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RobotChicken
04-07-2013, 05:31 PM
:hat Just after your 'project' augers in short of the runway???

Drackore
04-07-2013, 05:52 PM
Scenario: You have been given a TOP PRIORITY by your leadership. As AoD would say "Do it to it and git 'r done". Then you get a short suspense project, then you get another priority which makes it impossible to do the TOP priority.

Sounds like a typical day in the AF, right?

Let's also say you are chugging right along...no one has said anything to you. Questions get ask, you answer them...keep on going. No one says "Hey, your fucking up" or "I don't like the way you are handling this", so you keep on going all while they keep piling it up.

You mention this to a few in your chain. "Hey these short suspenses are getting a little too much" or "All my guys are working on this one" and the answers are usually "Ok don't worry, if you can't do it you can't do it...just do your best". But they still throw hissy fits anyways.

When do you draw the line and start tap dancing on a desk saying "TOO MUCH"?

RobotChicken
04-07-2013, 05:55 PM
:hat Just after your 'project' augers in short of the runway???

giggawatt
04-08-2013, 06:16 AM
Another "upgrade" that made the forum worse.

CrustySMSgt
04-08-2013, 06:34 AM
Another "upgrade" that made the forum worse.

No joke! :nerd

CrustySMSgt
04-08-2013, 07:01 AM
Scenario: You have been given a TOP PRIORITY by your leadership. As AoD would say "Do it to it and git 'r done". Then you get a short suspense project, then you get another priority which makes it impossible to do the TOP priority.

Sounds like a typical day in the AF, right?

Let's also say you are chugging right along...no one has said anything to you. Questions get ask, you answer them...keep on going. No one says "Hey, your fucking up" or "I don't like the way you are handling this", so you keep on going all while they keep piling it up.

You mention this to a few in your chain. "Hey these short suspenses are getting a little too much" or "All my guys are working on this one" and the answers are usually "Ok don't worry, if you can't do it you can't do it...just do your best". But they still throw hissy fits anyways.

When do you draw the line and start tap dancing on a desk saying "TOO MUCH"?

Knowing the back story... you know I think you were doing the right thing and at any point, if your leadership though you were off track, there were more than enough opportunities to correct your course.

Just another example of why it is important to get orders in writing, request feedback from supervisors who are too lazy to give it AS REQUIRED, and to cover your ass if you think you're being set up for a fall.

Hang in there and fight the good fight!

imported_AFKILO7
04-08-2013, 12:10 PM
I don't post much and when I do I am usually being an ass. But I will refrain this time because I feel the same as the OP. I must admit that I once I put on TSgt and began to see a little bit more behind the curtain I'm not impressed with "leaders". Perhaps I have expectations that are too high? But I expected more, I expected to have supervisor that would positively motivate me. Instead I've had supervisors that only provide the motivation I need so that I am not bothered. I only work so that I don't have to listen to the verbal masturbation spew from their mouths. As of now I do not supervise anyone primarily because the section I work in is filled with civilians and I am the only AD member. I give 100% and am task saturated by a boss (retired CMSgt, GS-11) that has his nose firmly planted between the cheeks of our "deputy commander" (civilian GS-13). His boss flings every extra duty to him, who in turns flings it to me because the other civilians in my office can't do it because it isn't in their job description. I am complaining a bit, but I have learned an incredible amount about Software Management, PWCS, EE-SOHMISS, DTS, R-14'S, TCO...but I spend more time updating slides than I do my primary job. There is no direction and when I request feedback I get the most cookie cutter response I am amazed that I am speaking to a retired CMSgt.

SomeRandomGuy
04-08-2013, 01:06 PM
Scenario: You have been given a TOP PRIORITY by your leadership. As AoD would say "Do it to it and git 'r done". Then you get a short suspense project, then you get another priority which makes it impossible to do the TOP priority.

Sounds like a typical day in the AF, right?

