I haven’t done a post about the military side of our life so here it goes. We got married on February 12, 2012 so I don’t have too much experience as a Marine wife yet, but I do have a lot of experience with the duty we’re on now, which is recruiting duty. This post will mainly explain what this duty entails and might help anyone who has stumbled upon this for informational purposes.
Not sure how many of you reading this have dated a military man, married one or are in the military yourself but this duty is, how would I put this…….Shitty.
That’s it, it’s just plain shitty! Do you remember going to your school on career day, seeing the guys in their uniforms, walking around or having a booth set up with the military branch they’re representing? Well, that’s what my husband is doing now. They become a salesman and their pitch is selling the Marine Corps. Yup, your husband or wife is now a salesman! The market is vast, the territory is sometimes large and you can sell to any income bracket. If your husband or wife has a silver tongue, is charismatic and enjoys a challenge then this is their duty! It involves lots of high school kids, college kids and most of all, parents. Someone may say, “It should be easy because of the economy!” “Who doesn’t want free college?” “Graduate high school and go sign up!” Well, that’s where it’s tricky. Since the cut backs and downsizing the military, getting in is more strict than ever. In the past people were flocking to join, it was a lot easier to get in but there are so many restrictions now. More thorough screenings and requirements that it makes it harder to get in now. Granted, you can still get in but you just have to meet all those requirements….a lot more people get turned away than you think. I’ve heard of many young kids wanting to join only to be turned away because they didn’t score high enough on the ASVAB or just weren’t qualified medically, plus the many other reasons. In certain states and areas there are many that want to join but just sadly, can’t answer the simplest of questions on the test so they’re turned away because the education minimum wasn’t met.
We started this duty on June 1st, 2011 are over halfway through! We’ll be done next June and I cannot wait to have my husband back to myself, he feels like a ghost in this house.
Why do I say this duty is shitty? Well, the hours, the hours that he spends away from us is just insane. I will see him for a total of about 2 hours a day, at night, after they’re in bed, Monday through Friday. On the weekends I see him, hopefully after 2pm on Saturday but usually not until after 5. If he doesn’t have to drive or go to an event (makes appearances at random locations to help set up a table) then we get to see him all day Sunday. Awesome right? So, let that just be a little schedule for those who are about to start recruiting duty. Usually, they get the weekends off, unless it’s their turn to drive their guys to MEPS on Sundays but they’re usually home by 3. Unless they haven’t made mission, then they get to work Saturday too. My husband falls into both those categories and has been on the 6-7 days a week the whole time we’ve started.
I will say, your recruiting duty experience will depend heavily on a few factors:
- Where he/she is recruiting out of– The area will really determine how hard of a time they have. Some areas are easier than others and we are in a hard to recruit area.
- Their boss– If their boss is an ass, works them all the time and is lazy or, just an ass, then that’ll mean long hours and them being ridden hard like the cheap $2 an hour burro you would rent down in TJ.
- If they make mission– If they’re scrambling around to put in guys at the last minute, that usually means all hands on deck, even if they’ve put in their people for the month.
- The kind of RS they’re with– Some RS’s will grant holidays off and usually that will be on down the RSSs but, #2 or #3 will override that.
- The other recruiters in the office– If they get stuck with lazy recruiters, then they’ll be picking up the slack and that usually means, your guy is stuck late, again. Also refer to #3.
This duty has a lot of stressors in it. Not only are they constantly working to put write up contracts, they are just always working towards the next month. #1 can really make the whole experience stressful in itself. There are stations out there that are known for being real shitty because they can’t get any quality people in. The areas can be great or a living hell. Scraping at the bottom of the barrel is hard enough but it’s worse when you have to find quality scraps down there to write up. Going in the opposite direction is if you get a good area they think they’re too good for the military and the parents/community have the same mindset. Then there’s also the ones who know someone who’s dad or uncle or whatever is up the chain and you have to get them in. So it can go all sorts of ways depending on the area you’re in. To expand on #4 there are well known RS’s out there, some people gravitate towards certain districts to get into the RS they want. Dan wanted a certain district to go to a certain RS. There are ways you can up your chances of getting where you want to go while in school by making phone calls and getting your name in there. You’re sent to where your needed, pretty much based on that Marine’s background and where he’d fit best at. If there’s an opening at a station you want to go to, make those phone calls and talk to the SNOIC and the CO, play your cards right and they’ll put your name in to get you there.
With all that said, it’s hard on the recruiters and their families with this duty and will no doubt, test things at times. Before we started, I told him that no matter what stress he had at work, he needed to leave it there and we wouldn’t have any problems. For the most part that has worked out and we haven’t any problems. Taking care of the kids alone is hard but it’s one of those things you just learn to deal with on this duty. It is what it is and you just need to push through those rough times and focus on the end. Luckily for us they’re still babies so they don’t really notice it and this is going to sound bad but, they don’t even really miss him because he hasn’t been around much. Tough to hear, I know, but it’s the truth. This job takes them away from family and can be rough on older kids who are aware of what’s going on so just brace yourself for that. On top of you missing your husband, your kids will too and may have a hard time coping. He hasn’t taken any time off since we’ve started because if he does, he’ll be behind and it’ll put more stress on him, just thinking of taking leave stresses him out. Heck, when the boys were born he was on his phone working because his boss was blowing it up asking all sorts of questions! This duty has changed my happy, sweet, caring, funny, polite, helpful Dan into a bitter, cranky, lazy Dan. Being alone sucks, especially when your husband is right there, but you can’t see him, spend time with him or enjoy him to much because you can see the stress of the duty weigh him down . We’ve had our challenges, but I like to think we’re doing pretty darn good.
