The Biggest Mistake Was Joining

On the Monday before Family Day I went into my senior drill sergeant’s office with my battle buddy to have a heart to heart discussion.  Last Thursday during the final inspection he asked if any of us regretted joining the military. 

I regret joining the military. For the last nine weeks I’ve gotten nothing but battle fucked by platoon mates. And when I go home I am going back to unemployment. After hearing this my drill sergeant agrees with me that joining the National Guard will not help me find full time employment and it may hurt me because employers will be reluctant to hire someone who will need large blocks of time off for training.

He advised the following: I should go home and ask my recruiter [or in my case the training/readiness NCO non-commissioned officer since my recruiter was deployed to Afghanistan] how I can get out of my officer candidate contract and go enlisted active duty. If I can not get out of the contract, I should go to OCS (officer candidate school) and intentionally flunk out. At which point the Army will stick me in an enlisted job.

If I go enlisted active duty he advised that I should pick something such as special forces because I speak two dialects of Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin). He reminded me that the military needs candidates who are able to speak the East Asian and Middle Eastern languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Urdu, Pashto and Arabic. Most people who are able to speak Urdu, Pashto or Arabic can not get the security clearance to be in the military. And most people who speak Mandarin and Cantonese don’t join the military. So the military is left with teaching these languages to new recruits. Either way they will never be fluent and even if they do become fluent they will never sound native such as myself since I grew up speaking these languages.

I am reminded about how difficult Special Forces is in terms of physical training, something I may not be able to get through. He said not to worry, my physical fitness is reasonable good and if I can get my score up 20-30 points I should be fine. “The PT can be worked on, however the language speaking ability can not be. Special Forces breaks everybody in terms of physical fitness.” If I don’t go Special Forces he advised something in the medical or technical field.

The point my drill sergeant was trying to get across was that if I commission as a National Guard officer I will stay in the National Guard. I will never get into the active Army. He cited the executive officer (XO) of our company who is in the National Guard. This first-lieutenant (1LT) served only a year-long contract for active duty but is headed right back to the Guard. The Army is in a tough time of downsizing and my drill sergeant doubts things will ever turn in my favor.

He said since I am going home after basic combat training I’ll have some time to think about it. ( a lot of time to think about it) Joining the National Guard isn’t a bad thing. He is confident that I’ll graduate as an officer. I might even get into the branch I want (such as aviation or military intelligence) Just keep in mind that if I choose the National Guard I’ll be unemployed for at least a few years while I go through training.

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Dick’s Military Enlistment and Return to New York City

On Friday November 21st Dick returned to New York City after spending eleven weeks undergoing to military’s toughest basic combat training at Fort Benning, Georgia. In those eleven weeks Dick had no access to a phone, email, or internet.

Dear Journal:

It has been a long time since I’ve written in my journal as I had no access to internet, phone and email for about eleven weeks (11). You see on 12 JUN 2012 I joined the Army National Guard. On 09 SEP 2012, I showed up at the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx to be shipped. I spent the night at the Marriott in Staten Island and on 10 SEP 2012 I went to the Military Entrance Processing Station at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn for shipping. I arrived late that night at Atlanta airport where a coach bus took the two hour drive to Fort Benning, Georgia. From 10 SEP 2012 to 18 SEP 2012 there was ten days of inprocessing at the 30th Adjutant General. Basic combat training started on 19 SEP 2012 with the shark attack where we ran up Sand Hill with our dufflebags.

On 09 NOV 2012, we completed our last ruckmarch of 16 kilometers (10 miles) and officially became soldiers. There after we entered a recovery week ending with Family Day on 20 NOV 2012, graduation ceremony 21 NOV 2012. Afterwards we were given a day and a half (36 hours) pass off base to spend with loved ones. We had to return to base at 8pm Thanksgiving Day (20:00 hours) and the following morning on Black Friday we shipped out either home or to our next training station.

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First to Graduate College, First to Finish Graduate School…..

I was reading my congresswoman’s re-election page this summer

Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez’s personal story is one of many firsts: first in her family to attend college; first Puerto Rican woman elected to Congress; first Hispanic woman to serve as the top Democrat of a House Committee; and first Latina to be Chair of a full Congressional Committee.

