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I have to work some weekends at my job and I recently joined the National Guard which meets 1 weekend month. I work for a department of 3 and my boss wants me to try to reschedule 5 conflicts a year. My boss hired a friend of mine to fill while I was away at basic training and they let him go before I returned. The National Guard tells me I have to have the those weekends off, period. What can I do?

Jake

lar12's picture

Jake, welcome to the National Guard!  And welcome to the never-ending pickle that we Citizen-Soldiers face.  I'm a senior ranking member of the National Guard and continue to face this issue, even after 15 years of service.

The key to getting what you want is directly tied to your relationship with BOTH your chain of command, your employer and your teammates.

1) The National Guard is correct in that you are required to be at drill.

2) Depending on your MOS, the training schedule, your relationship with your NG leadership, you may be able to "split-train" once or twice a year.  However, split-training is at the discretion of your chain of command.  There are some non-negotiables, like annual training.

Work with your civilian boss and your National Guard chain of command to prioritize what weekends are critical. 

Recommendation #1 - Is one of your teammates off work on the weekend that you are scheduled to work?  Work with your teammates to resolve the schedule conflicts and then present the solution to your boss.

Recommendation #2 - For weekends that are critical to your civilian boss, attempt to split-train.  For weekends that are critical to your unit, work with your civilian boss.

Your unit is more apt to grant exceptions to policy if you're a model soldier.  1) You max your PT test.  2) You are never late.  3) You always do more than is asked. 4) You make it easy for them to do their jobs.  5) You excel at your job. 6) SMILE.  The same set of guidelines goes for your employer.  You should be the poster-child employee.  You work harder than your peers, you help out others and you seek out ways to contribute to the team.  You want to position yourself so that your employer takes pride in supporting the military and does not see it as a necessary evil.  If it becomes a necessary evil, they will find a way for you to leave.

There are options available to you if your employer "punishes" you.  You need to determine those options and learn how and when to use them.  In my career, I've ALWAYS been able to work out a reasonable solution.

lar12's picture

Jake, welcome to the National Guard!  And welcome to the never-ending pickle that we Citizen-Soldiers face.  I'm a senior ranking member of the National Guard and continue to face this issue, even after 15 years of service.

The key to getting what you want is directly tied to your relationship with BOTH your chain of command, your employer and your teammates.

1) The National Guard is correct in that you are required to be at drill.

2) Depending on your MOS, the training schedule, your relationship with your NG leadership, you may be able to "split-train" once or twice a year.  However, split-training is at the discretion of your chain of command.  There are some non-negotiables, like annual training.

Work with your civilian boss and your National Guard chain of command to prioritize what weekends are critical. 

Recommendation #1 - Is one of your teammates off work on the weekend that you are scheduled to work?  Work with your teammates to resolve the schedule conflicts and then present the solution to your boss.

Recommendation #2 - For weekends that are critical to your civilian boss, attempt to split-train.  For weekends that are critical to your unit, work with your civilian boss.

Your unit is more apt to grant exceptions to policy if you're a model soldier.  1) You max your PT test.  2) You are never late.  3) You always do more than is asked. 4) You make it easy for them to do their jobs.  5) You excel at your job. 6) SMILE.  The same set of guidelines goes for your employer.  You should be the poster-child employee.  You work harder than your peers, you help out others and you seek out ways to contribute to the team.  You want to position yourself so that your employer takes pride in supporting the military and does not see it as a necessary evil.  If it becomes a necessary evil, they will find a way for you to leave.

There are options available to you if your employer "punishes" you.  You need to determine those options and learn how and when to use them.  In my career, I've ALWAYS been able to work out a reasonable solution.