TBS (The Basic School) is backwards day! Your staff intends for you to be frustrated. And you are meant to be stressed to the point of constantly and fruitlessly asking yourself, “WHY????” in the most exasperated tones. Just forget the “why” and do what everyone else is doing. That may not be the path to good leadership, but it’s the way to graduation!
After all, TBS is a place where smart people are treated like they’re stupid, where grown adults are treated like children, where things that make sense are abandoned in favor of the NONSENSICAL. It’s maddening. Haha. Most importantly, it is ultimately a place where you are measured by your ability to conform to a “standard” that is arbitrarily ascribed to. (See how I did those annoying quotes!?) With that in mind, here are a few tips:
1. Don’t even read your peer evals!
They are meant to screw with you and they’re filled with juvenile comments totally unrelated to being an officer!
2. Don’t share how well you’re doing.
Marines are competitive. They want to know what everyone else got on the test in order to gauge their own abilities. Just respond that you did, “Okay” . . . for EVERYTHING.
3. Don’t confide in your SPC.
Sure, you should ask your SPC (Staff Platoon Commander) for help on tactical principles, but don’t confide in your SPC about your struggles, hardships, or failings in the POI (period of instruction). Better yet, don’t trust anyone on Camp Barrett with those things. TBS is a dog-eat-dog world . . . especially with hundreds of lieutenants competing for a specialty they will eventually have for the next 3 years! Anything you say just might end up as fodder for a review board to recycle you to another company.
Reading these may seem dreary, but the light at the end of the tunnel is that TBS is NOT the Marine Corps. The real Corps is actually heavy on the camaraderie, light on the backstabbing, more mentoring-based and less self-centered. You WILL get through it and become a good officer, not because of it, but despite it!!
This post originally appeared on LittleMarineOfficer.com here. Many thanks for the guest post!
Littlemarineofficer.com is a fantastic resource and we are proud to be partnered with the blog. We are going to be featuring some of LMO’s great information as a series of guest posts coming soon.
Little Marine Officer.com is probably the best source of information about The Basic School for successful candidates, so we highly recommend bookmarking her site for when you successfully pass the trials of OCS!