I received an email from someone who is dealing with an adverse comment on their evaluation. Up to this point, this sailor has been exceptional but a recent change in this sailor's life style has caused this individual to gain some weight that caused a negative effect on the PRT score. As I reflect on this individuals situation, it brought to my mind the relationship I had with the Navy and I bet other have the same emotional relationship.
I was actually "in love" with the Navy. From Boot Camp on, I found an organization that I could live with, follow, and contribute too. I fell in love with the equal opportunity. I was a lower middle class person. An illegitimate child, who was shunned by mot of my peers in my teenage years. But, the Navy made me an equal with everyone else. Rich, poor, raised by parents, garland parents, or in an orphanage, we were all the same; DIRT! I liked that and it gave me an environment that I could excel in. So, much like a woman that treated you well, laughed at your jokes, and was warm and loving to you, no matter what your short comings were, I was in love! And, it appeared that the Navy loved me! The men I worked for appreciated the fact that I would work as hard as I could. That I followed orders, tried to do my best, was truthful, honest, and loyal. Yes, we had a great marriage!
You may not have looked at the Navy in the same light, but I challenge you to take a second look and I think you will agree with me. But, this individual I was talking about, who has been slapped hard, by his love, is dealing with some negative emotions. Think about it. The one you love has hit you with some tough truths. You did not measure up! You screwed up! The question is, what do YOU do next? Some of us would say; "If that's the way you feel, I want a divorce!" If you read my earliest posts, that is exactly what I did. I was not mature enough to handle rejection, correction, or even a "Time Out" request. I wanted everything my lover promised me, right now! So, when I was not selected for the Atlantic Fleet Master Chief's job, I asked for a divorce!! That was a bad decision on my part and I have regretted it for 24 years! The only positive thing that came from my immature temper tantrum is that I have learned from my sin and have not repeated it. And now, I offer my experience to all of you.
If you are a superior sailor, one correction, one slap, one misstep will NOT end you career! It may slow it down somewhat. But, that may be good. Some of our perceived mistakes are not mistakes at all but mid-course corrections. For instance, if you decided to quit smoking and that leads to a temporary gain in weight, deal with the gain in weight in the same way you dealt with quitting smoking! Tackle it face on. So what if you had one PRT failure, it does not mean yo are a bad sailor or that all the good you did is erased. The Navy does not work that way. If you get back in shape, and your next PRT is good, all will be forgotten! Yes, you may be set back on promotion but that is better than getting a divorce from the love of your live!!
I hope you understand how heart felt this post is. I don't want YOU to make the same mistakes that I did. Learn from lessons your lover gives you. Don't recoil at correction, but rejoice in it. Look at those times of instruction as gifts that will make you stronger, better, more able to lead! And finally, from my experiences and heart; Never leave the Navy until you have accomplished everything you set out to do, or have exhausted every possible course to accomplish those goals! Nobody said it would be easy! But, it is rewarding.