Let's also say you are chugging right along...no one has said anything to you. Questions get ask, you answer them...keep on going. No one says "Hey, your fucking up" or "I don't like the way you are handling this", so you keep on going all while they keep piling it up.

You mention this to a few in your chain. "Hey these short suspenses are getting a little too much" or "All my guys are working on this one" and the answers are usually "Ok don't worry, if you can't do it you can't do it...just do your best". But they still throw hissy fits anyways.

When do you draw the line and start tap dancing on a desk saying "TOO MUCH"?

I know exactly the type of situation you are talking about. I have actually seen it from 2 of the 3 avaliable perspectives. I have been the worker bee who worked in a section where the supervisor was working us to death trying to meet a suspense. I have also been the section supervisor who was told by management to meet a suspense at whatever cost. Both situations were the exact same situation just at a different location and I held a different perspective. Here is the backstory and I will tell you what I did and then give you some advice I was given by a Chief that I trusted.

As we all know in Finance the processing of travel vouchers was transferred to the Central Processing Center at Ellsworth. What a lot of people do not know about is the mess that was made in the build up to transformation. In approximately 2007 FM leadership sent out requets looking for the "best and the brightest" who wanted to go to Ellsworth and help stand up the Processing Center. They asked for these volunteers to PCS to Ellsworth even though the workload would not follow until a later date. I was at a base with a heavy travel voucher workload. When we gave up the original bodies for the processing ceneter we were told their workload would follow in approximately 6 months. In the travel section alone we had around 15 people and that number dropped to around 6. The other problem is we were not recieving any new manning as most new troops were also diverted to the processing center. This left us without about half of the people we previously had still accomlishing the same workload. At the time our commander decided that "our customer will not suffer because of this" so we still maintained the 7-10 Business day payment timeline. All teh commander cared about was that when slides went up to MAJCOm our base could show we paid 95% or better of our vouchers within 7-10 days. He could not care less how that happened. As an Amn at the time I became extreemly burned out. Most every day we weer eworking from 0700 until about 1900. They actually were sending dorm Amn home form both a lunch and dinner break because they did not want to pay missed meals or give BAS. It totally sucked and completely killed morale.

A few years later I put on SSgt and PCS'd to a different base. When the new base noticed my previous EPR and the amazing amount of tarvel vouchers I processed as an Amn I was a virtual lock to become NCOIC of Travel. I was actually excited for the opportunity because I wanted to make sure other Amn did not have to go through what I went through. I was pretty disappointed when management laid out the expectations. I explained those numbers were impossible with the manning I was given. I refused to burn my people and myself out just to meet impossible numbers.

At this point I turned to a Chief I trusted for advice. He explained that what I needed to do was give an honest effort to meet the expectations without being unreasonable. When the first month of metrics come in at that point you have to explain thse are the numbers that are possible. The only way to do any better is to take dangerous shortcuts or work people ridiculous hours. This is the point when you find out what type of leadership you have. You will either have a boss who is willingt o stand up and explain why your metrics are not at the goal or you will have to a boss who tells you to "suck it up and do whatever it takes" If you end up with the latter you in are in a no win situation. If you work 80 hours per week and meet the standard that becomes the new expectation. If you refuse to work that many hours you become the guy who is not 100% committed to the mission. At that point you understand you have two options either sell out your family for job or do your best and be ready to explain that what you are providing is all you are capable of. If someone else is capable of more maybe they should be in charge.

sandsjames
04-08-2013, 04:19 PM
I think many of us have had to deal with the same things and it's always frustrating.

We ended up with very low manning in my last shop but, of course, our RWP (recurring work program, Bob) had to continue. We could get 100% completed, but only by working way too many hours. Now, the best way to get manning increased is to show that you can't complete all of your work with the number of people you have. In my mind, this means that we should do what we could during the work week, account for our hours, and show that we could only reach 75-80% completion (while, of course, working "extra" hours for urgent/emergency stuff). We were actually told, by our leadership, that this is what they wanted us to do. They understood that we needed more people and agreed that the only way to do it was to properly account for man-hours (if you aren't familiar with IWIMS, it's a program CE uses to account for hours/manning and doesn't allow you to track more than 8 hours per day per person).

