Monday, August 3, 2009

My Job, or Jobs

With my squad leader getting knee surgery 6,000 miles away, I am in charge of the nine members of 4th squad. But with additional duties, leaves, and temporary assignments, my squad is usually three or four specialists, one of whom should make sergeant soon and maybe another before the tour is over.

So that is job one. Job two is being sergeant tool bitch which lately mostly means taking care of the operating system of the big tool box--the compressor, generator and such--and making up hand receipts to inventory all the special tools stuffed in Conex containers. But a big part of this job is actually being in the motor pool from 7am to 3pm every day except Thursday and every 4th Sunday.

Job three is where it gets messy. My company commander and first sergeant want me to do various extra duties within the company, first and foremost the next issue of the newsletter and also serve as Morale, Welfare and Recreation sergeant. The battalion commander wants me to do public affairs for the battalion. Although there are no official hours for the battalion job, it ends up conflicting with the motor pool.

I have a chain of command and for those of you who work in a modern multi-tasking office setting, I suppose you would assume I manage my own time and balance the needs of one job against the other and do the best I can at all of them.

I tried that.

The result was a rather loud discussion with the battalion motor officer last week about how much my presence was required in the motor pool.

My platoon sergeant regularly reminds me that my squad comes first.

The first sergeant is emphatic that the company comes first.

I spoke with the sergeant major at the battalion today about where I might be shooting photos for the battalion in the near future, taking for granted I would be working for the battalion.

My company commander told me how important it is for the team to stay together and he said my first priority is my duties as a leader in the motor pool and company welfare activities.

Today I walked into the DFAC at 1pm. The battalion commander was eating lunch with his assistant. The BC said, "Hey Goose, come over here." So he asked my about bicycling--he has a bike here also--then said "How come you don't want to work for me?" He had gotten the idea I did not want to work for the battalion. I told him otherwise but said I was expecting all of the "senior guys" (He's in his early 40s) to work out what I should be doing. I like my work for the battalion, but it is work. I can't do it as an et cetera that does not intrude on the motor pool schedule.

Sometimes it's fun to be popular.

Lately it's not.

Did I mention that everyone in my chain of command is expecting me to be doing all of my assigned work. This is not a civilian job where I try to get the best results with limited resources and get rated as such. I am really expected to obey all of those guys. They all have said what they want. I think they have all been around enough to know what they are telling me is in direct conflict with what five other people are telling me. But each assumes because he said it, I am doing it.

Jobs one and two are a full-time job for the other three squad leaders. The BC asked me today if I was politicking. I could honestly answer I was not. I want someone to decide what I am supposed to be doing and what I am not supposed to be doing. And then I will do whatever they decide for just five and half more months.

Then we go home.

I'll let you know how things turn out.

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