iraqistan

9/2/2009

Lessons Learned

Filed under: — lana @ 12:28 am

So the course, which I finally got around to attending, is a bit on the sensitive side. They get all jumpy even though a lobotomized monkey could, provided he had internet access (and time available from his apparent day job somewhere in the upper echelons of the military), find out at least the basics on the web without even so much as a half-thought-out password. But they get ancy, and I want to graduate, so let us just stick to lessons learned.

Today was particularly educational. Here is what I learned:

1) I know nothing about submarines.
2) I know nothing about torpedoes.
3) I know nothing about destroyers.
4) I know nothing about how ships are designated.
5) I know nothing about boat yards.
6) I will continue to know nothing about any of these things (and many others, particularly maritime vessel-related things) unless certain people stop waiting for key words and start answering questions like a human being.
7) Never go to a military course and let them figure out early on that you have already done this a few times. It only makes them front-load the really obnoxious and difficult instructors.

The course which I am attending is completely subjective. Before my test this afternoon the instructor with whom I was about to take the test reminded me of this as well as reminding me of some other basic tips. He also asked me to break some basic patterns that I already know work and try something new… on a tested block. I’m doing well, so I figured sure, why not. I made a few modifications, figured I would take a small hit to try his new technique. How much could it hurt? Let’s see what he’s got.

Well, he’s got more than I do, apparently, and I paid for it with my hide. He wrote the background information paperwork and then contradicted every single scrap of the background in the first five minutes. He danced around a small topic like nomenclature for twenty minutes because my questions were too specific, then danced around a larger topic for twenty more minutes because my questions were too general. He told me I was illogical in my pattern because I had to revisit topics after he contradicted himself. Then in the after-review of the test he wrote things down and told me new things (usually more contradictory things) and circled things (on the library map, not even the photocopy… my mother would have a fit!)… and now I have to wake up in the morning and be careful not to include anything he told me in the review or else get an automatic failure. My primary instructor, upon hearing the conundrum, could only inform me that I was officially screwed, gave me a few tips on how to minimize the damage, and promptly made his exit stage left for his house while we stayed another hour to get organized. An hour, it turns out, was not long enough. What a surprise.

Oddly, I passed the test with a fairly good score. Well, I think a fairly good score, since no one really knows how the grading system works around here so we just operate on the thought of “so long as I don’t get called into the office for a private conversation, I know I can come in as usual tomorrow.” Even most of the instructors seem to make it up as they go along because the formula is contained in the head of one senior instructor somewhere who decided to use a base 8 mathematical system for grading. Engineering school was too long ago for that, so we just go about our daily duties and hope no one calls us in to tell us we failed. Really, what this has done is initiated a small group of us to declare our own table at a few local happy hours. Whoever has the worst instructor of the day gets to drink for free. Today was my day… I have now had, out of two tests, two of the hardest instructors in the course. The theory goes that my next test will simply be a dull stick repeatedly poking me in the eye. I might actually request it at this point. After happy hour, a few old television shows where I can watch other, fictional people use poor questioning techniques, and then bedtime before another delightful day of contradiction and confusion at this course, one of the best courses those in my job field can hope to attend.

But before I go enjoy reruns of Law and Order I would like to point out to those interested and/or simply following along that I still know next to nothing about items 1-5. Item 6 I am told is not to be resolved via throat punches, but that remains up for debate for now since no better answer has yet been presented (though other punches were suggested, I maintain the throat will at least stop the inane circle-talk for a few minutes).

And as for item 7, well, that one I learned well. Next time I head to one of these courses I am putting my dog tags on that lobotomized monkey for the first few days of class. It’s a win-win: gets me some easier instructors to get warmed up, and it keeps that monkey away from my travel orders.

1 Comment »

  1. Sounds like another Glorious Military Moment…sigh…

    You’re SURE we won the American Revolution?

    Comment by Dad — 9/2/2009 @ 1:53 pm

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