After almost a year, around early June....I convinced my son (he's German) that his unemployment episode wasn't going to fix itself, and that maybe it was time to consider joining the German Navy or Air Force (no, I didn't suggest the Army). It took around thirty minutes to convince him. Long term unemployment makes you consider odd options.
With the Bundeswehr all desperate to get people since they went to a volunteer program....I figured OK....the kid would be contacting them....paperwork filled out...and in two to three weeks he'd be shipped off to German boot camp.
Well....things don't work that way.
He spent around a week trying to get the one recruiter for the entire region to meet up with him at the unemployment office there in Kaiserslautern. Meeting went well....but it was just the initial meeting, and it'd be two weeks before anything would move onto the next step.
You see.....there's a long process to getting into the German military. They run bootcamp only four times a year.....the next episode was 1 October, and the truth was.....he had missed the window by a month (yeah, this is early July that we are talking about this moment of the process). So the paperwork might be excused and somehow this would work out for 1 October, but if not.....then 1 January.
I got the impression that they weren't meeting their quotas and would find some way to waiver to meet the October date.
For an unemployed person.....it's impractical waiting till January, and for that matter....even waiting for October.
So the kid went full-speed ahead, but at a snails pace. Meanwhile, the unemployment office after an entire year of marginal effort....finally got around to a potential job, and this week.....a company offered the kid a contract. By the end of next week....he'll likely sign the paperwork.
The Bundeswehr? He'll thank them for considering him.....but frankly.....they just couldn't move in and sign the kid in time.
I sat there and thought about my experience with the Air Force. I could have met the recruiter on a Monday....made the decision on Tuesday....got on the bus to the station on Wednesday.....done the physical on Thursday....and gone to Basic Training by Friday. That's the way that the US system works.
The Bundeswehr scheduling? I think after watching this unfold....you'd have to think four months ahead of time, to lock in your name for boot camp or basic training. A practical method? Well....I'm guessing that they lose a quarter of all the people thinking about a military career....because of the long-paced trail to boot camp.