Saturday, October 16, 2010

A bonus is an incentive, right?

I was surprised when DH told me that we were going Army Reserves.  As a prior service Marine, he used to bitch and moan about how screwed up the Army was, about how he couldn't wait to get out, etc, etc.  Granted, I know everyone vents about their job, but we'd had our fair share of getting the short stick.  We had decided early on that Air Force Reserve would be our next step.  It was during this stage that we switched up the game plan from staying in NC to moving to CO.  

DH was planning to do AFR at Pope AFB, since I already had a job in NC.  I clued him in that it was just your basic teaching job, and that I could do it anywhere.  I might have been convinced to stay if I had found an upwardly mobile job, like as a special ed math specialist, or a job at a college/university doing services for disabled students, but it wasn't. So, over Facebook, we hammered out that our next home would be in Colorado, where I've always wanted to move.

When it was getting down to his last few months in the Army, he set out for the retention office, as it was on his checklist for out-processing.  He came back to me that day, told me he'd signed up for USAR, due to promises of a bonus and a promotable, stabilized position at Fort Carson for the next two years (his commitment was three years).  He decided not to do active reserves, as they can deploy you at any time, regardless of the fact that he redeployed in March.  DH was hoping to get some quality time in with me before he has to go back, although I wouldn't be surprised if he volunteered.  He's just one of those soldiers, and I'm ok with it.

Although he swore into the USAR when he was still back at Bragg, they neglected to tell us that his bonus couldn't be issued while he was still on active duty pay.  So, we waited.  His ETS date came and went (September 23rd), still no bonus.  He tried to go down there and start his in-processing, but they turned him away, saying that he had to wait for some magical letter in the mail, and then he could come back.  Frankly, this is all a little ridiculous to me.  What could that letter possibly say, that he couldn't provide or do in person?  Whatever, USAR.  So, we've been waiting...and waiting...and still no letter, despite mail forwarding, despite us checking the mail at our new place and my Uncle's.  

Oh yes, and did I mention that we won't get that bonus until he in-processes?  And even then, how long is it going to take DFAS to cut that check?  They finally told him to come back on October 25th - then he can in-process.  That date sounded really familiar to me, and I was right - it's the start date of the transition program that he's doing at the Air Force Academy.  A friend of mine recommended their program, versus what the Army has to offer its soldiers.  It's supposed to be more comprehensive and better preparation for returning to the civilian work force.  He needs to do both of these things.  I'm not sure what he's going to do to make them both work, but I don't want to press him too much about it.  

So, let's recap:

  • Our last paycheck was September 15th.
  • He has yet to in-process with the USAR, due to bureaucratic bullshit.
  • Our bonus has yet to be seen.
  • The remainder of our DITY move money has yet to arrive.
Remind me again why sticking with the Army was a good idea?  They tempt you with these bonuses, one we'd hoped would carry us while he was job-hunting, yet we haven't received squat.  Thank God I am a working milspouse, otherwise we'd be screwed.  Thank God for my FIL (father-in-law), who's been extremely helpful during these difficult times.

The next time you're cursing and shaking your fist at active duty, remember all of those things we took for granted.  You can expect a post on that from me later!  In the meantime, your continued prayers, good thoughts, and well-wishes are greatly appreciated!


Sarah said...

Such a mess!! Too much red tape everywhere... Hoping that things fall together for you guys soon.

Expat Girl said...

Wow thats insane, I hope everything works out for you guys soon. I know there are days when things are ridiculously frustrating but I truely believe in everything happening for a reason.....even if it is the Army playing God with our lives haha

Erin said...

@Sarah - Thanks girl, me too!

@Expat - I really hope that this is just another trial in our lives and that we're building up to something really worthwhile. In the meantime, it just sucks! Just when you were thinking you were getting ahead, back you go. I feel like we're back in the beginning again, when we were really struggling financially.