I suspect he makes better coffee, too.

Yes, work has gotten better. I'm now merely very busy instead of ridiculously overworked. I have a sneaking suspicion that a solitary NCO who is really on the ball can do this job without any minions, assuming he doesn't EVER get far behind. Since I'm still a total n00b and don't have access to some things, I can use the help. Also, I'd like to have a day off again some day.

Fortunately, after a few weeks of scrambling by myself, I have a new minion. Unlike my last minion, who seemed thoroughly offended by my asking her to file anything, PFC Minion is quite content to do menial paperwork tasks and train himself to be able to do less-menial ones. This is odd when you consider that SPC Drama, my old minion, was a 42A administrative specialist, and my new minion is a 19D cavalry scout. From this scientifically random sample, I conclude that 42A school is a complete waste of time and that we should populate our personnel offices with cav scouts--as an added bonus, he won't get "lost" on the way to work.

I like my job a lot. It's several orders of magnitude greater responsibility than any I've ever been given, and quite a bit more than I anticipated when I applied for the Training NCO position in December. 28 days a month, I am the company. I wield a crazy amount of power inherent to my position, and even greater power by virtue of the fact that my company commander and 1SG trust my judgment more than is, strictly speaking, wise. I also have a disturbingly competent supply sergeant, without whom I would have run screaming from this job within the first 48 hours.

But in exchange for this power, I am responsible for paying soldiers, getting their orders cut, getting their travel arranged, getting them into schools, getting them promoted, getting them re-enlisted, getting them trained, and keeping them informed and ready for drill when it arrives. And very few of my powers are explicitly coercive--I can't really make people do much, when you get down to it.

One of the reasons I haven't been posting much is that a lot of my writing energies go into my work. I write between 40 and 100 e-mails a day--usually around 80. Many of these are writing to persuade someone to do something for me, or to do it more expeditiously than they might have otherwise. Examples include getting the pay people to research pay problems for my soldiers, do those administrative actions beyond my power to get issues fixed, research things in databases I can't access, etc., etc. There's a definite art to this. I'm pretty good at it--I can fake "humble" in print, less easily in person--but it is work.

The other major writing task is the drill letter. This is supposed to go out two weeks before drill to all of the company soldiers, telling them where they need to be and when and in what uniform, and what they can expect and what they need to bring or be prepared to do, etc., etc. It usually contains wisdom from the commander and 1SG, and maybe a blurb from higher about this or that issue. Historically (in our unit, at least), it runs about two pages. Since my commander and 1SG rarely deign to comment for the drill letter, this means I have TWO ENTIRE PAGES to write about what I think is important, and I have a CAPTIVE AUDIENCE--they've got to read the stupid thing. Now some might look at that and think, "Crap, I have to fill two pages. OK, I'll just copy/paste from last month and change the dates."

But you know me. I'll say it again: captive audience. The hard part is not turning it into a collection of essays and creative writing. Anyone can announce a PT test the following month, but how many bother to do so in haiku? Drill letters and the once- or twice-weekly activity digest e-mails (because stuff happens more than once a month) are one of the consistent joys of my job.

And then there are those intermittent joys. It gave me great pleasure to write a memo to get SSG Smallville promoted to SFC Smallville, a well-earned accomplishment for a friend and mentor who is hard at work taking care of our joes in Afghanistan right now. (I was a little less ecstatic when it took SIX drafts before S1 was content to pass the memo on to higher.)

I was also moderately pleased to be tangentially involved in processing paperwork to get our favorite drill-dodging assclown one tiny step closer to achieving the civilian status for which he is yearning.

Overall, it's going OK. In another six months, I'll be pretty up to speed on the day to day and just a bit behind the curve on some of the rarer problems, and by the time my first year is up, I'll be actively plotting something to relieve the boredom. But right now, I don't much like to write about work, because I start thinking about all of the stuff that's not yet done.

Speaking of which: Top, I know you're reading. Your completed travel voucher is sitting in a manilla folder labeled "1SG" (clever, huh?) in the vertical files on my desk. All it needs is a signature. If that's too much effort for you, I might possibly forget to pay you next month, понятно?

(See? A fine art.)




Because I can, I fixed a little misspelling in your post. :) "...get our favorite drill-dodging assclown one tiny step closer..." used to be "...get our favorite drill-dodging assclown once tiny step closer..."

Ah, the POWER!!! Ar, ar, ar, arrr!

Okay, so that's silly. Just thought I'd let you know. :)

Love you!

--Wife XOXOXO!!!