This was all well and fine until it gets to the weekly schedulers meeting where the flight commander sees the stats on the slide. Even though he was the person telling us to properly track hours and do what we could, he would see red on the slide and start question why we weren't getting everything complete. There was no middle ground. He wanted both things at once. Justification for more manning while being able to show his boss we were getting everything done. It doesn't work like that.

I've found that a lot of "leadership" want to help the shops get the manning we need but are too worried about covering their own ass to actually do what it takes to make it happen.

imported_DannyJ
04-08-2013, 04:31 PM
I know exactly the type of situation you are talking about. I have actually seen it from 2 of the 3 avaliable perspectives. I have been the worker bee who worked in a section where the supervisor was working us to death trying to meet a suspense. I have also been the section supervisor who was told by management to meet a suspense at whatever cost. Both situations were the exact same situation just at a different location and I held a different perspective. Here is the backstory and I will tell you what I did and then give you some advice I was given by a Chief that I trusted.

As we all know in Finance the processing of travel vouchers was transferred to the Central Processing Center at Ellsworth. What a lot of people do not know about is the mess that was made in the build up to transformation. In approximately 2007 FM leadership sent out requets looking for the "best and the brightest" who wanted to go to Ellsworth and help stand up the Processing Center. They asked for these volunteers to PCS to Ellsworth even though the workload would not follow until a later date. I was at a base with a heavy travel voucher workload. When we gave up the original bodies for the processing ceneter we were told their workload would follow in approximately 6 months. In the travel section alone we had around 15 people and that number dropped to around 6. The other problem is we were not recieving any new manning as most new troops were also diverted to the processing center. This left us without about half of the people we previously had still accomlishing the same workload. At the time our commander decided that "our customer will not suffer because of this" so we still maintained the 7-10 Business day payment timeline. All teh commander cared about was that when slides went up to MAJCOm our base could show we paid 95% or better of our vouchers within 7-10 days. He could not care less how that happened. As an Amn at the time I became extreemly burned out. Most every day we weer eworking from 0700 until about 1900. They actually were sending dorm Amn home form both a lunch and dinner break because they did not want to pay missed meals or give BAS. It totally sucked and completely killed morale.

A few years later I put on SSgt and PCS'd to a different base. When the new base noticed my previous EPR and the amazing amount of tarvel vouchers I processed as an Amn I was a virtual lock to become NCOIC of Travel. I was actually excited for the opportunity because I wanted to make sure other Amn did not have to go through what I went through. I was pretty disappointed when management laid out the expectations. I explained those numbers were impossible with the manning I was given. I refused to burn my people and myself out just to meet impossible numbers.

At this point I turned to a Chief I trusted for advice. He explained that what I needed to do was give an honest effort to meet the expectations without being unreasonable. When the first month of metrics come in at that point you have to explain thse are the numbers that are possible. The only way to do any better is to take dangerous shortcuts or work people ridiculous hours. This is the point when you find out what type of leadership you have. You will either have a boss who is willingt o stand up and explain why your metrics are not at the goal or you will have to a boss who tells you to "suck it up and do whatever it takes" If you end up with the latter you in are in a no win situation. If you work 80 hours per week and meet the standard that becomes the new expectation. If you refuse to work that many hours you become the guy who is not 100% committed to the mission. At that point you understand you have two options either sell out your family for job or do your best and be ready to explain that what you are providing is all you are capable of. If someone else is capable of more maybe they should be in charge.

Great advice!

sandsjames
04-08-2013, 04:44 PM
I think many of us have had to deal with the same things and it's always frustrating.

