Proficiency and conduct marks can make or break your Marine Corps career. It decides who gets promoted and who doesn’t. It counts for over 50% of your cutting score. And you know who writes them? It could be my Sergeant, or it could be my SNCO. Most of the time, I have no clue, because no one ever tells me.
Whenever you receive pro/con marks, you’re supposed to receive a counseling. It’s a sheet of paper that says, “These are your pros/cons. These are the reasons why you got them. These are some suggestions to improve them.” Speaking of counselings, you’re supposed to receive monthly counselings and counselings whenever you get pros/cons. In my Marine Corps career, I’ve received only 5 counselings. If you want me to improve myself, what do you want me to do? I don’t know everything!
You may think that it’s my fault, but let me ask you a question. Is it my job to make sure my boss does his? And besides, it’s not like I’m going to die if I don’t receive a counseling. I got shit to do.
I remember my Sergeants constantly hounding the Corporals to make sure that the junior Marines get their counselings. The junior Marines will be taken care off regardless of what the Sergeants do or say, but what about the corporals? As usual, the Sergeants are MIA when it comes to doing routine counselings for Corporals.
Anyways, I digress.
The thing about pros/cons is that it sounds good on paper. You have a boss that oversees you and gives you pros/cons depending on how well you do.
The thing is though, if your boss never bothers to see what you’re doing because he’s a lazy fuck, what the hell is he supposed to give you? And usually, you will be working for lazy fucks who play favorites. So they will give you whatever they feel like giving you. If their vagina hurts that day, they will give you some crappy pros and cons without any counseling or any reason.
I knew a go-to Marine that does nothing but good work. He was a few minutes late one day and got a negative counseling for it. A few weeks later, it was revealed that his lateness, not his hard work, defined his low pros and cons. This is bullshit.
One day, when all the lower-downs received low pros and cons, somewhere in the range of 4.0 – 4.2, I questioned my Staff Sergeant about it since our Sergeant Major and CO told our company how great we were doing.
That comic above is the same conversation I had with him. I could see how uncomfortable he was. He was rubbing the back of his head like it was going to help him think of more bullshit to spew out of his mouth.
He promised us all higher pros and cons later. A few months later, he gives me lower pro/con marks than before and flies off to Okinawa without informing anyone. Fucking fantastic.
All of my SNCOs would swear to everyone that they would go by the book. But few can even cite which Marine Corps Order talks about Pros and Cons. I would ask and they would always “challenge me” to look it up. That MCO is called the Individual Records Administration Manual (IRAM). Don’t go off whatever bullshit the SNCOs make up and throw in your face. Here is the MCO for you to see.
What events rate pros/cons?
What makes up “conduct”?
What is “proficiency”?