AFPRB announcing this, the press would jump on it as of course all officers have trust funds and second incomes!!!!!!!!! BUT remember all soldiers get financial incentives, as well as pinch point extras.

    when will they wake up to the serious issue of officer retention at Capt level. we cant even get 3 coys at sandhurst anymore, what effect will this have in 3 years time! I wonder what the new arms selection process at sandhurst will do to recruitment and retention. "troops to task" as it was describe to me, ie where the army wants to send you, not where you want to go. stand by popular infantry regts.

    As mentioned before, officers are 'ticking the boxes' on tours at a much junior level than before, thus feeling fulfilled and leaving the warrior monk hood. There is such pressure to leave as the wife (if you manage to find one!) earns just as much, or more than you, and as you have 'done your bit' why stay in? all the benefits ( mess etc) are going, why would she accept the army lifestyle, give up everything and follow you around the world in a staff job you hate?

    As for the graduate issue, well, as a non-grad I did 5 years as Plt Comd, and loved it, as that is what i joined to do. But I was surrounded by 18/24 month Capts who had no concept of the realities of army day-to-day life,and needed their seniors to keep things going. this practice does not help anyone. As so many Capt are leaving, more and more inexperienced officers are being given acting rank to fill the gaps. and unsuitable WO2 doing SO3 jobs (no offence intended)

    I could go on ..........
  14. What a ******
  15. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    I was thinking that... and assuming that he'd called himself Prince Albert because he was stuck in the 19th century.