We ended up with very low manning in my last shop but, of course, our RWP (recurring work program, Bob) had to continue. We could get 100% completed, but only by working way too many hours. Now, the best way to get manning increased is to show that you can't complete all of your work with the number of people you have. In my mind, this means that we should do what we could during the work week, account for our hours, and show that we could only reach 75-80% completion (while, of course, working "extra" hours for urgent/emergency stuff). We were actually told, by our leadership, that this is what they wanted us to do. They understood that we needed more people and agreed that the only way to do it was to properly account for man-hours (if you aren't familiar with IWIMS, it's a program CE uses to account for hours/manning and doesn't allow you to track more than 8 hours per day per person).

This was all well and fine until it gets to the weekly schedulers meeting where the flight commander sees the stats on the slide. Even though he was the person telling us to properly track hours and do what we could, he would see red on the slide and start question why we weren't getting everything complete. There was no middle ground. He wanted both things at once. Justification for more manning while being able to show his boss we were getting everything done. It doesn't work like that.

I've found that a lot of "leadership" want to help the shops get the manning we need but are too worried about covering their own ass to actually do what it takes to make it happen.

SomeRandomGuy
04-08-2013, 05:03 PM
I think many of us have had to deal with the same things and it's always frustrating.

We ended up with very low manning in my last shop but, of course, our RWP (recurring work program, Bob) had to continue. We could get 100% completed, but only by working way too many hours. Now, the best way to get manning increased is to show that you can't complete all of your work with the number of people you have. In my mind, this means that we should do what we could during the work week, account for our hours, and show that we could only reach 75-80% completion (while, of course, working "extra" hours for urgent/emergency stuff). We were actually told, by our leadership, that this is what they wanted us to do. They understood that we needed more people and agreed that the only way to do it was to properly account for man-hours (if you aren't familiar with IWIMS, it's a program CE uses to account for hours/manning and doesn't allow you to track more than 8 hours per day per person).

This was all well and fine until it gets to the weekly schedulers meeting where the flight commander sees the stats on the slide. Even though he was the person telling us to properly track hours and do what we could, he would see red on the slide and start question why we weren't getting everything complete. There was no middle ground. He wanted both things at once. Justification for more manning while being able to show his boss we were getting everything done. It doesn't work like that.

I've found that a lot of "leadership" want to help the shops get the manning we need but are too worried about covering their own ass to actually do what it takes to make it happen.

Sometimes you do find leadership who understand it though. The Chief I went to for advice in my example stated this, "I fully believe you can accomplish this metric with the manning you have, the problem is what things have you sacrificed that are not being measured". That Chief really understood how things work and he was willing to go to bat for his people. He knew that it is possible to pay 100% of travel vouchers in 7-10 business days. The only problem is that no one will have any ancillary training completed and it will be absolute hell to prepare for any future inspection.

If you focus too hard on any one metric something else has to be sacrificed to meet it. In the first office I mentioned in my example paying vouchers was absolutely no problem. In fact we often paid the same voucher two or three times. People were rushing through vouchers so fast they were ignoring small details. In the end it actually caused more work but no one listened when we tried to say that slowing down was the way to improve accuracy. The reason is because there is no measurement of accuracy being reported (for travel). They only measure timeliness.

I always used to say I can do three kinds of work good, cheap, and fast. You can pick any two. If you want good and fast it will not be cheap. If you want good and cheap it will not be fast. If you want cheap and fast it will not be good. It always seemed like leadership wanted cheap and fast and the quality of worked provided was never good. They got what they asked for though.

WeaponsTSGT
04-08-2013, 05:43 PM
Sometimes you do find leadership who understand it though. The Chief I went to for advice in my example stated this, "I fully believe you can accomplish this metric with the manning you have, the problem is what things have you sacrificed that are not being measured". That Chief really understood how things work and he was willing to go to bat for his people. He knew that it is possible to pay 100% of travel vouchers in 7-10 business days. The only problem is that no one will have any ancillary training completed and it will be absolute hell to prepare for any future inspection.

