Supervisor: “Hey, Unicorns Are Real”
Contractor: “Yes Sir, And Majestic Creatures They Are”
The above may be a bit of an exaggeration when it comes to working as a Civilian Contractor – but unfortunately it is not far from the truth. One of the hardest things for new guys to deal with when they enter the Civilian Contracting world is excepting all of the illogical things you are told or asked to do without arguing them.
For those of you who have never worked as a Civilian Contractor you are probably not familiar with the nonsense you are expected to accept with a smile on your face. And unlike “normal” jobs where you can point out inaccurate information or suggest a way to improve a failed way of doing things – In Contracting if you argue or try to change things it is considered “bad”.
“Bad” as in you are now a trouble-maker and your next stop is the Civilian Contractor equivalent of being transferred to an Alaskan Radar Station, usually the Civilian Contractor Alaskan Radar Station is the most miserable post/job on the contract.
Think going from a cake gig working in a nice AC’d Tactical Operations Center one day to standing at an Entry Control Point in 130 degree heat wearing full Battle-Rattle and working 12 hour shifts on the ass-end of base the next day.
And all this just because you kept harping on management that they should issue IFAK’s to everyone instead of just Team Leaders, you even wrote up an email with a proposal and sent it to the in-country manager when mid-level management shot down your idea.
Yep, even if your argument makes sense you will become “that guy” to management.
During my 10 years [and counting] in Civilian Contracting I have heard shit spewed out by management so ridiculous that you would probably not even believe it.
Some of my favorites are:
“An AK-47 will accurately go out to 400 meters with the ex-soviet bloc surplus ammo we issue”
“You don’t need armor on the roof of your car, only on the bottom and sides”
Now most of the time the stupid shit you are supposed to bite your tongue about is not something that could get you killed like in the above examples, they tend to run somewhere between the “Are you serious?” and “Really?” realm of WTF.
Another Example: “You must submit your leave flight arrangement request 8 weeks before your requested leave date or you will not be compensated for your flight, then you must submit your leave request 4 weeks in advance of your requested leave date, be aware if you cancel your flight you will be responsible for the cancellation fee”
So that basically means you have to get your plane ticket 2 months before you go on leave, but you will not know if your leave dates were approved for another month – and if your leave is not approved then you will have to pay a 100 dollar flight cancelation fee”
Yes, that is really a leave policy with one PMC in Iraq
So Why is Contracting Like This?
Honestly I don’t know – But over the years I have come up with 5 theory’s:
1) Most mid-level managers on contracts are straight-up fucking lazy.
So when you point out something that could be changed but would require some actual work on their part they would rather get rid of you than do that work [hey – the PX won’t sell DVD’s on its own].
2) Most mid-level managers on contracts are straight-up fucking incompetent morons
These guys have “Yes Man” their way into a mid-level management position that they do not have the intellectual ability to actually do. So by pointing out something they should have fixed, you are basically telling them they made a mistake that is so obvious even a guy who has only been on the contract for 3 days saw it.
So their retard survival instinct kicks into self-preservation mode = they better discredit you by telling upper-management that you are a problem child or put you so far out of the way you can’t make them look bad anymore.
3) The “It Has Always Been Done This Way and Anyone Who Questions it is a Troublemaker”Theory
This way of thinking is especially prevalent in [some] ex-mil contractors. They hold onto this “NEVER DARE TO QUESTION AUTHORITY” train of thinking like their house will explode if they think outside of the box.
I have seen this every day for the past 10 years of working with the Military, any soldier who dares to speak up about a problem is immediately branded with a red-hot “troublemaker” iron.
This is where the phrase “Offline” came from in the Army, as in “We will discuss that offline Corporal” – This is usually said by an Officer or Senior NCO when a low ranking soldier openly questions a stupid policy/order/unnecessarily dangerous mission in front of higher ranking people.
If your comment actually made logical sense you might as well throw your military career for the next 6 months in the toilet.
4) The Manager Has a Small Penis
Because these guys have a tiny wiener they can’t deal with anyone questioning them because in their mind you are somehow challenging them when all you wanted to do was improve things.
The usual response to someone pointing out illogical shit is acting like an insecure Asshole who was beaten up in high school by the cool kids.
You can usually find these douchebags in the gym getting “buff” because they think if they become disgustingly big; girls will like them.
5) They Are “Turd Catchers”
These people follow around anyone who is in a position higher than them all day long hunched over with their hands in a cup waiting for a turd to fall out so they can catch it and possible get “kudos” or a promotion.
So if you question something that could make them look bad you are manning a Civilian Contractor Alaskan Radar Station before the ink on your transfer paperwork is dry.
In the civilian world they are simply called “ass-kissers”
So What to Do?
Simple, just say “ok” and collect your paycheck. Seriously as long as it isn’t something that could get someone hurt then who really gives a shit? You are a Civilian Contractor pretty much for one reason – Money.
Due to the transient nature of working as a Civilian Contractor why would you make things miserable for yourself when it is not necessary? Hell, in 8 months you will be on another contract anyway.
I have seen guys literally give themselves ulcers trying to change things on contracts, I know one guy who stressed himself out over stupid shit so much he actually had a stroke. Seriously, no job is worth your health and sanity.
Especially when you can’t change anything. Did I forget to mention that? Yes, you cannot change the way things are done on contracts - Period.
And even if you could - why would you spend months stressing and fighting to change some stupid policy on a contract when by all likelihood you will be on a totally different job for a totally different contractor in 8 months?
This is one of the reasons why so many guys “ring the bell” within the first few months of working as a Civilian Contractor or are constantly angry and miserable for a year when they could just chill and get paid.
Personally I can’t stand working with theses “this is Bullshit, that is Bullshit, things need to change around here” Civilian Contractor Greenhorn types [90% of people like this are new to the Civilian Contractor racket]. Their constant crying about “how things are fucked up on this contract;” makes me want to stab them.
So if you are they type that cannot say “sure, ok boss” and keep getting paid when faced with immensely illogical things that are being presented to you - then you may want to reconsider pursuing a career in Civilian Contracting.
If you are a Civilian Contractor who is constantly stressing about stupid shit on your contract then take a chill pill because you are making everyone else on the contract who is just trying to pay off their credit cards miserable.
Or fuck it, keep trying to change shit that doesn’t matter – I will toss you a RipIt when my convoy goes through your ECP.
Founder - Editor in Chief
James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long; he has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and laughing all the way to the bank. James G. on FACEBOOK