We’re on pins and needles in the Lazy Man household. Two days ago the Million Dollar Email (MDE) had a 33% of arriving. Yesterday it had a 50%. Today, it has a 100% chance of arriving. Well maybe 99.9% chance, just in case the internet goes down.
I’m getting ahead myself. What’s this Million Dollar Email about, right?
For the last 7 years, the end of June has become “the wait.” That’s when the military promotion list comes out.
My wife has been up for promotion 7 times and each year it has ended in disappointment. At her level, almost no one gets it the first time. Each year the promotion board has come back with new recommendations. One year it’s “Get a certification.” The next year it is “Get an MBA (to add to your Pharm.D).” The next year it is “Lead an organization.” The next year it is, “Not the top pharmacy organization of thousands of people, but a military one.” The year after that it is, “Vice President of the top military organization isn’t enough. Do better.” One year it is, “Deploy more, we don’t care that your boss rejects your deployments.” Another year it is, “Get more awards, we don’t care that we gave you the top award and later sent you an email that it was taken away.”
This year she’s President of the organization. She deployed a lot last year. The awards… well… the promotion board can still ding her for that.
In any case, this is for all the marbles. She’s made it no small secret that she’s done jumping through hoops. If she gets the promotion, she’ll consider continuing to work without all the second job of hoop-jumping. If she doesn’t get the promotion, she’s O-U-T with her military pension.
With the promotion, the following happens:
- Continuing to work at a six-figure salary, with an increase of $1500 a month.
- A pension that is worth $12K more a year for life
- Kids’ private school continues to honor the military discount, a “savings” of $12,500 a year. (This is our luxury item, please don’t judge too much.)
Does that add up to a million dollars? I’m going to fall back on my Lazy Man moniker and not do the math completely. A back-of-the-envelope calculation says it may be $500K in pension. I think the other 500K can come from working at the high salary, the raise, and the kids’ school discount. Maybe it isn’t a million dollars, but I think it’s close.
Without the promotion, she can break away from the “one more year” hamster wheel that she’s been on. That might be worth it alone. I suppose that either way, our life will significantly change.
The reason for the suspense is that the promotion list has to come out in June as it has done for the last 20+ years (maybe decades longer). If it doesn’t the payroll for July first becomes a mess (from my understanding.)
As I write this, June has less than 12 hours left in it… tick, tick, tick.
Update: She didn’t get the promotion, so it looks like she might retire over the next year. They only promoted 9% of the eligible people. It used to be 30%, then it was 25% and was 12% before. I guess few pharmacists did anything worthy over the last year…. /sarcasm.
I sincerely hope it works out for your family either way. Just out of curiosity, do they make men jump through the same hoops or is this strictly a female thing?
Lazy Man says
That’s a can of worms ;-). Everyone is graded on various things (awards, deployment, leadership stuff, etc.) mentioned above. The promotion goes to the top X%. So if a woman has a child (or two) it naturally leads to less time to achieve the benchmarks. While the Public Health Service (her military branch) is something like 60-70% women, the admirals are disproportionately men. Unfortunately, with morale being low (due to the lack of promotions) a (male) admiral recently had a talk of “Keep your head up… nose to the grindstone… if I can do it anyone can.”
Aside from the gender issue, that X% has gone down from 25% several years ago to around 11% now from what I can tell. The “X” seems to come from those who retire, but many seem to be staying in longer, so there are fewer spots for promotion available.
Even Susan Lucci eventually (after 19 nominations) won a Daytime Emmy, so here’s hoping it’s finally your wife’s turn to get the prize.
Good luck! She’s certainly earned it!
Good for her for drawing the line in the sand. For successful people, that is one of the hardest things to do because you are intentionally “giving up” so much potential income. But if the goal is to live, not work, it has to be done!
Impersonal Finances says
That is a bummer–but maybe it’s for the best. If retirement was on the mind anyway, it’s probably best to get off that hamster wheel, as you mentioned. Good luck!
J. Money says
Dang!! Can’t believe she didn’t get it this year!
Lazy Man says
It turns out that almost no one got promoted this year.