Afghanistan-A-Go-Go

A Reservist's Tale Of A Tour

On The Bus, Off The Bus…

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One of the common maxims in the Army is “on the bus, off the bus” – a reference to the sensation on gets of being constantly in some sort of holding pattern during periods of indecisiveness. For an organization that prides itself on a rigid command structure and associated efficiency, it seems like this happens a lot – or at least, we joke like it does.

That’s the sensation I have now. What’s happened isn’t totally simple to explain, but I’ll see how I can put it, at least what I understand. When my orderly room got the call that I could take a position on Op ATTENTION Roto 1, no one apparently told the Commanding Officer of my Regiment, who was on leave. I think that’s because they assumed that if a position came up, and my name was on the “standby list” of sorts, then all was well. But, that’s not quite the case it seems.

So, here’s how it works: when the Canadian Forces gets assigned a job, they build a structure for who and what is going, it’s called a TO&E (don’t ask, I don’t know what it means, just what it is – I think it’s Table of Organizations and Equipment), including all of the positions. From this, they can then create positions in something called the CFTPO, which is sort of a master list of positions. That’s how everything gets planned and accounted for – who (which organization) owns who and what. Once that’s done, the positions get sent to mounting units and every job position has to be filled. Each CFTPO position has a job title, a rank level, and a description of positions. Most of the positions I’d expect to have been considered for are ranked as Lieutenant/Captain – meaning that they can be filled with an officer of either rank. The position I’m filling is called a “Hard” Captain position – meaning that without a special waiver, only a Captain can fill the position. I’m presently a Lieutenant, but I’m eligible to be promoted to Captain now, and the process to do so has apparently been started already.

The implication of the difference is fairly simple to grasp – a hard Captain position would probably be expected to go to a more experienced person who’s been in the rank longer, suggesting that it is a more difficult position, one with higher responsibility level. When my OC and I were talking about the position, he seemed a little concerned by this, and I highlighted to him that I have a great network of mentors and resources willing to help me if I needed it, and that I have a lot of civilian career experience with which they aren’t really conversant. In short, I’m not really that worried about the challenge.

Then the CO came back from leave, and learned I had a position, because he hadn’t been informed, and during conversation the “hard Captain” issue came up. The concern that emerged, and it’s not unreasonable, is that I might be getting set up for failure. Not only would that look bad on me, but it’d look bad on the the entire unit, so he wasn’t exactly comfortable with the idea unless they could get more information, like the more formal job description. This, of course, is based upon a job title alone, which could have a variety of meanings, but now there are people busily trying to figure out what the job is, and what the incumbent, the person in the position on Roto 0, is doing. Until that comes in, or one of those “Lt-Capt” positions opens up, it turns out that I’m “off the bus”.

And of course, this happened after I told work, my family, my friends… It’s frustrating, but I understand. I just wish no one had told me about the position until it was all approved. But no one was trying to do me wrong, it’s just how it worked out.

Written by Nick

September 8, 2011 at 12:43 am

Posted in The Beginning

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