My platform for Chief of Staff

Today: +1
Days Rated: 111
Average Day: 2.21

Worked out today. Mostly just hung around. At least I didn’t have to work. That’s the thing with the Army. Even though my job is pretty terrible, we get a lot of days off and a lot of easy days. Unfortunately on most of those easy days we still are at work for 10 hours thanks to the inefficient system by which Army life is run.
I plan to run for Chief of Staff of the Army when Gen. Schoomaker retires. My main platform will be the hourly wage for soldiers, which will result in new time efficiency. The most expendable thing in the army is the time of its rank and file members. They’ll have 100 guys outside digging holes, but only 5 shovels. The other 95 guys are still expected to stand around and watch until it’s their turn for a shovel.

Picture this. You’re the supervisor at a cardboard box factory, in charge of 100 drones. Cardboard comes in on a truck, they unload it, fold it into a box-shape and then load it into another truck. The employees are paid by the hour like everyone else in the world besides athletes. Monday you show up for work, but alas, the cardboard truck never shows up that morning. You call the cardboard plant, and they say the truck won’t be in until Tuesday. As a responsible supervisor you:

A. Tell the employees to punch out and go home. You can’t be paying people to do nothing.

B. Have everyone stand around all day, on the clock. Maybe they can sweep or something. Anytime you see someone doing nothing or goofing around, you punish them. Refuse to send anyone home until 6 PM, when the district manager, who’s at a meeting in the next town, can drive back, assemble everybody out in the parking lot around a podium and announce that tomorrow, like every other day, they will have to show up to work at 9 AM, wear their factory overalls and bring a lunch in a brown paper sack.

Obviously the correct answer is A, but the Army answer has always been B. That’s why my solution is to pay soldiers by the hour so they’ll stop wasting our time. Of course, every time I bring this up, people bring up the same tired arguments.

1. “They’ll go broke! We work so many hours.” Sure they’d go broke if they kept people standing around on the clock all day. This idea prevents that. And is it really that hard to divide our monthly wage by 30 days and 8 hours per day to come up with a roughly equivalent hourly wage.

2. “The Army’s different. What about guys in Iraq? They’re on duty 24/7.” That’s ok, it’s too hard to work out what hours everyone in the company is working in a combat zone, or if the base gets attacked at midnight have everyone punch in before grabbing their weapons. Pay everyone for a 16 hour day, 7 days a week. That provides a bonus just like the current combat pay you get every month.

3. “This sounds like so much work? Who’s going to take care of all this?” For most companies, it takes a clerk and a punch clock to work this out. There’s tons of rear echelon geeks floating around. One private to print the time clock out, fill out a form, circle any weirdness in red and turn it into a sergeant. Time per month: 12 hours. One sergeant to look it over. Time per month: 4 hours. One lieutenant to ensure that no-one was abusing the system. Time per month: 8 hours. There are already privates who spend more time than this per month picking up cigarette butts.

4. “What if some guys worked like 130 hours a week?” Well, again in regular companies, if you had situations like this, you’d have to explain yourself. “Sergeant Smith, why did your platoon work 130 hours last week?” “We were out in the field doing training” “Oh, that’s right.” If they are doing vital work, by all means, pay them for it. If they’re just standing around trying to milk the clock, then this is the worst type of fraud and should be crushed.

5. “What if they only have like 12 hours of work? Guys will starve.” Again, this is not true. They always will have to provide a minimum of money for food/housing like they do now. That’s separate in the military anyway. Plus, there’s always something to do in the Army. The trick is proper planning to get the most out of your time, not make the men stand around with brooms in their hands or pretending to read the Ranger Handbook because you feel guilty letting them go home early.

An added bonus is that there would be volunteers for those thankless jobs that no one wants to do, like cleaning tents on a Saturday, because people would want the extra money.

The idea is not some kind of trickery where soldiers would sit around and do nothing and get paid big bucks. It just amazes me that most every other job in the world can be run like this, but somehow it’s impossible in the Army.

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