Promotion Right or Reward?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by tigger_c/s_30, Nov 17, 2003.

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  1. I have read on various threads since joining the site, various comments about promotion, is it me ? ( and I would appreciate some feedback here).

    But I am getting this feeling that there is an attitude around now that promotion is a right and not a reward for being good at your job as it were, and attitude from some that because they decided to stay in (with all the advantages that afforded) for the 22 years they should be at least WO level........... just because of the mere fact they stayed !!!!!

    Is it me or is this a prevailing attitude now?
  2. One word....retention.
  3. I doubt it, and I doubt it ever has been.

    Promotion has ALWAYS been about kissing the right arrse. As an example, I was a lowly craftsman with more courses and experience under my belt than you could shake a stick at. At our LAD there was a relatively new craftsman, two other craftsmen, a lance jack and the staff bloke. This was an infantry unit. Whenever a rifle company went out somewhere, who did they ask for? Me. Mortars? Me. SF or any of the support platoons? Me. Falklands, Africa, Ireland, the Mid East, who went out with the lads? Me. I'm not saying I was anything special, but I liked being an armourer and could do it well, and I was a good soldier too. The Lance Jack was a complete wannker, useless as a soldier, and useless as an armourer. The older of the craftsmen was also useless. The two others were good lads and followed my lead. The staff bloke was a piss artist who only came into the workshop once a day, usually after dinnertime, before pisssing off at 2pm. I did virtually allthe paperwork that he shoud have done. The Lance Jack and the older craftsman fawned over him and went out on the piss with him some lunchtimes and at night. I didn't, because being married with kids I couldn't afford it, and the other craftmen again followed my lead and didn't either. When it came to confidentials, the Lance Jack got a glowing one, as did the older craftsman. I got a shyte one, and the other craftsmen did too. The QM of the Irish Rangers called me in to go over my confidential, and told me I had to be more forceful giving orders to the junior craftsmen, and with my experience I should know that. My answer to that was that I didn't have to tell them anything because they did what I ASKED without moaning or questions, and in my opinion they did it because they respected me, which IMO was good leadership, and that the staff bloke couldn't get them to do anything because they thought he was a cnut, and a piss artist, and the Lance Jack was ignored by them because he was a fcking arse licker to the piss artist. Those were my exact words, and the QM appreciated them but told me he couldn't do anything as he was a staff sergeant, but he would make a note.

    Sorry to go on, but the upshot was that the QM kept his word, and barely a fortnight after arriving at my next unit I was promoted substantive BACKDATED two years, which was virtually unheard of. That's all true.

    But what if at my new unit I came across another cnut like the first?

    I had completed and came top of a REME promotion course, and I'd done an infantry NCO's cadre too, but couldn't get promoted because of one twaat. If I'd licked arrse and went out on the pisss with him, there's no doubt I would've been promoted.

    Talent and experience counts for nothing, it's the people above you that make the decisions.
  4. Promotion is a bit like a card game. You may be a good player but to win, you need to know what the other players are thinking.

    It's not necessarily fair but those that get the regular promotion are the ones that play the game. Not always the ones that are good at their job but the ones who through deliberate action or luck appear to show the right stuff (organise sqn BBQ, face time, in with the boss etc). You need to know the rules first and being the best bloke isn’t always the qualifying requirement. No one said it would be fair. I know, I spent 8 years as a full screw, then sort of cottoned on to how the game was played!!!! I then went from full screw to Brigadier in 5 years!!!
  5. I suffered the double-edged sword of being in the RCT\RLC. I was promoted to lance-jack just after returning from GW1 and bang on my 3 year point. A year later I was posted to another trade (not through choice) and had to re-trade. I had to wait until my 5 year point until the class 3 trade course. By my 6 year point (the stage you are supposed to be looking at getting your full screw) I was a class 3 L\Cpl who hadn't been in trade long enough to warrent getting anything above a 'C'c grade and the unit I was at was dammed if they were putting me above any of their class 1 L\Cpl's who had done the same time as me. By the time I my self was Class 1 I had done 9 years, was well out of the promotion bracket and in a unit in the UK. My troop SSGT was a dwarf with a chip on his shoulder who ensured that only one L\Cpl got promoted in that troop in 5 years (the other 2 troops had about 15 of their L\Cpls promoted). During this time I was voulenteering for tours with other units, coming back with glowing CR's and great grades. Upon my return my next CR would be a bag of spanners. I was stuck.
    I think that the RLC faces 3 problems where promotion is concerned.

    1. The promotion boards are faceless and random. The officers involved do not know any of the soldiers being reviewed and therefore judge them against someone who may be inadequet but has 'plays sport for the unit' written in there.

