Job transition ups status & stress for civilian now supervising co-workers

Rising in the ranks can create changes in the team dynamics. Today’s Q & A presents a civilian who’s earned added ‘stripes’ by taking on a new, leadership role supervising former colleagues.

BossStress can rear its head for the team and for the one bestowed with new duties and perceived status. You’ll find this insight from both Pamela and from Shaun Collins useful. Their response to a query posted in their regular He Said She Said column was featured first in Ft. Leonard Wood‘s My Guidon and is reprinted with a light edit here for our community:

The Q:   I’m a Department of the Army civilian employee and have recently taken on a team leadership role at work. Two of the women in my section, whom I consider to be very good friends, have had trouble accepting this change. They refuse to help when I ask for their support, so I end up doing the work myself. My supervisor told me that I should not be doing their work for them. How can I convince my co-workers to give me a break? [Read more…]


A soldier’s Coming Out in a season of Pride

For a soldier, as for any citizen who is leading a whole life there are seasons of growth, study, work and family. At each stage, there is reflection and there are decisions and hopefully support for them.

Advice columnists

Advice columnists

A soldier seeks an answer on how to stay true to his identity as a gay man and also to share this with his unit. A timely question, it is answered here by Shaun and Pamela Collins in their He Said She Said column. It appeared at Ft. Leonard Wood‘s publication, the Guidon under the original title: Soldier considers ‘coming out’ as partner moves here.

MilSuccessNet is reposting it given that USA now has the Marriage Equality Act and it’s the season of Pride events across the country.

Here in their own words, including the soldier who wrote in: 

Ever since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed I have wanted to be more honest with my unit about my sexuality. [Read more…]


Garden harvest sows discontent with pushy neighbor

Career Soldiers with more than 50 years of service between them, MilSuccessNet guest writers Shaun and Pamela Collins have hardly gone to seed in “retirement.” They’ve tended their own well planted garden of career and lifestyle transition. It has yielded opportunities to apply their training and experience as they teach, travel, contribute to their community and write.

With fall’s arrival comes this column of practical advice on handling a neighbor with big eyes. It is reprinted with kind permission from their original column in The Guidon at Ft. Leonard Wood.

Here is this week’s question that they answer entirely in their own words …..

QUESTION:   I have a small garden at my house, and when I mean small, I mean several potted tomatoes and two cucumber plants and one pepper plant. Barely enough for my own Family, but my neighbor asks me every day when am I going to be bringing him some produce. 

……At first I thought he was joking, actually rubbing it in about the size of my “farm” but the other day my wife picked four cucumbers and he asked if he could have two. I wasn’t home, but he told my wife that I had said he could share the results. She brushed it off as joking, but he did not. [Read more…]


Get over yourself n’ get along, civvy hubby told

A male, civilian spouse finishing up his advanced degree struggles to find his place within his Soldier wife’s family.  Suggestions and a gentle well placed kick of their veteran boots comes from Ft. Leonard Wood’s fine advice columnists, Pam and Shaun Collins. What do you think of their suggestions for the civilian fella’s attitude and their advice on how to manage a longer visit well?

Tyne out of place in the family set

Tyne out of place in the family set

READER Quandry: First, let me frame up my issue. When someone says, “your wife wears combat boots,” I take it as a compliment, because she is the Soldier and I am the spouse. I was never in the military, only a Family member.  While my wife is in the military, I have taken the last year to work on my doctoral dissertation. It requires a lot of hours, fieldwork, clinical studies and writing, re-writing and re-writing again.  [Read more…]


Thanksgiving feeds one family’s stress

A call out from Ft. Leonard Wood for some support on the upcoming holidays via the Guidon, and a response from advice columnists, Shaun and Pamela Collins

box with question marksSeason’s holidays are upon us and the stress levels are simply up. For their take on some of what is complex when families, and our expectations come together, here is what He Said and She Said when this question was sent in:

We recently invited my wife’s Family to come to our house this year for Thanksgiving. It is something we have done before and we often rotate it between going to her Family in Iowa, inviting Family to our home, or going to my Family in Illinois. It’s sort of a tradition.

This year, however, we were thrown a curve ball. [Read more…]


End of deployment brings anxiety for spouse

Transitions are explored in WoW – Words on Wednesdays by folks connected to the military, writing about the transformative experience from a personal perspective or the experience of books of fiction and of biography.

