After achieving moderate success in my civilian career, I enlisted in the Navy. I had no idea of the who, what, and where of navigating the Navy and making the most of my Navy career. At least I knew the why. Glamour and Intrigue? No. Service.
For awhile I waited for someone to tell me what to do. After some spinning in place and a lukewarm Eval, I figured something out. Two words. Stop waiting. Two more words. Get engaged. In essence, few care to help those who cannot or will not take the steps to figure out how to help themselves. Move and others will move with you, guide you and fuel the fire pretty much in any direction you wish to travel.
Aside from mobilization, recall, or ADSW orders, all of which are terrific ways to build your Navy resume, below are a few short suggestions for making the most of time spent working for the Navy.
1. Ask to attend schools-all schools, any schools, schools you are not required to attend as well as training that is mandatory. If an application is required, apply early and apply often. School = money and School = points. Points = retirement. Apply, apply, apply. Attend, attend, attend.
As a Reservist, you will not necessarily be required to attend some schools. Ask for them anyway. Navy Training for the job you have been selected to perform is essential, but that training will not always be assigned to you or just fall in your lap. Advanced training is a bonus. Run a request chit through the proper channels. If you are turned down, wait awhile and ask again. Ask until either someone tells you to stop asking, or your request is approved. The Navy has money, and they will spend it if the time is right. They might as well spend it on you.
2. If possible, try not to do any Navy “work” without gaining either points (pay or non-pay), or money. Non-pay drill points are a fabulous way to boost your point tally when you have to spend a half day here or there doing admin or busy work for the Navy. You volunteered to be in the Navy, but the Navy is not volunteer work. It is a mutually beneficial relationship formed in the name of service to country.
You will most likely not be offered non-pay drill points. You must ask for or schedule them. Do this early and often. If scheduling one at the last minute, walk into your handy NOSC admin office and ask if they would schedule one for you that very day. Get a paper copy of your non-pay drill as proof and keep it. Forever.
Which brings me to the third point…
3. If you wish to receive credit for whatever it is you have accomplished-KEEP A COPY. You will most likely annoy those around you by asking for copies of everything but DO NOT BE DETERRED. Find a copier and make it happen. You are the master of your own destiny. At the end of your career it’s just you, your record, and one bad year standing between you and your retirement.
Don’t be that guy.