    2. Personal predudice is to easy to inplement. The OC at a unit never questions the CR's given to him. SO if your troop SSGT hates the world the small part of it he runs suffers. No-one questions this.

    3. Operational experience should play a bigger part in deciding promotion. All to often you can still see WOII's with just a LSGC but JNCO's who have done the same time with 7 or 8 gongs going nowhere fast. I know who should be in charge.

    Anyway, rant over. It's a poor system which has too many variables and promotes many for the wrong reasons.
  6. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    In the RAMC, we have meaningless Pte-LCpl boards, as there are usually for example 90 vacancies for LCpl and only 70 Pte's recommended, so matter how pump the Pte is they get promoted!

    The FACT- also 60% of new AMS recruits are female and of which 85% will leave before their 4 year point- promotion to Cpl will be just as easy.
  7. So let me get this right then , in todays modern army retention(is the buzz word)(Flash) so if we are undermanned, and they keep promoting at the same rates , does this mean the army now is top heavy with JNCO's, and seniors come to that? if thats the case ........who does the work ? 8O
  8. I'm told there's a chap in 204 Sig Sqn who does most of the work. Everyone else in the Army is either dripping or setting up their next business venture for when a grateful Government make them redundant.
  9. Promotion just for retention just ain true!

    How can it be? The vacancies are driven by the units/trades establishments and these are written in stone, no unit can go over its established vacancies except for very special circumstances such as operational necessity. This is why we get selected ranks waiting for promotion.

    Were the system can fall down is by OC’s and CO’s over writing CR’s. The CR system is supposed to be a “fair” written appraisal of your last 12 months and future potential based on a list of qualities that are written on and marked on.

    From there all the CR’s are revued by faceless officers and a warrant officer rank; there will be some one in of your trade but only to awnsers technical special to arm questions as need. He/she can not comment and give nudges or winks.

    The number of vacancies is solid. The board know how many are needed and this will go towards building a “quality line” score below this and you won’t get promoted, score above this and after weeding for the numbers needed you will.

    Now the above should work and does for the majority, were it can fall is by over written or under written CR’s. This is the human element that ain’t infallible and can be painfully unfair some times. Take two OC’s writing CR’s, one can’t write to save his life and the other dribbles poetry via his pen, the all important “firework” key phrases such as “Potential” “Leadership” “Maturity” and the like can be added in the right way to over inflate a soldier.

    At the end of the day if some toss pot is writing your CR who can’t string a sentence together and you are a quality soldier then you will suffer.

    You can redress a CR for inaccuracies and omissions i.e. you did the London Marathon, and this wasn’t added. Or you can redress incorrect data such as courses held and the like, but you CAN NOT redress opinion.

    The pen is mightier than the sword so they say.
  10. Just my two penneth worth.

    No they are not. Unit establishments are usually reviewed at least annually.

    If there are no vacancies in a unit, ie. it is up to 100% manning, why would you need additional manpower? If you are at 100% and cannot carry out you function as a unit then an establishment review is normally carried out.

    I agree, some OC's/CO's do overgrade ACRs, but the promotion boards at APC can usually spot this a mile off, same goes for undergrading which is just as prevalent.

    Faceless? Is this because you don't know them personally? I know many who have sat on promotion boards and I believe the system to be as fair as it possibly can be. Your CO will have sat on a few and most field rank officers as well as Captains, your RSM is usually invited to at least a couple during his/her tenure. The addition of WO's to promotion boards was a major step forward in promoting (excuse the pun) the idea that promotion boards are very fair. I would suggest that the WO's in your Regt or Corps have not done their job properly in briefing personnel in their unit on the exact process.

    The number of vacancies is a known factor before the board sits, but the board are not made aware of this. They mark each individual report on its merits (mainly the pen pictures, the grade is usually ignored as O grade reports can have B grade pen pictures and vice versa). If there is a wide discrepancy on the number of marks awarded by individual(s) on the board, the file is passed around a second time and if there is still disagreement, the individuals who have awarded marks outside of the norm are asked to explain why. The quality line is based on the number of marks awarded and is completely divorced from the quality line. Indeed, there will be people who are placed above the quality line who will not be promoted due to a lack of vacancies, sad, but true. If there are not enough personnel above the quality line, ie. there are fewer graded as promotable than there are vacancies - tough, not above the quality line = not promoted.

    I completely agree with you, but that is where the redress system comes into play. Not happy with your CR? Speak to the guy who wrote it and go from there.

    Again, I agree with you, the ACR system is a based on the opinion of the reporting officer of an individual, but if everyone is reported on in the same manner - what is the problem?

