Last week while going through the meat grinder that is "In-processing", I ran into a minor roadblock. There is a new Army personnel database program which is required when inputting or changing routine human resources forms. The folks at the in-processing center were unable to find me in this database, so I couldn't complete this final step. (Fortunately, the really important stuff, like getting my pay and allowances started, was taken care of before I reached the final station.)
Various administrative types held a number of agitated discussions about how this situation should be addressed. One of the managers (We'll call him, "Mr. X".) told me that he would get the problem straightened out with his counterpart responsible for the database, and he would give me a call when it was resolved.
Yesterday I got a call from a very worried woman, who informed me that since I had failed to complete in-processing, I could very likely be released from active duty. While this possibility definitely had its upside, I could also see the possibility that it could take all of my final years in the Army to unscramble the pay, benefits, and service credit problems such an unscheduled change could very well cause. Besides, I foresaw that if the Army tried to out-process me, they'd encounter the same problem, but in reverse, and I'd be stuck in non-paid "Soldier Ping-Pong" limbo for months. So, I took the mature, professional route, and explained to the woman that "Mr. X" had said that he was going to handle the issue. She put "Mr. X" on the phone, and it was apparent that he had little to no recollection of my case. I refreshed his memory, and received a fresh set of assurances that this would be solved "toot sweet".
This morning, "Mr. X" called me and asked if I'd had any success in resolving the database problem. I reminded him that HE told me yesterday that HE was going to fix it. "Oh, yeah...let me make a call to "Mr. Y", he replied. Barely ten minutes later, the worried woman called me, and said the First Sergeant needed to speak to me. She handed the phone to him, and he explained in a very First Sergeant-like manner that I needed to get this database issue resolved, pronto. I started to explain that "Mr. X" was handling it, but when the First Sergeant heard "Mr. X" he said brightly, "Oh, "Mr. X" is right here, let me put him on the line!" (Yeah, you all can see where this tale is headed.) "Mr. X" picked up the receiver, and asked me if my unit has got this database problem solved. This time, I said crisply, "They said you need to call "Mr. Y" in the next five minutes, and he will resolve the issue ASAP." "Mr. X" said, "Great! I'll give him a call right now...Thank you!"
My appointment to complete in-processing, having been added to the database by "Mr. Y" while he was on the phone with "Mr. X", is set for tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: I completed the final station of in-processing today...took about 15 minutes, with no drama, and to top off my "Victory Over Bureaucracy" celebration, I discovered that my first Army paycheck was 100% correct in all respects. My thanks to all of the folks at the SRC who got it right!