I was speaking to a very good mate of mine some while ago. He was telling me that, in his opinion, there has been a shift change in relation to rank and it's 'kudos' if you will. I recall many years ago that (i'm talking about a working unit here) a full screw meant quite something. And making that what seemed to be, massive step towards that Sgts' mess was a big, big thing. To be a SNCO was indeed a massive achievment, and something that you would be rightly proud of. Now, i have done a few years, is it the general consensus that people, more so than now, are taking it for granted, thus devalueing this step up? Or is it the (what i think) issue of people not giving a flying fukk, about it all?
Interesting point mate.

I don't have the definitive answer but I can say with some certainty that, in my experience, the vast majority of Sergeants (especially those newly promoted) definately DONT take it for granted.

As you rightly said, a very real difference exists & that soon becomes evident on entering the Mess. It's the same today as it no doubt was 20 or more years ago.

But still I can't help feeling that the main point of your post, namely a devaluing of the institution of the Rank has more than a ring of truth to it.

Personally, I think it's more likely a result of the changing values of society as a whole, after all, that's where we recruit from.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart (I'm 33 ffs! :D ) it's fairly obvious to anyone aged 30+ (And some younger folks), that a large proportion of teens & young adults today don't have the same approach to life & respect for authority which perhaps we did (Generally speaking) at their age.

It follows then, that as they progress through LCpl / Cpl, the values once ascribed to JNCOs are slowly but surely changing with them. Whether or when this will permeate the WO & Sgts' Mess remains to be seen but I think it will take a while yet.

Of course, this opens up the age old Monty Python style 'When I were a lad' 'Trg gone soft' debate. Maybe so, maybe not. That's a whole new can of worms that I'm sure will get some others on here champing at the bit! :wink:

I've said my bit.

This thread certainly resonates with me as a former Infantryman.

I am not a natural 'whinger' and I don't know if it is just my perception but
certainly when I was a JNCO, the Sergeants Mess seemed to be full of old men at the fag-end of their 22 but 'men' of character, stature and worldly experience nevertheless, men not averse to taking a young miscreant Platoon Commander around the back of the block for a good 'talking' to as part of his character building, men that would kick your arrse severely when you f**k up and took the p*** when you got it right and men to look up to and respect as father figures from whom you sought advice and that you crossed at your peril.

We then seem to have 'lost' it as these men left and the Mess became younger and younger as SNCOs were promoted much earlier than had been the case hitherto simply by virtue of passing the required courses. We somehow lost a lot of 'spine' and 'backbone' as they became more career conscious and dare I say it - selfish self-obsessed jellyfish terrified of making a decision lest it lead to a mistake to learn from, upsetting the wrong people, creating a bad impression or even getting drunk in the Mess or obtaining an adverse CR!

It is difficult to say whether it was the Mess that became sadder or I did!

Perhaps I am just a 'whinger' after all.
Carpets, you`ll no doubt be pleased to hear that you and I see eye to eye on this one, and a lot of it stems, as Iolis correctly pointed out, from the culuture of backstab/ærsekiss that pervades certain messes, with SNCOs unwilling or unable to make decisions in case they upset the apple cart. Unfortunately, I have no ideas as to the way forward.

To give an example, I was once told "You know Biscuits, you wouldn`t be a Staffy if you weren`t a tech" by someone who I had previously had a lot of respect for. What he was getting at was not the usual trade thing, he was actually having a go at me because I was refusing to play the "Oh my God I`m so scared of the RSM, I`d do anything to get in his good books" game.

Wish I had, as it happens, I got a crap CR :wink:
Best thing that can happen in the mess is when you get a solid core of guys who either a) completely dontgiveafuck about further promotion or
b)already at their personal ceiling and won't get promoted again and know it and are not bitter and twisted about it (they do exist).

Then you can get a vibrant and interesting mess life. Of course it does help if the badge is a complete raving looney :)
Fellas, some interesting points there, Sgt Steiner summed it up pefectly, the main effort for me, and i am certainly not afraid to admit it, is to try my hardest to get there( Sgts' Mess), I just hope it will not be an anti-climax, i am sure it won't. For me it is all about Ethos/tradition, which again for me, is the backbone (certainly should be) of our Life in the Services. I write this as this is how i feel, but the perspective I have is that of a 35 year old, now if i still have the determination and drive to get there- even now, but if it is not to be, then that is that. It would just be nice to have a pint with all my mates!
Carpts - you have changed...

