Hello Shipmate (and I mean that sincerely...not as a derogatory remark),

I heard today that you got your evaluation debrief and that you weren't happy with it. In fact, I have been told that you got visibly and audibly upset during your debrief. You should be angry! I took a look at your eval and I'd be angry too!

So where do we go from here? Let me show you the next few steps you can take.

First, understand a few points:

1.  Your divo isn't going to change your eval. Division Officers have very little power over such things. It doesn't mean your divo is weak...it's how the system was built and the system works. He or she may like you a lot, but they only have so much control. Further, they have to toe the line, so to speak. You divo cannot pretend to agree with you.

2. To build on the first, your divo may be just as angry about your eval for the exact same reasons you are. He may know full well that you didn't deserve such a bad (or "average") eval. Again, he can only send up what he thinks is right (and really this is a "Chief" thing anyway). What the entire chain of command does with it is a different issue.

Stop complaining like a little wimp. It's unbecoming a man and woman. Feel free to complain to your best friend or your spouse or significant other, but not to your chain of command during your debrief. I realize it's probably too late to stop you now, but in the future, knock it off. I know that's some tough love there, but you deserve to know the truth.

Do you think your divo and chief hate you? Then fix it! You! Yes, you! As someone who has received more than one bad or average eval in my 20 years of service, I can confidently say that I "fixed" it. You know how I did that? I decided that mediocrity wasn't good enough for me. So I went to my senior chief and I said, "Senior, I don't want to be like this anymore. Tell me what to do to get to your rank."

He did.

Here's where we get to the meat of things: Create a plan for the next year!

1.  Change your attitude. If you think the CoC is out to get you, then it will be. If you think you can go home at the end of the day and play video games until 0200 and then come back and do nothing all day, then you will never succeed. Your attitude is the single greatest resource you have. Use it!

2.  Get a mentor. Don't just get one for the sake of having one for the Navy's mentorship program. I mean get a mentor. Find someone who has what you want and ask them how to get it. I'll tell you in the next point what that looked like for me. It's so vital for your career that I can guarantee you will continue to fail without one.

3.  What watches are you standing? I bet you're standing the wrong one. If there is a qualification you need to get, and you put it off, then you should have been expecting the eval you got. I was like that too once. Can you believe that I was a ten year AEGIS Firecontrolman who didn't have CSOOW? Crazy, right? And I couldn't believe my CoC had the gall to give me an average eval! Think about your qualifications. If you're standing a watch that we give to thirds and you're a second or (God forbid) a first, you're doing it wrong. Start doing it right. Beg your Chief to get you a different watch. Work on one in your off duty time. Whatever it takes...do it!

4.  What education do you have? The Navy has made it stupid easy to work on your education in recent years. I took PACE classes during my first tour in the Navy, got my BS in Management on shore duty, and my MA on my second shore duty. No one was going to tell me I didn't have enough education. You can take a PACE course or CLEP a class in the next year. In fact, you should do several.

5.  Measure your success. In six months, demand a midterm from your Chief and Divo. It's a requirement that they do this for you, by the way, so make sure they do. Bring real strengths and weaknesses to the discussion, and show them the changes you've made to yourself and your career path. Help them understand what your plan is and how you're implementing it. Give them the fodder they need to give you the eval you want!

Ok, that's enough for now. I could write for days, but I need to close this. You're a good Sailor. Now do the right things that will help your divo and Chief prove it to the Chain of Command.


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