You’re an adult or coming into adulthood. Trying to plan your life and career are no easy feats as a young adult but you are thinking about joining the military. Maybe it’s a family tradition, want some adventure or your just feel the need to serve your county. Army, Navy, Airforce, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, which one is the right fit for you? We will let you figure that out on your own depending on your interests but lets go over the pro’s and con’s of military life. Let me start by telling you the list of pro’s are much longer than the list of con’s.
Get in shape. If your not in shape already, boot camp is a diet and extreme exercise program rolled up in to 8 of the hardest weeks of your life but you will come out of it, strong, lean and with a feeling of accomplishment like no other.
Job experience. It may turn into a 20 or 30 year career for you but if not, today most military jobs are jobs found in the real world. During your time in the military you will learn and gain experience that you will use for a lifetime. Interested in a career in engineering, healthcare, a mechanic or law enforcement? In the military you will get trained in your field for FREE and most employers hire military because of the discipline and work ethic you received during your enlistment.
Travel. Traveling is one of the reasons people join the military. Especially if you’re from a small town with not many career options. If your stationed stateside you might be sent to a beautiful place like Hawaii but if international travel is what interests you the military is an easy way to see the world. With bases across the globe you can be sent to Europe, Asia or the South Pacific.
Pay. Contrary to popular belief, the compensation is comparable to most civilian jobs if not more when you add in all your benefits. You get a base pay which is your salary but on top of that you get a housing allowance, a food allowance, a tax benefit and let’s not forget FREE healthcare for your and your family. No company in the world gives you free healthcare for your entire family. Thought all this sounded good, how about 30 vacation days a year!
Benefit programs. One of the top reasons to join the military is the GI Bill. On top of your pay and healthcare you get the GI Bill. This bill gives you the tuition to pursue a higher education and actually pays you while you are going to school. In addition, leave the military honorably and you are eligible for a VA Home Loan to purchase a home for you and your family at lower interests rates and normally no closing costs. These are just two of the many benefits you would be eligible for.
The list of experiences and benefits you gain by joining the military are too long to go into detail here but camaraderie, personal growth a sense of accomplishment are the words we think of when we think about military life. Now lets look at the con’s.
Enlisting in the military is not something you should take lightly. Once you sign that paper and get sworn in it is not something you can easily get out of. It is a binding commitment you are expected to see through. You can’t just quit one day when you decide its too hard during boot camp. So keep that in mind before you sign up.
Exercise. If you are someone who does not like to exercise you will not be happy in the military. Even after you finish and pass boot camp you will still be required to attend PT or physical training at least five days a week and pass regular fitness tests to keep you in top shape.
Little control over where you live. You joined the military to get out of your small town and see the world but that may not happen right away. You can and should make your requests but that does not mean you are going to get one of your choices. You will be stationed where the military needs you most.
Hard of your family. As with all first responders military life can be hard on family life, especially in the beginning. You will be away from your family for a few months for training of course but once you are settled and together again you may have early or late hours, some overnight shifts and may even be deployed during a conflict. Many first responders miss birthdays and holidays with their families.
Danger. You’ve played Call of Duty since it came out and have seen many movies but having to actually go into a conflict situation is much much different. It is not for everyone. Do you have what it takes? Are you and your family prepared to be apart for up to 15 or 16 months? Can you and your spouse handle the stress of being in an active combat situation. What happens if you get injured or lose your life? These situations need to be thought through and discussed before you join.
Joining the military is not an easy decision but can be a rewarding one with many benefits as well as a bit of danger. Do your homework. Talk to members of the military and talk to recruiters of each branch before making your decision. It’s not for everyone but for those that decide to serve and protect our country and all of our freedoms, We Salute You!