As a recruit, Cpls ruled (and Sgts ruled Cpls). Whilst you may not have respected/liked all of them, they gave you something to aspire to. You have had that subliminal thought in your head ever since.

As you have progressed through your career to date, you have (like everyone) become more confident, cynical and a lot less in awe of higher ranks. You now look at them from the point of view of wanting to become one, and from the point of view (at 35) of someone that has perhaps annoyingly watched a lot of others reach the position- the mystique has gone and reality has set in.

I don't think they have changed, although I am willing to concede if in some cases. That said, you have a refreshingly positive outlook for someone that is still trying. :D
I disagree about the younger promotions making the mess a lesser exclusive club to be part of. I agree there is an element of the mess who do make it look like just another rank to outsiders looking in, who do percive that this is the case. This though is a very small element. It is all to do with self pride. For example a Sgt in the mess could have a good friend whom he/she attended phase 1 training with who is still low down the ladder. However this Sgt must have an element of self determination and drive to be in such a place. On the other hand you could have a 18 year full screw who on promotion to sergeant has such a chip on their shoulder, will also bring down the profile of the Sgts mess. So you have to look at both sides to find the route of this problem. I may be wrong but younger mess members are not the only persons lowering these standards. And this is the minority, as the mess in my opinion is still the place people aspire to.
Point taken Stacy, i don't want to go down the road of argueing about some trades get promoted before others, thus making the mess so much quicker than other tradesmen. I do not believe that younger members would ever be allowed to bring the mess down to a level, of unacceptibility. Older members i'd of thought, would rectify that issue promptly. Going on from that - personally speaking, people ought not to have a problem if somebody else is younger than you, and has excelled beyond oneself, and then is a position of authority above you, because at the end of the day when we all leave the army, invariably your boss will more than likely be younger than you.
thankyou carpets, i agree totally with your reply. inevitably there will be the odd person that plays the system, but with all the tours we are involved in at the moment these people will be quickly identified and put in their places.
I was 32 when I reached that state of grace that is Sergeantdom.(1970) And I must admit I did feel I'd arrived. The mess then was a wonderful place to be because it was run by SNCOs for SNCOs. I occasionally visit my Corps Mess on Association business and can feel the difference now that messes are run by civilians as a money making concern. I also feel that the living in members are less respectful of the mess traditions than in my timebut this may be because in civvy street there is a much more relaxed attitude to tradition . The other thing is that a larger proportion of members are now pads and tend to treat the mess as a place for tea and toast in a morning and the occasional function rather than as the second home it used to be.
Interesting, craftmanx. I must admit when i did my drillys', as JNCO's we were afforded the right to live in there Mess, and for me it was really good taster. Little things like being waitered on, being treated like Gentleman. A good education i thought. From the impression i got, i thought of it as 'Grown ups' club, which appealed to me. Mind you spent too much money-and aquired the taste of portified wine! Thankyou all for some decent replies, must be amongst grown ups then.
Steven wrote:

"Best thing that can happen in the mess is when you get a solid core of guys who either a) completely dontgiveafuck about further promotion or
b)already at their personal ceiling and won't get promoted again and know it and are not bitter and twisted about it (they do exist)."

We WOZ them soldiers!!
The Sgts Mess is one of the finest institutions in the world. And it is not until you attain membership that you fully appreciate it. I defy anyone who entered the Mess for the first time, not to have been pooping their pants. The Mess will endure no matter what because the experienced ones at the top keep it that way. The Mess indoctrinates tradition. It should be something every single soldier aspires to. I spent over 17 years in the Sgts Mess, and it is just about the only thing I miss. Ask people like Hallveg, who has just picked up, how his life has changed.
Getting to that rank took ten me years or more, talking decades ago. Ball-swelling feat, as you go though the front door of the Mess instead of round the feckin back as usual. Never could buy your way in, unless you were a civvy dignitary (local lawyer, NAAFI manager or something).

But what hit me was the "so what are you going to do for me Sarge?" approach from your people. "We want you to change the world for us. "

The tapes didnt matter as much as what you could do, who you were and who you knew. It was me they looked at, not the tapes. Proportionate discipline. You might have had to save them from external discipline but you still dished it out yourself, in private. You backed them up but they still got their punishment from you.

A word I learnt in my present career was "boundaries". What's acceptable and what's not. Set them, maintain them and enforce them, always, or you're surely fecked.

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