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Lost in the Bureaucracy: Need Some Help Understanding What Is Happening To Me

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Atrovenator

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So let me give you a bit of background:

I applied at a CFRC a few years ago.  I went in for 'one day processing' with a number of other candidates.  I applied initially as an Armoured Soldier, with the Regular Forces, my end goal being employment with the RCD or the Strathconas.  I sat for my interview, wrote the CFAT and did my medical.  I passed the Medical, and in the interview was told that my CFAT scores were very high, the recruiter told me that I should consider strongly applying as an officer. 

I did at every stage possible disclose that I had a youth criminal record (I applied when I was 20 and am now almost 23).  I was charged when I was 17 with breaking and entering, stealing the possessions of a friend.  The charge of theft was dropped but I was found guilty of break and enter, sentenced to community service and probation.  I completed that requirement and extracted myself from the justice system (with which I have had no further contact).  My processing was put on hold while I submitted to the fingerprinting process (that file went away for six-eight months and eventually came back.  During this time I provided a number of references which I would assume were called to assess my reliability status.  I was employed for a period of a year prior to applying, but shortly after my application, approached my employer regarding a pay raise from minimum wage.  He refused and I left my employment which put him in a bad position, losing one of his few competent staff members.  This job was in a Gas Station.  I promptly entered a retail job where I worked for a number of months until a corporate takeover made my position redundant.  I contacted the Military explaining at the desk in the CFRC that I wished to remove the employer from my list of references, because I did not feel he would accurately represent my character.  I was told that it wasn't a big issue and that the other references would provide the necessary background. 

After a full year had passed, I was invited to return to the recruiting center to discuss my file.  I sat down with a senior officer at the detachment who informed me that due to discoveries made by the DND during my security and reliability screening, they were unable to grant me reliability status and informed me that I could reapply after a year.  I was told also that if I returned with a positive employer reference they would be willing to consider continuing my processing.  At that time I was employed in the community as a construction worker, and I continued in that trade until the economic collapse of this January necessitated a change of employment for myself.  The day before being laid off for lack of work from my construction job, I made contact with the recruitment center and told them I'd be bringing an employer reference in later that week, if it was possible.  I was denied a reference by my employer in lieu of the layoff and was presented only with a standard business reference letter.  I made the decision at that point to return to school (university, for which I am academically qualified), applied and was accepted to my school of choice.  This necessitated moving to another city, where I have obtained employment as a charitable fundraiser. 

Given that I am pursuing a B of A and have made the study of strategic, operational and tactical doctrines a personal passion of mine, I decided this time around that I would like to reapply (the year wait period having expired) as an armoured officer with a reserve unit.  I identified a reserve unit that I wanted to join, the QRYRANG and went to the recruiting center.  I spoke to a brigade recruiter there, who told me to apply at the armory.  During this exchange, rather than being individually spoken to about my intentions, I participated in an informal group information session.  I explained at that point that my only requirement had been to return with a positive employer reference, and that I was in a position to do so.  The SGT made an odd face when I mentioned this, but did not note this particular down.  I was handed a new application package, instructed to fill it out and turn it in at the armoury for the unit I was applying to. 

At the armoury, I was told that the unit was hiring but that I would be unable to apply until September as their recruiter was away for the summer.  The Cpl. I spoke to at the armoury, regarding the QRYRANG reviewed my application and then when I told him I had an existing file, told me that I didn't need a new application, just the reference page (as initially requested) and sent me back to the recruitment center.  I did further research and determined that I would like to apply with the GGHG due to the wait time on the first choice unit.  I contacted the recruitment center who set up an officer candidate interview for me (preliminary) with a Lieutenant and told me that as soon as my file was transferred from the recruitment center I initially applied at, I would be booked for PT and given an opportunity to sit for a review board with the GGHG. 

Then a period of weeks passed until I contacted the recruitment center again inquiring as to whether my file had been transferred.  The interview was short (maybe 5 minutes) in which time I was asked whether I knew the difference between NCM and Officer Positions and whether I would still like to continue applying as an officer.  When asked why I wanted to be an officer, part of my explanation was that the individual who had done my initial interview had recommended to me that I pursue a position as an officer based on my test scores.  The interview concluded rapidly and I heard nothing more for weeks. 

Today, I received a call from the Lieutenant informing me that due to inconsistencies in my application, my file was being closed for a period of one year and my scheduled PT was being canceled.  I inquired as to whether there were any persons with whom I could sit down and discuss the particulars of my file, such a decision being eminently confusing.  To the best of my knowledge, at no point did I attempt to misrepresent any facts about myself or my intentions.  He said there was no room for further discussion about the issue.

He explained that my reliability status was compromised during this application process by an apparent failure to disclose that I had not been granted reliability status the first time around (a factor I would have assumed would be prominent in the file as it was viewed by the recruitment center) and which I did mention when first reapplying to the Sgt. running the information session and to the Cpl. at the armoury which I visited.

