In 2006, I signed what appeared to be my life, away for the next 4 years. I swore into the United States Army and vowed to become the best soldier I can be.
Because I was young, and all four of my brothers went into Air Force so as the only girl, I felt the need to be different. Truth is, I was totally excited. I was ready to earn lots of money and travel around the world. After I completed basic training and school, I became a Human Resources Specialist. I knew I did not want to put in any hard physical labor, so I was content with pushing paperwork. Boy was I wrong.
My first 3 months as an HR Specialist, I had to participate in “Weekend Recruiting”. It all sounded good when I was told what I was going to be doing. All I had to do was go to an Army Recruiting Office in North Carolina and just wait for people to come in and sign up for the Army. Easy peasy right? My first day on the job was totally laid back; we watched movies, laughed, joked around and went home. Nobody came into the office that day. My second day, oh boy, I walked into the office expecting to do exactly what I did the previous day, NOTHING. As soon as I walked in the office, my 1st Sergeant said “OK, we have four high schools to go to today and everybody must have at least five people that are ready to sign up for the Army, if you fail this mission, I will “Drop” you and make you clean up every corner of this office with a toothbrush”. Now in the Army, “Drop” means you will be doing push-ups until your commander gets tired of looking at you on the ground which can mean hours and hours. In basic training, I was told to drop by my drill sergeant and ended up doing 120 push-ups-which took me over an hour to do.
At this point, I have not been formally told how to recruit or even what to say especially going out to high schools. We get to our first high school and my colleague did all the talking and he got the information from eight students that were interested in joining the army. I was shocked. The next high school, another colleague signed six students. Now we are at my old high school that I graduated from, Goldsboro High School. I was literally scared as if I got in trouble and was going to end up in the principal’s office. We were in the gym, I am looking around and I see a few students that I attended with and they were happy to see me in uniform. My 1st sergeant gets on the mic and introduces me and every single student started clapping, and even calling my name. I got excited. 1st sergeant handed me the mic and I FROZE! I did not know what to say. Then all I hear is a student yell, “You got this Soldier” I started smiling and started talking. It all came out naturally; I basically told everyone my experience in the military, since the 1st day of basic training up until this point. At the end, I received 16 students that wanted to sign up to join the army, based off how I spoke about it. I made sure they understood that Army life is not all peaches and cream, it’s hard, it’s tough, but if you have the mentality to push through all the hard times, you will make it.
We went to the last high school and then returned back to the office. Of course, I felt good because I knew how many students I had signed up. My 1st sergeant had all of us huddled around and said “Lanier, that’s how you recruit, congratulations, you are officially a Recruiter. Later that night, I went home to lie in the bed, and started talking to myself. “That felt good, this is something I can really do forever, and I am ready to do this again tomorrow.”
Fast forward 10 years later, here I am still recruiting! This is my passion; this is what I was born to do. Even though I was not officially trained for it, I learned different ways of recruiting throughout my career and bottom line is, I wouldn’t give it up for anything. When you have a passion for something that comes completely NATURALLY, you ride that wave until there is no more water.