So I thought today about how my younger brother is the first in the family to graduate college. (that’s because I was kicked out for three semesters for violating the honor code and cheating on a exam and my deans called me psychologically unstable, then we spent three semesters arguing over one credit hour). This past spring he was the first to finish graduate school.

Recently he was offered a job with the city of New York again and he declined it. I think it was a simple choice for him because he used to a former municipal employee. And he knows what he is going back to. Understandably as my friends and I all get older we realize that the same nuances we tolerated as teenagers in our high school and college years is hardly the case now.Perhaps the favorite quote is “You’re not paying me enough money to quit my volunteer job.”

Well my brother is going to finish his prerequisites and may apply to a PhD or MD program and for someone who barely skated by in undergrad I am confident he’ll be able to finish it if he chooses. And then at least you’ll be addressing his as doctor.
At the very least I have some notable firsts.  First to be laid off three times since the capital market collapse of 2008. First in terms of longest streak of unemployment amongst all my peers (ten months and counting) and longest total time unemployed (24 months and counting)

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Reverse Affirmative Action

On Wednesday July 18th my brother had his first interview for a statistician position with the city of New York. Afterwards we were sitting in Johnny Rocket’s with my brother and my coworker, Felton. And I mentioned this remark. I know this may come off as derogatory towards white males. But if you think about it there is some truth.

If you work in any municipal, city, state or federal government agency and there is a minority (Hispanic, Black or Asian) or female person who is equally (or in some cases remotely) qualified, they will promoted before you.

Here is an example. There are 15 paygrades in the federal government GS 01-15. The scientific/professional positions start at GS-09. The grades 11, 12 are usually team leaders or supervisors and 13-15 are usually managers. When I was working for federal government my boss was a Caucasian (white) employee was a statistician (GS-12) for ten years who accepted a temporary promotion to GS-13. Most of the staff would agree he was the most qualified. He knew the procedures and can recite them like a dictionary. However the human resources manager (GS-13) and his manager (GS-14) were managers also. After the decennial census ended he reverted back to GS-12. However the other managers were promoted permanently to their current pay grades.

Just take a look at the City of New York. If you look at city agencies that employ or serve a large minority population. They represent the population they employ or serve. For example, the head of Housing Preservation Development is Hispanic, the head of Department of Administrative Services is black. The head of the Department of Education is black. Everyone sitting on the New York City Housing Authority board is a minority. (male Hispanic, two hispanic women and one black).

With the predominant amount of male, Caucasians in the private sector and publicly traded corporations. And the transparency of government (and to avert a lawsuit) many municipalities will ask themselves is there a female, or minority we can promote.

So while my friend is a great employee and is probably very well qualified the truth is he is a white male. And if there is another minority or woman within his agency at his level they will be promoted before him.

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Bloomberg Plans to Remove 2 Housing Authority Board Members.

Bloomberg Plans to Remove 2 Housing Authority Board Members.

The other day one of my friends texted me about a shakedown at the New York City Housing Authority. He was probably referring to this New York Times Article. This shouldn’t be news to those who have been following this blog. Just look for the all the entries in the category Life in the Ghetto.

I called this person and I could tell the respect in his voice. I think it was the tipping point between him realizing I’m a borderline craxy psychopath to someone who in my words. “can sniff out phony and corrupt politicians, civic leaders and systems from miles away.”

Amid controversy, Mayor Bloomberg will make the New York City Housing Authority executive board members unsalaried positions with an additional member who is a tenant of public housing. As I said before, I want to be the next tenant to sit on this board. I am so confident I can actually save this agency money I am willing to do this job for free.

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The Investigative Journalism Pays Off

Dear Journal:

Check out the front page of yesterday’s NY Daily News (Aug. 02nd) and the day before (Aug. 01). It is really self-explanatory.
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/the-week?pdate=20120802
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/the-week?pdate=20120801

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Summer Update

A lot has been happening in my life. Recently I helped a congressional candidate named Daniel O’Connor tried to unseat Nydia Velazquez, a ten term incumbent who gets most of her campaign donations from Wall Street banks and special interests groups. Dan O’ Connor lost this election by a landslide but I learned a lot about politics and for a while regained my fluency in Cantonese and Mandarin.

Last semester I earned a C in Advanced Accounting 1 with what many say is the college’s toughest professor. Still unemployed and haven’t received any interviews. But of course there will be more drama. Stay tuned.

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