Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MC perspective: Pushing boots

The Recruiter! Nooooo!

They are the gatekeepers of the military.  If you want in, the recruiter's office is where you start.  I think used car salesmen are more popular.

As an MC, you'll have the option to do time as a recruiter, instructor, or recruit division commander at Great Lakes.  Many choose this route to help their career.  If you're looking to get promoted, it doesn't hurt to have three years under your belt in one of those three jobs.  The option will most likely come up after finishing your first command after 'A' school.

I recently talked to a couple of Mass Communication Specialists who are currently working as Navy recruiters. 


What's your typical day like?

MC2 Chase Corbin.
MC2 Chase Corbin: There is never a typical day in recruiting.  Monday, Wednesday and Friday starts with going to the gym.  I normally get to the office between 9 and 10am. There I check my email, Facebook, voicemail and schedule for the day.  Soon after I pack up and head out to a high school, which is where I will spend most of my day.   I may be giving a presentation or doing a lunch room set up or just chatting with students and faculty throughout the halls. At the end of school I head out and drop information off at people's houses or head back to the office and do an interview with a prospect. After that I will hit the phones until about six then I pack it up and go home. All of that various daily based on what is happening though.

MC2 Andy Jandik.
MC2 Andy Jandik: A typical day is never very typical, just like the rest of the Navy. From about 10-2pm Monday-Thursday I am at high schools in my area doing either presentations or just a lunch room information stand.  Kids are exposed to us (Sailors) even without having to come up and talk with us. 

We wear our uniforms, either blues or NWUs to schools. It's all about furthering the Navy's presence in the community. After that we schedule appointments for interested applicants to come in for an interview. I don't know the exact numbers but it's something like 10% of Americans are eligible for military service and only about 3% of Americans actually serve. I say that because there are soooooooo many disqualifying factors that's it's hard to get people in. I'm usually off work and in my apartment by about 6-7 at night.

What are the ups and downs of the job?

Corbin: Ups about the job are that I don't actually feel like I'm working. I am just going out and talking about life with people. I can go play basketball and if I'm wearing a Navy shirt then I'm doing my job. That is pretty awesome. The downs are that the hours can really vary. I might wake up at 4am and not get off until 9pm a few days in a row. 

Jandik: The ups of being a recruiter are when you get an applicant who is having a rough run of it and needs a leg up in life. Giving someone a career, steady check, and something they can be proud of is a great feeling. The downside is when you spend days, weeks, or even months working with someone and then they either walk away, get in trouble or lie to you and then you just wasted all that time and it's a huge let down.

What kind of advice can you give to a newbie on talking with a recruiter?

Corbin: My advice is ask. I've run into so many kids who thought they knew the benefits of military service but because they never asked they never really did. Military service isn't for everyone and us, as recruiters, aren't looking for everyone. So my advice would be stay open to getting information and ask anything you can think of!

Jandik: The best advice I can give someone who wants to be a part of what you and I share with our friends is to be honest. Explain your situation, why you think you are worth the recruiter's time and skills, and be completely open about your past. Don't lie and think something that was a long time ago won't pop up. It will. We are the federal government, we can see it all haha also, just be excited about the long legacy that you have the opportunity to join. It's hard work, no doubt about it, but it's also honest work.

Plus we play hard, you know we do! [Why yes I do.]


Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!

Friday, February 7, 2014

MC Perspective: The real [boring] frontline

ARABIAN SEA (Aug. 31, 2013) Aviation ordnancemen assigned to the Death Rattlers of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron lift a missile on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kelly M. Agee /Released)

I wonder how many MCs enlist and say:

"Imma go take photos of jets 
and missiles and cool stuff like that!"  


Here's the reality though.  For many would-be photographers arriving to a carrier....

"Where THE HELL are my reenlistment photos?"
The front desk is the front line of a carrier's media shop.  This place is no joke. Photo by MC2 Jess Lewis.

This is where they usually end up.  THE FRONT DESK.  This is where the entire ship comes to fill out and pick up print, photo, graphic, and video orders.

Think about that for a minute.  You ever been in a FedEx/Kinko's?  They tend to be a couple steps above the DMV on places we like to visit.  Now imagine doing that work on a ship full of people that are tired of being crammed together.  And most of them outrank you.

Let's just say people skills are really really crucial on the front desk.  Did I mention there's an insanely obnoxious buzzer that lets us know someone's at the door?  Listen to that about a hundred times in 12 hours...

"Where THE HELL are my reenlistment photos?" Photo by MC2 Jess Lewis.

This is Seaman Kelly Agee, and she did a pretty long stint at the front desk when she arrived.  Below are her thoughts on the experience.


How did your first couple of weeks on the Nimitz measure up to your expectations?

When I first got to Nimitz everyone was helpful and showed me where everything on the ship was and what was expected of me in the shop. I thought getting around the ship would be harder and that getting in the swing of things would be more difficult. 

There's no front desk class in 'A' school. How challenging was it to work there for that long and how ready were you to "get to work for real?"

Nimitz's indoctrination class was helpful for knowing about the ship but I really wanted to do the job of an MC, so having to work the front desk for two months was challenging because I really wanted to do something more related to my rate.

Any fleet survival advice for new MCs?

It's not hard to survive out in the fleet if you make friends with everyone you possibly can. Don't stick to just being friends or hanging out with MCs. If you make friends out of the shop it makes it easier to get your qualifications and you get connections to stories as well.


She really is that positive.  I see her Facebook posts.  Thanks Agee!  

Everyone else don't be scared.  The photo at the top of this post is one of many great ones Agee took after leaving the front desk.  It'll happen for you as well.