I have to make an observation here on what Greywolf said: why is it that Pte's can't have a PER written on them? Is it because we ASSUME that they won't display any of the attributes that we would like to see. Is it that we don't EXPECT them to, because they are only
a Private? When they hit Corporal, bang!, a switch is tripped and they are now good to go!! Pretty simplistic, if you ask me.
I also noticed that Greywolf is 29. That would lead me to believe that they had somewhat of a life before the army. A "real" job probably. A family, no doubt. Having to manage themselves, and maybe a few dependents. This is where the system has to recognize that not everyone goes from high-school to recruit-school, or from momma's apron to the Sgt-Major's. Having said that, older recruits have to understand that the "system" is designed for less mature personnel, with the expectation that an 18 yr old Pte is going to perform differently than a 28, or 38, or 48 yr old Private. I have heard a soldier who joined at 33 say that after 3 years in (the military) that they should be a MCpl, because they are older than some of the MCpl's in the Regt. Uh, not quite.
I recall a time that when I was a Trooper (Pte), there were a few of us (Tpr's) running Admin Troop, as all the leadership were gone on course. We basically took turns doing what we had to do, and the work got done. Nothing burned down. We didn't get any glorious write-ups out of that, but we were recognized down the road (the majority of us got our leadership trg ahead of the pack). Everyone is expected to perform at the next rank level (Pte -> Cpl, Lt-> Capt, etc), so it isn't uncommon, particularly now that there is a "boom" in recruiting, and an increase in the releases, for people to perform 2 ranks higher. I was a MCpl acting as a Tp WO, and luckily because it was for over 6 months, I was "creditted" with it on my employment history on my PER, but once I hit Sgt, I was at the bottom of the pile, as though I had never been acting Tp WO. C'est la vie. I was recently a Tp Sgt, and through releases/postings/etc I went to Tp WO/Tp Leader for about 3 months. No write up, no thanks for coming out. It is referred to as doing your job.
The moral of my story: maybe we should, as an organization, have a higher expectation of what a Pte is capable of, and write them up where applicable (in certain cases), and go against the way things have been done for time immemorial. Or leave it the way it is, and ensure that Privates (especially the older, more mature Private's that have joined in recent history) know what their place is (be a good Private: be seen (working hard), and not heard (bitching about what they think things should be like). I don't know if the system needs to be changed, or people need to change their expectations.
I'm not ragging on you Greywolf: you bring up a good point. I have seen it with some of the soldiers that I have had working for me who joined a little later in life. They don't want to be lumped in with all the teen-agers, and they actually want to be challenged in their work, not just being a "good Private" and doing no less than they are expected, nor more. It fairly sucks having to write up a hard working keen Tpr as less than a pooch-screwing lazy-a$$ Cpl, just because of seniority. But with the write right-up (and behind the scenes work) a keen young Private can (and should) be recognized. It worked for me (just never mind the next 14 years, as they are an example of what NOT to do with your career
And, just to bring a little more rain onto the parade, I suspect that the reason that Private's don't get a PER, is due to the paperwork/staffing it would entail. Maybe that's reason enough, as the unit AO (Admin Officer) is usually the busiest person in NATO for the 3-4 month PER blitz.
I probably didn't give an answer (I think I confused myself somewhat) but if you look deep inside, there may be something to be learned. Or it's the APS (aluminum pot syndrome) convincing me I came up with a pearl of wisdom (the Sr NCO curse).