If you focus too hard on any one metric something else has to be sacrificed to meet it. In the first office I mentioned in my example paying vouchers was absolutely no problem. In fact we often paid the same voucher two or three times. People were rushing through vouchers so fast they were ignoring small details. In the end it actually caused more work but no one listened when we tried to say that slowing down was the way to improve accuracy. The reason is because there is no measurement of accuracy being reported (for travel). They only measure timeliness.

I always used to say I can do three kinds of work good, cheap, and fast. You can pick any two. If you want good and fast it will not be cheap. If you want good and cheap it will not be fast. If you want cheap and fast it will not be good. It always seemed like leadership wanted cheap and fast and the quality of worked provided was never good. They got what they asked for though.

I hate to be a Debby Downer when it comes to the AF because I am third generation AF and my family has been in since it's inception without a break. I talked at length about this in another thread and will not go to the same length here. The guys that are posting are the ones the AF will lose at MSgt, which is a shame. If your career field promotes 20 to SMSgt a year, likely only one of those that got promoted is a true leader, the rest got tired of the bullshit and backstabbing and bailed at 20 years. Somebody please tell me how I'm wrong with so many others on board as to what it takes to make SMSgt and CMSgt? You will be forced to screw those below you on a regular basis if you plan to be one of the fast burners. We can not continue to do more with less, it can not last, we will not be able to keep people in when we force them to regularly work 60+ hours a week, and then fail to give them the resources to accomplish whatever the mission might be. On top of it we'll then base promotion on if you're a "team player" and are willing to ignore two of the three core values that were drilled into your head for the past 15 years, because if everyone adhered to the core values we wouldn't be so dysfunctional as a service right now.

SomeRandomGuy
04-08-2013, 06:05 PM
I hate to be a Debby Downer when it comes to the AF because I am third generation AF and my family has been in since it's inception without a break. I talked at length about this in another thread and will not go to the same length here. The guys that are posting are the ones the AF will lose at MSgt, which is a shame. If your career field promotes 20 to SMSgt a year, likely only one of those that got promoted is a true leader, the rest got tired of the bullshit and backstabbing and bailed at 20 years. Somebody please tell me how I'm wrong with so many others on board as to what it takes to make SMSgt and CMSgt? You will be forced to screw those below you on a regular basis if you plan to be one of the fast burners. We can not continue to do more with less, it can not last, we will not be able to keep people in when we force them to regularly work 60+ hours a week, and then fail to give them the resources to accomplish whatever the mission might be. On top of it we'll then base promotion on if you're a "team player" and are willing to ignore two of the three core values that were drilled into your head for the past 15 years, because if everyone adhered to the core values we wouldn't be so dysfunctional as a service right now.

Think about what you just posted. It actually makes perfect sense. Your post can be summarized in 3 points (I apoligize if I miss the key message but this is what I got):

1. Only 3% percent of people can be promoted to E8 or above
2. In order to get promoted to this level you have to completely sell out
3. The AF wants people who completely sell out even at the risk of their personal well being, selling out their peers, and selling out their family.

Ok, now with the three things above in mind imagine you run an organization. You are in charge of choosing 3% of your people to be in charge. What type of person do you want? Would you rather have someone who is willing to put in 80 hours per week or do you want the 40 hour guy? Would you rather have the guy who will literally do "whatever it takes" or do you want the guy who will do "as much as he feels is enough". In my posts above I already stated I am in the second group. I also never had any interest in being promoted to SMSgt or even to do 20 years. I separated from the AF and I am pretty sure they are ok with that. I was never a problem for any unit I was in and I always helped accomplish the mission. What I just said describes about 95% of the AF. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Not everyone can be in the top 3%. Why not reward those people who are willing to far exceed what anyone else would just to make it there? The AF has to get out of the mindset where you are a failure if you simply care about doing your job and nothing more.