*Edit 2/21/13- I found this link and thought she did a way better job than I could have to describe this duty!
*Edit 2/23/13- Someone was asking about the different wording and terms in a group and I came upon this list. Just for those curious about the lingo you’re going to hear all about!
Besides the shitty part of it all, yes, you can get through it and that’s what we’re doing. I’ll share some of my own tips/thoughts on how to survive. You’ll both need to get on the same page but it can be done and you can get through it.
- Enjoy what time you have with him/her– Sometimes they may be tired and just don’t want to do anything. Sometimes it can be frustrating that they just want to stay home but soak that up. Snuggle together, enjoy the quiet, get the kids in on it. Plan activities you can do at home together, anything just to enjoy time with your spouse.
- Quality time/romance– The little time you have together is precious so make the most of it. Get a date in, re-kindle that flame, talk about things besides recruiting, anything to get that quality time in together. I will say though, for most, their sex life tends to go downhill because of the stress!
- Be empathetic– As I’ve explained in this post, this duty can be very hard on them. It’s a constant 12+ hour a day job and they might be cranky because a kid changed his mind, might have to go to a last minute event, or has to cancel plans with you because he has to drive a kid up to MEPs late.
- Find time for yourself– Yes, you might not see them a lot but that doesn’t mean that should stop you from doing what you want to. Face it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time alone so if you can find something that occupies your time then go for it. Keeping busy is better than sitting there, watching the clock, upset that he’ll miss dinner/cancel plans again because of work.
- Sometimes they won’t talk– You know, some days he used to come home and just be silent. I used to think I did something wrong….all sorts of thoughts went through my mind but after talking to him I calmed down. They talk all day long on the phone, in person, argue with another recruiter, talking to strangers……it gets to them. Just resting their voice box is what they want.
- Have stuff for them to do– As military wives, you’ll have to do a lot of stuff on your own sometimes but that doesn’t mean they can just sit around and do nothing. Give them weekly jobs! For instance, he knows to take out the trash every Monday/Thursday and take the dog out in the morning. Being understanding of the duty is key but hey, that doesn’t allow them a free pass on helping around the house!
- Visit if you can– Some wives I know will go to the office to visit their husbands. Ask him tell you his schedule for the day and sneak in a lunch/early dinner if you can, even bring the kids if that’s ok. Get in that time to see him when he has a moment to spare.
- Help out when you can– Like I said, this duty is very demanding but help out where you can. I’ve made breakfast sandwiches for him to take every morning that sit in the freezer, or I will sometimes pack up his lunch/dinner, buy him snacks and have him keep them at the office or buy him a pack of red bull. They practically live out of their office and govy so having things nearby cuts time from getting food or things somewhere else.
- Get to know other wives in the office– Ask him if the other recruiters are married and make friends! I’ve met the wives at his old office and talk to one of them, the other I don’t have her info but i’ve hung out with them at the balls and they’re both great. If they lived closer I’d do play dates or just hang out.
- Find an online group if you can– I actually met two other ladies off of a FB group from our RS. It was great because at my first ball, I met up with them and now we talk often.
- Socialize at the balls– The recruiting balls are based on each RS so you’ll meet all the recruiters and their wives/husbands there. Each table is based on each RSS so you’ll get a chance to meet everyone there.
- Talk to your FRO– There are usually retreats and activities going on that the FRO will know about so go to some of those! I’ve been to a L.I.N.K.S class while on this duty and met some other wives there.
- If you can, work some– If you can’t find something to occupy your time working full or part time is great. Seriously. I say that because you’ll be spending lots of time by yourself and working, even if its not full time, will help you get to know other people and the area. Plus, a little extra money is great if it goes towards your budget or just your own spending account ;). I’ve made some friends from the job I used to have, I had to quit because of the boys.
- Get involved locally– Can’t work or have kids? Finding local mom groups or volunteering in the community is great. It helps keep you busy and you may make some friends! Also, it can’t hurt to pass your husband’s business card to someone whose interested ;).
- There is opportunity for advancement on this duty– You can get meritoriously promoted, lots pick up by becoming an 8412 and many choose to run their own station. Dan took over as the SNOIC of a station because he wanted to have a leg up come promotion boards.
Those are the main ones I think of when it comes to getting through this duty. Dan just recently became SNOIC of his own station so we’ll see how the hours go from here, they should get better, right? lol. If you have any other suggestions, go ahead and comment with them!
*BTW the hours don’t really change! He got his weekends back so that was a bonus! He didn’t work as late, unless they were behind on mission, but he just ended up dealing more with the higher ups.
Out of all the memes I’ve come across for recruiting duty, this is my favorite!
*2/11/17- WOW so I didn’t think that this would be the most viewed post! I’m glad that this has been a source of some insight for people. I know when we started this duty there was hardly any information out there. Sure there was the technical stuff but no real insight to the experience . This has been viewed lots of times so I really do hope it’s been helpful to those out there. I just had a conversation with a MGySgt last night about the whole recruiting experience. There really is that classic, silent head nod given to other Marines when they see the recruiting ribbon. He was a drill instructor before and then did another b billet as a recruiter and he even said “I’d rather do DI again than do another round of recruiting.”