09. May 2005 · Comments Off on Unified Theory of Career Nervousness · Categories: General, Military

My theory, such as it is, is based on the observation that there were certain people in the military who are just ulcer-inducingly, tear-out-your-hair, develop-a-drinking-problem impossible to work for, and that they were concentrated in certain ranks and had accrued a very specific quantity of time in service.

Of course it was pretty likely that some of these people had been pretty much a waste of flesh and stripes/commission from their first day on active duty, but I began to notice, as I accrued TAFMS years myself, that the majority of them were concentrated in the enlisted rank of E-6 (TSgt.) or the officer rank of Major. Given that complete and total dickheads ought to be pretty evenly distributed throughout the ranks, I tried to account for the disproportionate accumulation of them at the rank of Technical Sergeant or Major with eighteen to nineteen years of service. I believe that Sgt. Mom’s Unified Theory of Career Nervousness accounts for this phenomenon.

My theory is predicated upon the fact that a career military member can retire with a somewhat adequate pension at twenty years, but that most enlisted members want very much to retire as an E-7, and that officers want very much to retire as a Colonel. At those ranks, you can stay on past the twenty year mark, but if you have not… oh well. As they say in Moscow, “Tuff shitski, comrade.”. An E-6, or a major with just a year to two to go before that twenty-year cut off, and facing the prospect that making it to the next rank is problematical to impossible… well, that person is very often either sour and embittered or afraid that the least little mark against will screw up the chance they do have of making it to that next magical promotion. The sour and embittered, or the terribly ambitious are not nice people to work for. Three guesses as to whom they will take it out on, and the first two guesses do not count.

Of course, this is not true of all Tech-Sergeants and Majors with that duration of service… and does not address the truly towering horribleness of Colonels who thirst with a desperate longing to pin on that star… but on the whole, I think it works. Discuss, with examples and competing theories, please.

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