New website - Life in a Blue Suit (as a junior officer)

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by Naval_Gazer, Feb 23, 2009.

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  1. While Googling BRNC's daily routine, I discovered a new website called Life in a Blue Suit which claims to contain "Unbiased views on the life of a Junior Naval Officer in today's Royal Navy". The author states that he/she left the RN recently after six years. Written in a tongue-in-cheek 'blog' style, this professional-looking website contains largely constructive information and advice which may prove useful to anyone considering a commission in the RN. However, some of the negative views expressed are somewhat naive and heavily opinionated (is that you, Lewis Page?) so don't take anything at face value despite the 'unbiased' tag.

    I'm not sufficiently in date to judge the accuracy of the website's contents but certain things have the familiar ring of truth as I remember them. I also found it quite entertaining. Perhaps those with more recent experience would care to comment on its validity.

    (Edited to correct my understanding that author was a Warfare Officer. He wasn't.)
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    A good find!

    A swift perusal does indicate some perceptive insights which may well be of use when viewing one person's perspective.

    Axes to grind aside, it seems fairly balanced to me. Maybe it would have more credence if the author were still serving, but then the ability to criticise in a public domain would most certainly be frowned upon.

    Those reading the AIB element be warned the points scoring system, current affairs & psychometric elements have changed & officer selection now includes a Recruiting Test, Sift interview PJFT & Medical at AFCO level.

    It's worth seeing the service from a variety of viewpoints, warts & all, so a good read for prospective officers providing you temper it in the knowledge that many individuals 'fire a broadside' when they leave- from Able Seamen, all the way down to SAS Brigadiers & Admirals.
  3. One gets the impression that apart from the telescoping of training that little has changed since I was placed on the retired list some 30 odd years ago. I could just see Frank Trickey standing on the lower bridge imn that piccy of BRNC
  4. (granny)

    (granny) Book Reviewer

    Now that is a 'blast from the past'. Haven't heard Franks name in 'yonks'. Saw him from afar and and kept quiet. Another, like him' was Sam Erskine. Oh! those were the days.
  5. Ah, the infamous Frank Trickey. According to naval folklore, his ringing tones once echoed through BRNC's Chapel with the words: "Take your 'at off in the house of the Lord, you c**t!" Must be true because nearly every RN officer I ever met was there when he said it. :? There was another story involving the suspended man-o'-war in the Chapel but I can't seem to remember it.

    I'll never forget him dressed in 19th century sailor's costume when he drove a pony and trap into HMS Vernon to recite HMS Excellent's response to the annual Olympiad challenge. What a marvelous larger-than-life character.
  6. [​IMG]

    The man himself, (HMS Cavalier, FES, 1959/60).

    They don't make 'em like that anymore.

  7. Being C of S I must have missed the chapel incident, but his voice was legendary. He used to send a taped message to our years reunion dinners, which always had one or two of his choice sayings.

    Great character, who at BRNC worked very hard to ensure that those who passed out were suitable to be officers in his beloved navy. Never met any one who had a bad word to say about him, except whilst enjoying a Trickey ordered trip round the ramps with a Mk4 above your head.
  8. The writer's name is I** R****** (probably, he's the owner of the domain) - anyone remember him?

    I think I've seen some of that before, hosted on a blog-type site, but there was less content then, as I recall.
  9. Whoever the author is, I believe we should respect the right of any genuine serving or retired Service person's right to anonymity if that's what they choose. After all, that's the way we play it on this site.
  10. I was looking forward to starting at BRNC in April, that 'Blog' is quite uninspiring. Hopefully it is an unusual opinion as it just seems incredibly negative.
  11. ... an opinion which might help explain why he/she left the RN after only six years instead of staying on for the duration like most people. I'm sure you can find similarly 'uninspiring/negative' views expressed about any university, or career for that matter. It's all down to horses for courses.
  12. I wouldn't ID anyone posting on here whom I thought I recognised, but the owner of that domain is public information available on any whois page. It's not private domain info that I have outed.

    You can contact him via the website, or if you do a whois on the domain you'll find an email address for him with a clear ex-RN connection :wink:
  13. In that case I can confirm that the 2006 Navy List (also public domain) contains a WE Lt (BEng) by that name, then serving in HQ DCSA.

    Reading between the lines, the website's author does seem somewhat dis-chuffed at the RN for not providing the means to gain Chartered Engineer status as quickly as hoped. Pardon my ignorance but can a Greenie or Clanky tell me if this depends to any extent on achieving 'Charge' or some matching seniority/appointment?

    (Edited for wrong Navy List year)
  14. 1996? Or 2006?

