And So Begins My New Life

Join me as I embark on a new life and new career in Funeral Services.

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Location: Southeast, United States

I'm a Funeral Services graduate embarking on a new career. I graduated high school in 1981, served honorably in the United States Navy from 1982-1986, been married since 1986, and have one son. I've relocated to a new state and have begun working in my chosen profession of Funeral Services, and I've never been happier.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Nostalgic For The Past

This is another post that is not related to work, but I would like to go ahead and get it out of my system anyway. I was in the Navy from 1982-1985, serving aboard the USS California (CGN36).
I enjoyed my time in the service and I loved the job I had (search radar and surface and sub-surface warfare-I was an OS, for those of you who know what that means). I should have gone career, but a couple of things prevented me.

When you first report aboard a ship, one of the things you have to do is learn the ship's firefighting systems; where the stations are, where the emergency equipment is, critical things that are unique to each and every ship. So if you transfer to a new ship, you have to be educated on that ship's equipment/locations. I found this process tedious, and didn't care to repeat it. Secondly, and most important, I had bad bosses. The Chief Petty Officer in charge of my division was a spiteful, bitter, manipulative man. If you didn't kiss his behind and play his game, his way, you could forget about achieving any significant accomplishments. I wanted to be an ID operator, which meant I would be responsible for identifying any contacts that appeared on our radar. There are several ways this can be done; you can interrogate the IFF (Identification Friend of Foe) of the target, you can wait until the contact gets close enough for visual ID, or, if you are operating with another ship that had aircraft (such as a carrier or a frigate with helo), you could vector the aircraft to the contact and have him make the identification. My Chief never let me do this. So then I started trying to qualify for Surface Supervisor. This position had responsibility over the team operating the surface search radars. I didn't get very far in that regard, either.

When it came time to re-enlist, I told my Chief, "no thanks." He couldn't offer me anything that would entice me to stay. No special schools, no transfers to other ships, nothing. I had no interest. He was mad, because he had a very low retention rate. This means that very few of his subordinates re-enlisted when their time came. This reflects badly on his leadership ability, of which he had very little.

He got his, though. When I was in, the only way to be promoted from Chief to Senior Chief was the recommendation of your fellow Chiefs. They would all get together and consider what kind of leader you were, what kind of job you were doing, and so forth. Since my Chief spent most of his spare time bad-mouthing the other departments, his peer review board did not recommend him for promotion. He was unbearable to work with for the next six months, but we all thought it was worth it.

But now, 22 years later, I find I'm nostalgic for those times. I got to travel to all sorts of places I would never have seen otherwise, I had experiences that will never be repeated, and I had good friends and good co-workers. About once every six months, I will have dreams where I'm back in the Navy. Sometimes, most of the times, I dream I'm back on the California, with my friends. Sometimes I dream I'm on a different ship, but with some of my old shipmates.

I find myself wishing sometimes I had gone career, but then, if I had, my life would be very different. I wouldn't have the wife and child I have, and I probably wouldn't have the job I have now.


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