With this post I am not accusing you of complaining about Kool-aid drinkers or people who take getting promoted way too far. I am just simply making the point that those people do deserve the promotions. No matter how high you set the expectations or what ridiculous box-checking you require they will do it. Is that not the kind of person you want leading a military unit? I once met a girl who no joke had almost 400 hours of volunteer work for her Below-the-zone package. She is the kind of person who actually did these things too. She was volunteering literally every weekend. When she made BTZ I said, "congratulations the extra pay you get for these next six months should make up for all those extra hours you worked for free. The rest of us are ok with getting promoted at the normal time enjoying our free time on the weekends."

CrustySMSgt
04-09-2013, 04:50 AM
SRG is a pretty smart dude! If we were promoting SMSgts on the board, he'd have my vote!

No doubt anyone that's been around for over a decade grew up in the "do more with less" era... but I think we've finally cut so much that leadership is finally getting on board with "doing less with less." Granted not all commanders and SNCOs have had that clue light come on; we all know how slow change moves, but I do hear it more and more often. I can think of a dozen examples of things I've always done in the past, in the name of sucking it up in the name of the mission that we've stopped doing. One example of that would be deploying people out of cycle. As a MAJCOM functional, we've always done what needed to be done to fill taskings. But in discussions amongst my peers, we all agreed as long as we keep doing this, we're just masking the problem, that we don't have enough people to fill the taskings we're being given. We started pushing back, supporting reclamas and used that as leverage to turn off some taskings. Some commanders got pissed... but when you stick to your guns, follow procedures, and can show how you arrived at your decision, most come around. Those that don't haven't gotten on the bandwagon yet and just want to keep whipping the horse, expecting it to keep on running, despite it being soaked in sweat and foaming at the mouth. They just don't get that if you keep on whipping, you're gonna get a little more out of it, and then it is going to keep over and you've got nothing.

Monkey
04-09-2013, 06:32 AM
Ok, now with the three things above in mind imagine you run an organization. You are in charge of choosing 3% of your people to be in charge. What type of person do you want? Would you rather have someone who is willing to put in 80 hours per week or do you want the 40 hour guy?

I would want the guy who is the most effective leader. The number of hours spent at work is irrelevant. Actually the guy who spends 80 hours a week at work is probably very ineffective.


Would you rather have the guy who will literally do "whatever it takes" or do you want the guy who will do "as much as he feels is enough"?

I would rather the guy who does the right thing. Anybody who is willing to do "whatever it takes" is likely to get you in trouble over time.


I also never had any interest in being promoted to SMSgt.

That is a good trait to have. Those who consider promotion as a primary ambition tend to be more concerned with their own success and not the success of the organization/mission.


Why not reward those people who are willing to far exceed what anyone else would just to make it there?

Because we should be promoting those who are able to assume the role, not the paper tigers.


With this post I am not accusing you of complaining about Kool-aid drinkers or people who take getting promoted way too far. I am just simply making the point that those people do deserve the promotions. No matter how high you set the expectations or what ridiculous box-checking you require they will do it. Is that not the kind of person you want leading a military unit? I once met a girl who no joke had almost 400 hours of volunteer work for her Below-the-zone package. She is the kind of person who actually did these things too. She was volunteering literally every weekend. When she made BTZ I said, "congratulations the extra pay you get for these next six months should make up for all those extra hours you worked for free. The rest of us are ok with getting promoted at the normal time enjoying our free time on the weekends."

I will concede that there are plenty of people who get promoted by "playing the game" who are also very worthy and deserving (from my perspective it's about 50/50). And I will concede that if you do not "play the game" it is very difficult to stand out in the crowd when all the board can see is your records. Finally I will concede that "playing the game" is far from difficult so when people whine about it, they are just showing that they are probably lazy and petty.

I will not concede that the system is fair/just--but what in life is? You'll be hard-pressed to find any organization as big as the AF whose top 3% is promoted fairly. At least we all have a shot and don't have to be related to the boss.

VFFTSGT
04-09-2013, 04:49 PM
When is enough actually enough?

Never.

And when your shop is below 50% manning and they expect the same workload...but preach do less with less with the other hand.