    I have dealt with soldiers CRs for many years now and have seen most of the problems that arise with them. Not every soldier who makes a representation or redresses his/her CR is a whiner, quite a few have had poor CRs through poor management and poor use of the English language. Many redresses I have seen were from individuals who have a rather over-inflated opinion of themselves.
  11. The Signals prom board aren't told how many vacancies there are. They are asked beforehand to determine a score below which they would not accept someone. This is the "promotability line".

    After the folders are marked out of ten, the scores are tallied up and they are all plotted on a graph. Then they put on a wierd sideways parabolic curve and 'harvest' the lucky punters inside the curve.

    Allegedly. Personally, I've heard that the chief freemason selects the guys he likes best.

  12. Frankly I'd love to see a return to the 12 yr Pte and the 18 yr fullscrew years, where promotion just wasn't an issue, getting on with the job and enjoying life was! The Army was fun then. As a realist however, I'll never see those days again. Those joining nowadays wouldn't accept them either, as there is a stigma attached to having been in one (or no) rank for lengthy periods of time. Peoples expectations are different nowadays. The same people wouldn't put up with what some of had to a good few years back, just take a look at some of the threads on this site (QMan and perhaps a few others will know where I'm coming from here).

    I wouldn't say that everyone who is promoted kissed arrse to get there (I sure as fcuk didn't!), but there are some obvious cases of this in my unit and others. That's life though and it ain't fair. The problem with promoting that sort of soldier, is that they will then try to surround themselves with like minded individuals. They'll not want to serve alongside someone who knows it better than they do. You may disagree with them or embarrass them and they don't want that, they want subservience, as it mirrors themselves. There are a few who have the gift to see this and off they go on their 'careers', hanging onto the shirt tails of their mentors. We've got a few like that (quite a few actually).

    As for redresses. Well it took me a couple of years to win mine. I've covered this issue on other threads. ACRs should be written in conjunction with the regs. Opinion is one thing (and yes, you cannot redress it), but that opinion better be evidence based. And that's where it all falls down. If they cannot support their 'opinion' with fact......well, that's a whole new ballgame isn't it?

    There are many soldiers who have continually worked damned hard to be promoted and I would like to consider myself amongst them. If ACRs were fairly written, then the cream would rise and we would have better leadership. Unfortunately, life isn't fair and it galls me to have to say that.

    I don't believe hoiwever, that people should be promoted because of their trade qualifications. Being clever at your 'immediate' employment doesn't make you an effective 'leader'. I'm sure that we've all seen variations on that theme.

    The only advice which I could offer, is stick in there. Keep yourself out of bother and give 110% each time, no matter how sh*tty it gets. Get yourself noticed (for the right reasons) and take the initiative everytime (not just when the boss is looking!). You'll get there through hard graft and dedication, but it won't happen overnight. Some can 'play the game' and get on that way, but personally speaking I've never been 'privvy to the rules of the game', so I've had to graft for my promotions.

    When I'm called upon to comment on a soldiers performance, I remain true to my own values. I do so in the hope that in the future, in some German Garrison or wherever we will be serving, that having done so, I may have made a difference.

    Always tell the truth on ACRs and remain impartial. Always have the courage to examine yourself as well. Some of what is written about you just may be true, but then again, you should know what your problem areas are, having seen your 6 monthly report. You have the chance then to get your boss to explain what you need to do to improve your performance and how you should do it. Take their advice, act upon it, be seen to act upon it and stop whingeing in the presence of your gaffers. You should be up to speed come the ACR and after that, well don't sit back on your laurels.

    The decision however, lies with the promotion Board, who don't (or shouldn't) all know you. You can't second guess what they will do so don't beat yourself up over it.

    Enjoy life. You're a long time dead.
  13. DS,

    I agree with you, particularly with regard to staying true to yourself when writing a soldier's ACR, but I sometimes wish that reporting officers had the moral courage to write bad reports, not write it badly - give some one the D grade they truly deserve. I awarded a D grade to a complete to$$er a few years ago, my Sqn Comd went ballistic as he thought that this reflected on him. I stuck to my guns and eventually (after providing all the evidence) the CO gave me his full support.
  14. I'll not blow any smoke up your arrse Oracle, but you've highlighted a very prominant point. There are many sensitive souls throughout and some really don't want the poor performance of others to reflect upon them (even if this is just their own perception!). But isn't all of this just a by product of today's society, where you are not allowed to fail or make a mistake, through fear of being taken to the cleaners by someone or is it just that some of the management lack the moral courage to tell a soldier the truth?

    There are most definatley some soldiers who possess over inflated opinions of themselves, but is this the fault of the previous RO(s)? Or should the RO's be seeking the opinions of the soldier's supervisory chain
    before writing his ACR. I think that brings me back to the word 'evidence'. If it's there, use it and don't be scared to.
  15. 8O

    I presume this a euphemism? Not one I've heard of before - sheltered life you see.