    If 2006 it might be the same person, I don't think DCSA existed in 1996.

    He certainly appears to be a WE, given the issues with PWOs and the detail he knows about SEMC(WE).

    With six years service as a WE he'll have had two jobs under his belt, so on that basis it's probably a pretty fair reflection of his experiences. The job is, after all, made by the people one associates with. For what it's worth, reading the blog led me to the conclusion that he'd done a sea job then back to Collingwood as an instructor on SEMC(WE), Coll is probably the most political place I worked and he's clearly uncomfortable with playing politics. That said I wasn't all that comfortable with the style of politics at Coll, it wasn't even subtle.

    It used to be that the WE charge ticket completed the training component of the requirement, then apply after 2 years experience. That's probably the quickest route to CEng available. It may be slightly different for the MEs. The institutions haven't changed their criteria.
  15. My error, since corrected. It was the 2006 Navy List.
  16. :)

    And I also realised I made one. If he has a BEng then he's not academically qualified for Charter, following SARTOR 97 the academic requirement was lifted to MEng or BEng with matching training, and the last I heard SEMC(WE) wasn't considered as a matching opportunity. There was some ongoing angst in HQ about the implications about 4 or 5 years ago but I think they settled on the lower cost option of not getting SEMC accredited.
  17. I actually found the website quite inspiring. Like everything, I guess the RN is what you make it. Most of the stuff he's talking about you'd just have to learn to take on the chin and get on with the job.
  18. I think you need to separate out his comments about Dartmouth with his comments about the rest, and bear in mind that he's clearly left at the earliest possible opportunity.

    I would generally agree with his comments about Dartmouth, although it's some considerable time since I was there. It was a public school with an overgrown CCF unit then, and from what I hear it's much the same now. That said, it serves it's purpose by indoctrinating young men and women in the culture and ethos of the service that they want to join, and gives them the basics that they need to do their job.

    You will learn far more after you've left the place than you will whilst you're there.

    His comments post Dartmouth reflect his experiences, and whilst I can see some of where he's coming from there are other areas that I would disagree with, but then I wasn't serving with him so don't have any knowledge of what motivates the comments. Some of the issues he has are pretty understandable, politics happens, bullying and harassment happens, although there are clear mechanisms in place to deal with that but it takes some moral courage to actually use them. The service is filled with people who are overstretched and achieving lots of good things with minimal resources and a lot of innovation and effort. I would agree with him that the approach that HMG takes at the moment is dependent on that being sustainable, and I'm not sure that it is. The politial establishment is dependent on the good graces of the people that it is exploiting, and how long they're prepared to put up with it. There is weak leadership at all levels, equally there is some very strong leadership at all levels.

    It is what you make of it, read the comments and consider what it says about the service, the individual and his experiences. Your experience of the service will be different, but that won't make either any less valid than the other. We each get a different thing.

    The majority of my career was good. I had one job I hated, and one that left me pretty uninspired and demotivated. The rest had highs and lows.

    What I would disagree with are his comments about having ''ex officer'' on his CV as being a good thing. Many former officers have extremely bland CVs and frankly since many people don't understand what Officers do, it carries little weight. It's far more important to be able to articulate what one has achieved. Of course he might have gone to one of the firms that just take ex regulars because it's good for the business development, they stick you in the same hierarchy that you were in before you left and employ you in the way that the service employs someone of that rank and specialisation.
  19. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I found this fascinating; he writes well. It seems to me that the AIB isn't all that good, after selecting those that will suit the Navy, in deselecting those who won't be suited to the Navy. It wasn't much cop at this in 1954. I would have thought that the loss rate had cost implications - after all the bodies are being fed and watered, and paid more than four shillings a day, while they make their minds up. Also, if there are not enough training places so that people have to do their 'seatime' in a ship in refit perhaps we are sucking in too many 'doubtfuls' - although I realise some of the less promising do come good, and some of the apparent stars do fall by the wayside, in the unique environment of the RN which cannot be comprehended before one joins. Clearly the syllabus must have been vastly reduced in the basics in the last half-century but then the wind never does blow the way it used to.

    There's one factor that doesn't come across which is that those who leave may often be people who are more than ordinarily confident that they can do better outside; some of those that stay may have a higher moment of inertia? Like the passed-over ones who used to spend the day in Vernon's wardroom reading the FT .. or the racing pages ..

    I found the block on all promotions unbelievable.

    I've put a link to Lifeinabluesuit into my Officer Training dit on RRPedia, as a 21st century 'update'.
  20. Fair, it's actually not true...

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