Today, some direct advice from Pam and Shaun Collins. It’s reprinted from their mid summer column at their first writing base at Ft. Leonard Wood’s Guidon.

Now, directly from the He Said, She Said column and in their own words…….. [Read more…]


Food n’ frustration at office pot luck foibles


Let 'em eat cake, photo courtesy of Teresa's Custom Cakes (Ft. Hood)

Let ’em eat cake, photo courtesy of Teresa’s Custom Cakes (Ft. Hood)

Hey, did someone at your last holiday BBQ , or office gathering grab a little too much? I’m not talking too much booze, or an extra chicken leg on their paper plate. Nope, we’re talking out and out packaging up extra provisions. Portions destined for off property consumption-without  permission or polite inquiry of others’ opinion on their pilfering it. Sometimes, they even march off with the conveyancing pot or pan!

Our guest writers share their HE SAID, SHE SAID column advising one harried staffer with a question on how to deal with this class of glutton. I think you’ll find a heapin’ helpin’ of  some good life calming takeaways, too!
[Read more…]


“Late love” found at a distance in mail order bride

Can love leap over all barriers? Age? Culture? Language? The stuff of life columnists Pam and Shaun Collins tackle                                     “The case of the  concerned buddy on the topic of his friend’s mail-order bride-to-be.” 

Is it a blunder or a bonus? You decide and tell us what you think!

OK then. With a week to go before Memorial Day in the US and into the Victoria Day long weekend now in Canada we’ve got crossing international borders on our minds…so on to the QUESTIONS:  

Q: No joke, my buddy has gotten himself a mail-ordered bride. We’re both retired and both single (I am a widower, he was divorced.) We both joked about finding a woman this way, but I’ll be, he up and got himself a young gal from the Philippines.

Custom dress on China Made Gowns, online.

Custom dress on China Made Gowns, online.

She’s sweet, seems to like him, but I just don’t know what to say. Apparently they wrote back and forth for a couple months and then he up and flew her here. Now he wants me to be his best man, but I just don’t see this working out.

He’s 60 and if she’s 30, you could knock me down with a feather. Do these things work out? Should I get involved at all? Seems like it might be too late at this point. Should I just keep my mouth shut and enjoy the lumpias?…………………..and now the answers…. [Read more…]


Single file…Dude with a blind date disaster

Well, can’t say this editor has been in either situation, at least not publicly manifested, anyhooo. What about you?  Gives me shivers as I consider accepting a blind date on a Saturday night!

Gina Bonnie-Jill Laflin Sailor

Pin-ups for Vets (fun photo of Bonnie-Jill Lafflin via their calendar)

Q:  I was set up on a blind date that could not have been worse for me. Unfortunately, my date thinks she has found Mr. Perfect … me. I tried to tell her politely that this relationship had zero chance and she thought I was joking. She asked why and I told her that I just didn’t feel the connection. She is now determined to make that connection. She calls me constantly…and I just turned my phone off, but then she called my work. She shows up at my barrack room (I live in single Soldier housing with a roommate that thinks this whole thing is hilarious.) She actually waited across the field from our physical training one morning and brought me coffee. The guys (and gals) in my unit tell me she’s a “keeper,” but I think she’s more of a creeper. Short of screaming “go away” how do I make this person realize that I am just not for her. [Read more…]


3rd Resilient transition options advised by retired duo

Hey there, our ‘on demand, reader-cued columnists’, Pam and Shaun Collins have a new question to share.  Today’s writer is ready to retire from civil service. This, AFTER a previous full military retirement and he’s still itching to contribute, or is it something else??

School or bust?

School or bust?

He’s clearly got lots of life let in him because not only is he retired, once and twice, but he’s now thinking of going back to SCHOOL to become the next best thing in his life.

Here’s the really-crazy-risky-fun part: he doesn’t know what he wants to study yet and is looking for a constructive opinion, other than his wife’s!

Well, let’s see what He Said about it and the opinion She Said on it. It’s all been stretched over from their column at the Guidon, the paper edited by Bob Johnson over at Ft. Leonard Wood. Now, the question and the responses not even He and She have read till they are publishedin their own words…… [Read more…]