- Identify the decks that run completely fore and aft.
- Not all the decks run completely fore and aft, some are “stove-piped.”
- Don’t be afraid to ask directions or wander around and learn your way.
- Every wardroom has its cliques, usually by department.
- Don’t be afraid to mix it up and sit at another department table. Be polite and ask, “May I join you?”
- You can learn a lot about what’s going on in the ship, get the word on upcoming briefs, meetings or evolutions that you should be a part of. It’s also a good way to build mutual trust and friendships with your shipmates, beyond your department.
- Eat some meals in the “Dirty Shirt Wardroom” if you are on a carrier. It’s less formal, and interacting with others there, you can broaden your Navy knowledge.
After you receive your orders, and before you report to your new command, be proactive, and find the address of the command. Send a handwritten, personal letter of introduction to the Commanding Officer, a “Here I come” letter. The letter should mention that you feel good about being assigned to this Command (or if you service-selected it), and how excited you are about the future, that you have been in touch with the Command sponsor, when you will be arriving, what you have to offer, etc. COs are usually impressed you thought to be proactive.
You may want to keep a daily handwritten professional journal that contains a daily diary of your work day—who you’ve spoken with, what was discussed, your daily personal assessment of your training and progress, problems with coworkers, things that went right and others that could have been handled differently or better. It is a handwritten record in the event there is a problem with a coworker or subordinate, that you can show your chain of command. This journal can also be used to write letters of recommendation for someone years later, with specifics. This can also be an excellent tool when you need to provide bullets for your fitrep.