From Devens to Thanksgiving
First and foremost, I need to apologize to my loyal block of readers, as of late, the majority of my posts have been Holiday posts. These past few months have been somewhat taxing on my time, between family, school, work, and taking on some additional responsibilities with my Army Reserve unit, time is a scarce commodity these days. I currently have two posts “sitting on the bench” waiting to be completed before I publish, I’ve sidelined an article for employers on understanding your reservists military pay and another on interactivity during training. I want to give you quality work, so bear with me for a few more days and I’ll be pushing those two out onto the blog.
For the past month I was at Fort Devens in Massachusetts, attending the Army’s reclassification course for Human Resource Specialists. I’ve come to really appreciate the time I spent with many of my peers both in and out of the classroom during the course. There was a great group of soldiers particularly in my class, who I’m sure are going to be a great resource for me later on down the road. The course itself was pretty standard (mundane) HR stuff: we learned to use the Army’s various HRIS systems, the course devoted plenty of time for students to become comfortable researching regulations (the Army has a regulation for EVERYTHING), so I can confidently say that I have mastered the CTRL+SHIFT+F function when searching a PDF document. As always, I look to take-away lessons from other leaders I come in contact with, and there was a particular instructor there…SFC Wilson, who left a lasting impression on me during my first two weeks at the schoolhouse.
Allow me to share a funny anecdote, I flew from Virginia to the Boston, MA on Saturday Oct. 25th, and had instructions to report to the USO by a specific time to be picked up and shuttled to the post on Devens. Well, after landing sometime after noon, I made my way down to the USO, and linked up with several other soldiers who were on the way to the schoolhouse. I couldn’t get onto the van with the first group because there wasn’t enough room, so I was told to wait on another van that would arrive shortly, this set me up for what would be my first encounter with SFC Wilson. SFC Wilson had come to pick up a second group of students/soldiers and had been reading names off a list at the USO, I not realizing that we had needed to sign in, tried to attach myself to his gaggle. Well SFC Wilson was very observant and noticed me right off the bat and said to me: “Hey SGT, you’re not in this group.” I don’t know why my gut response to that statement was “Are you sure?” Well that set SFC Wilson off! I was mortified and couldn’t help but think what a shitty start to a month long course that was and I hadn’t even left the airport! After that incident I did my best to stay under the radar for the rest of the day. During our initial briefing the following morning, as classes were being divvied up, I found out that SFC Wilson would be my instructor for the next two weeks. I remember thinking to myself “man I hope this asshole doesn’t remember me from the airport!” Well he did…in the end, SFC Wilson and I actually had a good laugh about our initial encounter. Sometimes, people can surprise you, my initial impression of the SFC Wilson wasn’t the greatest (as I’m sure neither was mine on him) but in the end, I really appreciated his style of leadership and training, it helped to keep me focused on achieving several personal goals for myself. I’ll talk more about SFC Wilson’s training style in my upcoming training post.
Fast forward two additional weeks (btw…I made the Commandant’s List during the second phase of the course), and I was flying back from Boston to VA last Friday the 21st, it was a long travel day…I think I got home at around 9PM…and then had to report back to work on Saturday morning. I’ve been in retail management long enough to know the drill, and fortunately telecomm retail is nothing like fashion retail, yet there’s something about the combination of being short-staffed, during a holiday season and being an exempt employee that can leave you a little jaded. Yet, I’m grateful that I don’t have to share the fate of some of my retail brethren that will be working on Thanksgiving. While I personally detest businesses that are opening on a holiday…the almighty dollar has always proven to trump employee considerations. In solidarity with those working shitty retail jobs…I won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving or Black Friday this year (besides…there are better deals in December than on Black Friday).
Regardless of what your shopping plans are this Holiday, I wish you all a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Enjoy the Macy’s Day parade on TV if you’re not in NYC…if you are in NYC and plan to head out to the parade, make sure to bundle up! If watching balloons, and high school bands isn’t your thing, you have three NFL games to choose from, my holiday wish: the Cowboys getting spanked by the Eagles (4:30PM on FOX). Lastly I hope everyone has an opportunity to stuff their faces with turkey and all the other Thanksgiving yummies out there. Remember my motto: “never let a full stomach get in the way of a good meal!”