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Page Title: Knowing Your Limitations
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forth  the  limits  and  procedures  that  govern  your performance.  You  do  not  need  to  memorize  their contents,  but  you  should  know  what  information  each reference contains. Then when a question arises, you will  know  which  source  to  turn  to  for  the  correct answer.  In  fact,  rather  than  trying  to  learn  all  the answers,  you  should  concentrate  on  learning  the proper  sources  for  finding  the  answers.  You  will  soon learn the answers to many routine questions, and you will  find  that  you  don’t  have  to  look  them  up  each time. However, if you rely on memory for answers to infrequent problems, you run the risk of error because of obsolete information. Many sources provide information on the rights and privileges  of  Navy  members.  They  include  official  and unofficial   Navy   publications   and   commercial periodicals  as  described  below: Official   publications   include   manuals, instructions, and notices; they are used by all levels of the Navy. Unofficial publications reach a larger audience than do the official. They include All  Hands, systems  commands  and  bureau  newsletters,  and ship  and  station  newspapers. Commercial periodicals, such as  Navy  Times, also have wide circulation among Navy members and  dependents. All of these references contain information about the  Navy  members’  welfare:  rotation  and  assignment, pay  and  allowances,  advancement  opportunities,  health care,  and  exchange  and  commissary  benefits.  You cannot cite unofficial and commercial publications as authority.  However,  since  they  usually  contain information and reasons for changes or new programs, which are not included in official directives, you can use them  to  get  background  information.  Background information can help you do a better job of explaining the directives to the customer. Often, unofficial and commercial  publications  also  provide  advance information  that  alerts  you  to  forthcoming  changes  or new  programs. The contact point representative must afford the customers rights and privileges impartially, but keeping in mind that all customers don’ t have the same rights and  privileges.  At  some  point,  you  will  have  the unpleasant  task  of  explaining  why  a  disappointed customer is not eligible for a particular program or service. The following are examples of such situations: Two  members  are  reenlisting.  They  are  both completing their first 4-year enlistment, and both are at paygrade E-5. One is entitled to a selective reenlistment bonus (SRB) and the other is not. An MS2 and SH2 both reported aboard ship in January 1988. Therefore, the projected rotation date to shore duty was July 1991 for the MS2 and July 1992 for the SH2. The  underlying  reason  for  setting  limits  and qualifications is to ensure the Navy has enough capable personnel to perform the jobs to meet the needs of the service. If that were not a consideration, a member who attends college could at the end of a 4-year enlistment be  handed  a  discharge  and  a  diploma.  That  would provide the member with the maximum educational benefits, but it would not provide the Navy much in the way  of  operational  manpower.  Our  programs  must  do both—maintain  enough  personnel  to  carry  out  assigned missions  while  offering  the  greatest  possible opportunities to Navy members. You have two responsibilities when dealing with a customer who is not eligible for some right or privilege. The first, of course, is to be certain of your facts so that you do not deny an opportunity to which the member is entitled.  The  second  is  to  explain  the  reasons  the customer is not eligible so that your motives will not be questioned. A customer must have no doubt that the denial was based on regulations, not on your opinion or favoritism. KNOWING  YOUR  LIMITATIONS Just as important as knowing what you CAN and SHOULD  do  is  knowing  what  you  CANNOT  do. Although benefits are to be afforded impartially to all eligible members, they may be omitted at some commands because of any one or a combination of the following: Directives The size or location of your ship or station A lack of qualified personnel The  amount  of  services  normally  available  differs between a small ship and a large ship or between a ship and  ashore  station.  Thus,  the  limitations  may  be  inherent to the command. The following are some examples: 3-15

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