Crappy Assignment? Don’t Worry-it’s not the end of the world.

Tumbleweed image by jezarnold via CC by 2.0.
Tumbleweed image by jezarnold via CC by 2.0.
Tumbleweed image by jezarnold on Flickr via CC by 2.0.

I sat beside my husband during a seemingly never-ending “welcome” program. As part of in-processing at our new duty station, we listened to a parade of these short informational spiels about the different programs and services available on post. The last person to present ended with her interesting approach to a warm welcome.

Her tone was sarcastic and the other soldiers and spouses in the room laughed uncomfortably. Had she really just acknowledged this post’s reputation as being less than ideal?

It’s no secret that soldiers aren’t clamoring to request to PCS here. When we found out this was what we got, my husband and I were both disappointed. (I actually thought he was playing a trick on me.) His buddies teased him when he revealed where we got “stuck.” Upon sharing our new duty station with a group of strangers at Passover Seder a week before moving, the entire room groaned. A few people even offered heartfelt “I’m sorrys.”

From people who’ve never been here, to people living here, to people working here (and representing the post at a welcome meeting of all things!) it’s a lot of negativity.  And I’m sick of it!

The Army chose to put us here, and that’s what we signed up for. Sometimes that works in your favor (like when we ended up in Germany) and other times you get your last-choice location, but it’s all part of the adventure. I have to think that if we are strong enough, tough enough, resilient enough to combat everything that gets thrown at us (deployment immediately following basic training, the woes of reintegration, getting orders last minute, moving internationally twice in less than a year), I think I can handle living in a place that’s a little hot or too windy or with no shopping options or whatever else it is people are complaining about.

Maybe it’s just easy to complain about the location we live in because we had no control in choosing it. Just yesterday I saw a friend post on Facebook that she hates her new duty station because a tree in front of her house uprooted. Another friend added to the chorus of “this place sucks” because the traffic in her area is crappy.

Before my husband joined the Army, we lived in a tiny suburb in North Dallas. We had hand-picked the location, and we loved it there. It wasn’t all perfect (they built the largest high school football stadium in the country directly across from the apartments we were living in and my dog is afraid of construction noise), but I never attributed the things that made me angry to the town, I never considered moving, I never outright hated it there. The difference is that we chose it, in stark contrast to the Army sticking us willy-nilly where it pleases. Perhaps hating the place or wishing it away is an outlet when people get stressed. Not every place is a good fit for every person, and most of the time people have valid complaints.

But for as long as I’m living here, I want to enjoy it. I want to see the good in it. I want to find the hidden gems, and look on the bright side, and make the best of it. It may be temporary, but it’s my home for now, and I’ll be damned if someone else’s negativity is going to ruin my experience.

IMG_0691Amy (@MrsArmyAmy) is an Army wife, reality TV addict, lover of junk food, and Texan to the core. She, her husband, and their crazy dog Geronimo are currently living in Germany. When she is not training for her upcoming third marathon, Amy can be found writing about military life, running, Geronimo’s antics, self discovery, and everything in between on her blog Army Amy.

7 COMMENTS

  1. I love it! We’re a little unconventional on where we prefer to live. I can honestly say I’ve liked every place we’ve lived. I’ve also disliked them. Every place has its good and bad points.

    If I’m loving it, I think to myself, “Enjoy it, you’re only here for a few years(at most).”
    If I’m struggling, I think, “Eh, it’s only a few years, at most. I can deal with anything for that long.”

  2. lifeisanadventure

    We have one of “those locations” where we are from (overseas). We just left there after three years and it turned out to be the best three years we’ve had in 18 years of military life. It’s easy to complain but those that are able to just deal with the negatives and enjoy the positives (there’s always at least one!) are the ones who will enjoy the adventure overall. And it’s worth remembering that a posting location is home to many civilians and they probably don’t appreciate military families complaining about it!

  3. I could have written this myself as this was my exact experience with my last duty station. Turned out to be the best experience for our family!

  4. Hear hear, Amy! I initially joined my husband in Germany at one of the most sought after locations in the country… and then, not even a year later, his unit transferred to one of the tiniest, most overlooked little posts ever. An entire brigade had been deactivated and moved out in the span of 6 months and the whole village (I hesitate to call it a “town” as it’s really, really small, with one “main” street) was reeling from the loss of income/patronage. My husband and I, despite being quite disappointed about being moved from our absolute IDEAL spot which we were thoroughly enjoying, decided to make the most of everywhere we go – including this tiny place.
    I think that every post is what you make of it – simple as that. I get quite annoyed when I hear people here on post grumbling about it – it must make the Germans quite annoyed, and it’s really not fair, because the people who do the grumbling are 9 times out of 10, the ones who stay ON POST and never get out and explore.

  5. I believe every duty station is what you make of it. I’m not where I want to be but I promised myself I wasn’t going to be unhappy because the Navy sent us somewhere I didn’t want to live. Letting you location decide how you will feel emotionally on a day to day basis isn’t good for the soul. I’ve lived that and vowed never to do it again. And choosing to find the good does really work! While I long to be in another location there are certain things about the current one that will be very hard to leave behind.

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