It was further explained that I said in the interview that the individual who had conducted my initial recruitment interview had recommended me personally as an officer.  As this was definitely untrue, it was considered that I failed to uphold the values of the Canadian Forces and was therefore unreliable.  Having someone recommend something to you and recommend you -for- something is a minor semantic difference but a huge difference in practical meaning.  The initial interviewer recommended that I consider it as a career path, but did not personally offer to recommend me for the position.  I concluded the phone call with the Lieutenant after being given a date (in 2010 that I could reapply) and said "I'll see you on x date in 2010, then."

So I'm confused.  How can it be so difficult to apply for something which should be so simple?  I am really not in any way shape or form attempting to misrepresent any part of myself or my intentions.  I have been totally willing now, twice, to engage in the recruitment process and have always striven to answer any questions posed to myself at any stage of the recruitment process as honestly and effectively as I can. 

I understand that the military's fundamental structure (especially as pertains to personnel management) is bureaucratic, but I'm starting to feel as though I'm lost in a bureaucracy which is shunting me around to different individuals, who are all asking different questions which do not seem relevant to the concerns the Canadian Forces seem to have about me.  I am unclear entirely as to what the particular black mark on my file is, whether it is my criminal record status, previous employment reference (for which I am more than capable of providing replacements) or maybe even something as simple as my drug-use disclosure, (I abused numerous substances experimentally in my early youth but haven't touched an intoxicating substance other than alcohol since three months before I began the recruitment process.)  I even quit smoking.

So I guess this is my question?  Is there anything I can do to bring my file back under my control?  I would like nothing more than to provide honest answers to the concerns that the Canadian Forces has about my character and background, in order that I might assure them of my intent to operate as a cohesive, reliable and dedicated member of the military family.  This is not an idle fantasy, it's my full intention to serve actively as either an officer or non commissioned member, but I have been refused for both positions, with no consideration or inquiry into any activity or personal development has occurred between the periods of contact with the CFRC Detachments.  If someone could try and offer me some concrete advice on how to improve myself, since apparently acquiring tradeskills, attending university, moving out on my own, exercising daily and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity through my current employment is not sufficient to establish that I'm a different person now than I was when I was 17, or when I was working in a gas station.

I don't want to be left with my only impression of the recruitment process as a Kafkaesque nightmare that has consumed years worth of committed energy.  I intend fully to reapply in another year.  I would like to be at least considered for an opportunity to serve my country in any capacity that I may.  My grandfather served in the navy during Korea and enlisting is something I am sure, that would make him proud.  I'd just like to do it before he passes.  I can't figure out whether it's a fundamental problem with my own psychology, whether latent mental health issues have been identified without my knowing, or whether my political attitudes from my teenage years resulted in my being blacklisted by a governmental agency.  It is just upsetting knowing that even when I am deemed to be 'reliable' I may be failed on any one of the other things I will have to retake/redo (such as my medical, PT, CFAT and interview).  I cannot understand why I'm not being offered the opportunity to reapply as I am now rather than continuing what I'd consider a botched application process clouded by special circumstances and long, boring paperwork.

If anybody has any advice to offer, I'd appreciate the assistance.  Is this a common occurrence?  Does my very pointed failure two years in a row mean that the CF has blacklisted me and I should stop deluding myself about the potential of ever actively serving in my nation's military?  I'm not sure whether the bureaucratic 'runaround' is intentional or incidental.  If you know something about this part of the recruitment process, or quite frankly, the lack thereof, I'd appreciate any available input.  I've avoided mentioning names as much as possible in this document because I don't want to imply or direct a personal slight against any currently serving forces personnel.  I simply want some input on what could be causing these issues, as obviously these individuals are following a written policy on recruitment, but are at the same time unable to give me the particulars of my lack of reliability.  I want to be considered reliable.  I want to serve and make the military my life and career.  I want to push myself to my limitations and be the best that I can possibly be.

Thank you for reading,
Atro
 
A

Atrovenator

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I honestly have no idea who that is, but I'm going to guess by the single-line response that he's an unpopular previous visitor to these forums with a similar issue? :(

Wait, this guy?  http://www.paradigmresearchgroup.org/X-Conference2008/jones_supplement.htm

EDIT: Oh.  I found a residual post from cmdr-cb and resent the implication.  I don't have a god complex, nor do I believe there's a top-secret conspiracy against me, nor am I an obsessed gamer.  I do play a tactical-realism modification of a traditional game engine, but that's more a complement to my military passions than it is their source.  I kind of resent the implication that I'm in any way associated with somebody obviously so asinine. 

I'm just confused and hurt that something that everybody made out to be so promising would come back and bite me in such an unexpected an uncontrollable way.  As to my CFAT scores my recruiter told me that I 'scored high on the test but that she couldn't give me my exact result.'  Obviously it was a pass.  The recruiter also made an effort to sell me on considering RMC/Being an Officer in the CF rather than an NCM.  That's the extent of it.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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chrome1967, a fair and well articulated question was asked.
Suck back and reload.

