Sometimes being a Sergeant in the Army is exactly like being a zookeeper.


I’m a medic in the Army National Guard.  It’s a great part-time gig, I have no more student debt, and I have an exorbitant amount of interesting life stories.  Plus, now I’m a nationally-certified EMT, which is a fun random thing that I never thought I would ever say about myself.  So, all good things.

About a year ago I was promoted to Sergeant, which means – for the layman – that I get paid a little more money for a lot more work.
Also it means I’m in charge of other people.  Oy.

There are few other jobs in the world that can compare to this, a member of the Non-Commissioned Officers Corps, the “Backbone of the Army.”  Except for maybe Zookeeper.
Why, you ask??

  1. You are given charge over a certain amount of living creatures (i.e. Privates).
  2. You have to feed and water your charges three times a day, because they never remember to do it themselves.
  3. You have to herd them where you want them to go, which is no easy task because most of them like to keep pace with their pet snail.
  4. Once they’re where they need to be, you have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t wander off, which they often do. (Anything shiny is highly distracting.)
  5. If they wander off, you have to go get them, which makes you late for something you personally need to do.  (Yes, you have tasks as well – your entire life is not nannying.)
  6. Once they’re back, you have to scold them and punish them so they don’t do it again.  (After which, they will hate you.)
  7. When they do it again, see steps four and five.  Repeat as many times as necessary.
  8. You have to teach them tricks like saluting and standing quietly in formation without pulling out their cell phones and texting their boyfriend.  (And shaking hands and rolling over and playing dead for treats.)
  9. You have to keep them from interacting too much with the general public.  They might very well frighten small children.
  10. You have to take responsibility for anything they do wrong, and you’re the one who’s punished, because you’re the one in charge.  After all, they don’t know any better…  Right?

Finally, you have to train them to one day take over your position.  I can only hope that I’ll be gone when that day comes – the idea of the animals running the zoo is a little unsettling.

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