Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Recruitment Experience

     I walked into the recruitment office with my roommate as moral support.  I told her she didn’t have to come, but she was curious about the process.  As soon as we walked in a recruiter ushered us to the back room. 
     He sat me and my roommate down and asked me a lot of questions.  Active versus Reserve?  Field of interest?  Educational experience?  Married?  Kids?  Any medical issues?  Legal issues?  Issue issues?  When he was satisfied, he answered my questions.  With a college degree what level would I be entering at?  E-4.  What about the loan repayment program?  Availability depends on the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty or Job).  How long is the wait between MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station – where you get your physical, job counseling, and take the oath of enlistment) and Basic?   Anywhere from a couple of weeks to 3-5 months.  Depends on your MOS.
     He was surprised to hear I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket.  I wasn’t.  When you don’t own a car or drive, it’s hard to get speeding tickets.  He also asked me in a whisper (so quiet that I had to ask him to repeat his question) when the last time I smoked weed was.   I told him never, which is true.  I’m pretty straight laced.  (It made me wonder what he would say if you did smoke weed.  MEPS can read drugs in your urine up to 45 days.  So I guess he would delay the MEPS visit until your urine was clean if he was a nice guy or hard up for recruits.)  I asked him how many women he saw in ratio to men.  He said about 1:10, or 1:15.  Though “more women are coming in lately”.  The last thing I wondered, to myself, was how colorful everyone’s language was.  I mean I get it.  Military folk equals colorful language, but in a recruiter’s office I guess I expected everyone to be on their best behavior.  They were extremely polite otherwise.
     I told him I wanted to become a combat medic.  Apparently everyone and their age appropriate buff grandfathers either want medical field or military police right now.  They guarantee jobs to recruits based on ASVAB scores, passing the physical, but most importantly availability.  The recruiter’s next step was to have me take a practice ASVAB test, which had four sections: word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, paragraph comprehension, and mathematics knowledge.  (The actual test has nine sections.)  A couple of the arithmetic reasoning questions gave me pause since they’re basically math word problems, but I ended up with a 96 out of 99.  Potential recruits usually score within 5 points of the practice.  My recruiter said he thought I might get a 99 on the real thing. 
     The recruiter said they don’t often see such a high score.  To be able to enlist you just need a 31, but it’s good I had a strong score.  When jobs are as popular as the one I want to do, having a high ASVAB score gives me a better chance at getting that job.  Also my recruiter says he “has the hook up” on job selection, so that seems promising.  He said if he couldn’t get me that one, he would try for “bigger and better things” such as the really competitive medical jobs.  The whole point of this is to get real life medical experience and training, so if I don’t get one of three jobs I’m out.  Luckily I have that option.
     The next step after the practice test was to put me into the system and fill out some paper work.  He tried to look for jobs for me, but the system was being screwy so he’s going to have to try again later.  I gave him the important papers I brought: social security card, birth certificate, driver’s license, and he’s going to have my college fax over my transcript.  He also needs my high school diploma which I just found under my bed.  So that’s good.
     The plan is to take the official ASVAB test tomorrow.  Then armed with that score, my recruiter can go after the job I want.  Once he books me a job I have seven days to go to MEPS and enlist.  After that there’s the wait until I ship off to basic.  I’m not nervous about the test tomorrow, but I am about the physical.  I’ve never had any health problems, but the way the recruiter made the MEPS doctors out to be, it seems like they’re dead set on disqualifying every soldier that walks in.  I mean I have a couple of scars, but people have scars right?  Shit happen.  Scars happen.  Whatever, I have nothing to hide.  Doesn’t help the nerves so much though.  
     And because you were just dying to know this (or my roommate thinks you all are) I enjoyed a hearty fist bump with my recruiter.   

QBP: "The medic takes not his courage from anger.  He runs the same or greater risks of death and injury, but he, or she, is given over on the battlefield not to Thanatos and anger, but to kindness and Eros."  -Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

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