Atrovenator, we have many here who work at CFRC's and may be able to answer your question,.............just be prepared for the worst.
 

mariomike

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Atrovenator said:
Thank you for reading,
Atro

Thank you for posting, Atro. Good luck, and I hope you get in the Armour Corps. That's one of the most concise reports I have ever read.

 

chrome1967

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I apologize. My comparison was a little harsh. I'm just not a big fan of the conspiracy theories. Things happen for a reason
 

Rowshambow

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Anyone remember the days when some people had the choice jail or military, I had a good SSM's that had that choice! Ahh how the times change! Good luck with your problems and hope it works out for you.
 

Loachman

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chrome1967 said:
I apologize. My comparison was a little harsh. I'm just not a big fan of the conspiracy theories. Things happen for a reason

Or, occasionally, a series of simple misunderstandings and mistakes and blunders simply results in a mess.
 

gcclarke

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Quite frankly, I think the main problem you seem to be experiencing so far is bouncing around with what you are applying for, and who you are applying to. I realize that you clearly needed to make some choices based upon economic realities, but the answer to your question of "Is there anything I can do to bring my file back under my control?" is very likely to be wait until the X date in 2010 that the Lt mentioned to you. Jumping to an entirely new person in an entirely new organization is most likely to cause the same problems you've been experiencing to date, possibly further delaying your eventual enrollment in the Canadian Armed Forces.
 
A

Atrovenator

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gcclarke said:
Quite frankly, I think the main problem you seem to be experiencing so far is bouncing around with what you are applying for, and who you are applying to.

So applying as an NCM while working in a gas station and then as an Officer while going to university is inconsistent?  Seems relatively logical.  As to applying to different people, would it have been a better decision to pursue my file with the recruiter in the first place I applied even though it's a different Brigade?  The next time I go in I'm going to do so with a file full of positive self-sales articles and a well worded cover letter explaining the history of my applications and my future intentions.

gcclarke said:
I realize that you clearly needed to make some choices based upon economic realities, but the answer to your question of "Is there anything I can do to bring my file back under my control?" is very likely to be wait until the X date in 2010 that the Lt mentioned to you.

I am willing to wait it out, and have every intention of doing so.  I'm still reading Canadian defense publications (especially books, manuals and essays from the Canadian Forces College), running every day and am going to tailor my BA studies at university towards combat-arms, military and strategic studies (though the school I'm attending doesn't offer a formal course on any of these, I know they can be incorporated through things like Peace and Conflict, International Development and Political Science.)

gcclarke said:
Jumping to an entirely new person in an entirely new organization is most likely to cause the same problems you've been experiencing to date, possibly further delaying your eventual enrollment in the Canadian Armed Forces.

This had occurred to me too.  The last thing I want to do is try entering a system based on conformity and following due process by 'going over the heads' of people making the decisions, or complaining, or acting in a manner that is not respectful of the authorities with whom I have dealt.  I can voice my concern, as I've done here, wondering if there are any direct alternatives.  Is it possible to bypass the CFRC completely the next time I apply, dealing directly with unit recruiters or should I just return to the Lt. with a folder full of positive self-promotion in hand?
 

George Wallace

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Atrovenator said:
..........  Is it possible to bypass the CFRC completely the next time I apply, dealing directly with unit recruiters or should I just return to the Lt. with a folder full of positive self-promotion in hand?

No.  It is not possible to bypass the CFRC.  There is a set process for joining the Reserves, and it is strictly followed.  If you don't want to apply for employment in the CF Reserves by the prescribed steps laid out, you won't be accepted.  If you don't complete any of those steps you will not be accepted.

You can not go into a number of CFRCs and begin new applications on a whim.  You fill only one application and keep the CFRC informed as to any changes in your contact numbers and addresses.  You keep the CFRC informed as to any changes in your desires to join, and changes you have made in job selections.

No one in the Recruiting System, at any level, has the abilities to read your mind.  You have to keep them informed as to your intent.

As you want to join the Reserves, have you approached any Unit and received a Letter of Acceptance from them?  Without that you will not be processed any further at the CFRC.  Keep in mind that the CF is not another form of Welfare, and does not have endless numbers of positions to fill.  If the Unit you approached is full/has no more positions, then you will have to find another Unit that may have a vacant position. 

Somehow, I have the impression that your problem is a result of you, not the Recruiting System.  Perhaps you should take a closer examination of what you have done.
 
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Hi there, I can't help but feel sad for the position you are in!! My husband is in the process of joining the forces and he too is getting a bit of the run around within the beaucratic institution....however your situation seems to warrant some sort of review.....it seems like you got caught up in a whirlwind which has resulted in you having to serve a third waiting period...This might be a shot in the dark but have you considered meeting with your Member of Parliament and informing them of the situation?? Often a third party such as that can make some sort of contact and even have your entire file reviewed.Then if that happens and the decision is the same then you know you did everything you could but also what if a mistake was made and a reconsideration was offered?? Best of luck to you!! =)
 

Kat Stevens

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I was going to post a long reply about running to Members of Parliament every time someone meets some disappointment  in their lives, but I just don't have the energy.
 
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