I’ve been very fortunate to have some great jobs during my Active Duty and Army National Guard Career.
I had other jobs that I enjoyed, but didn’t love.
But, the worst job I ever had in the Army was as the G4 Plans Officer.
I disliked the job for a variety of reasons.
What I disliked the most was the negative “work atmosphere” and that I spent most of my time reading OPORDs, interpreting information, and conducting MDMP in a small, outdated building.
I just hated life!
I didn’t like that I had to spend all of my time doing paperwork, in isolation, and not being able to closely interact with the troops.
Naturally, I am a doer and a leader, so I dislike jobs where I sit behind a desk doing staff work.
I’m happiest when I am the tip of the spear, working closely with the troops, and staying busy.
Maybe some of you can relate to that, maybe not.
I spent about 7-8 months in the G4 Plans Officer job and can truly tell you that I survived day-by-day, sometimes minute-by-minute.
I still gave it my best and did a good job, but I hated every minute of it.
Fortunately, my Senior Rater and Rater saw how miserable I was and moved me to a new job that better matched my strengths and skill-set.
During all my time in Army (15+ years), this is still the worst job I ever had.
However, I did learn a lot from that experience, and I’d like to share some of those lessons below.
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Lesson # 1: Enjoy the troop time.
Without a doubt, your troop time will be your fondest memories in the military (hopefully).
Your time at the small unit level is very fulfilling and challenging.
In fact, just about every senior officer I know cherishes their troop time more than any other assignment.
Lesson # 2: You can learn a lot from jobs you hate.
During my time as the G4 Plans Officer, I did learn a lot of stuff about leadership, staff work and the big picture Army.
More importantly, I learned that people naturally do better in jobs that they enjoy.
And someone who is a good leader might suck at staff work.
And someone who is good at staff work might suck as a leader.
Regardless of what job you get, make a conscious effort to learn something from it.
Lesson # 3: You won’t be in your current job forever.
Fortunately, the Army moves us officers around a lot, typically every nine to eighteen months.
The NCOs stay in a job longer than officers do (typically).
Even if you have a job you dislike, try to stay positive and remember that you won’t have that job forever.
Lesson # 4: Tell your boss how you feel.
Some people will disagree with me on this one, and that’s okay.
If you truly hate your job, I believe you should talk to your boss about it.
Personally, I would have a lot of respect if one of my subordinates pulled me aside to tell me he didn’t think he was the right fit for his job.
Your key to success is your approach.
You want to be positive, let your boss know that you care about your organization, and let her know which job you think would be a better fit for you and why.
Obviously, this could have negative effects on you (if your boss decides to fire you), but that could happen anyway.
Personally, I’d be willing to take that chance myself, if I hated my job.
Lesson # 5: You won’t know what a great job is, if you’ve never had a bad job.
If you’ve had a job that you HATE, it can truly help you appreciate a good (or okay) job you enjoy, even more.
When you have a good job, working with good folks, make sure you cherish the memories.
Never take it for granted.
If you plan on making a career out of the military, you’ll probably have somewhere between eight and fifteen jobs during your career.
Some of those jobs will be incredible, some will be okay, and one or two will probably be horrible.
It’s your job to learn from each experience and always do your best.
What about you?
What was the worst military job you ever had and why?
Leave a comment below to tell me your story.
What made the job so horrible?
I look forward to hearing from you.