To Stay Or Go! The real Challenge Of The American Military!

Right from the get go, Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF), anyone who tells you being in the military for an entire enlistment was a complete 100% waste of their time is crazy. They want people to feel sorry for them, they have held a grudge against a particular person, or they didn’t do crap while they were in and wasted opportunities due to their own stupidity. They could have had a hard time, or they didn’t like the atmosphere, or it just wasn’t meant for them, but their was at least a moment of glimmer and something advantageous to them was presented. (Again, the bros and gals that didn’t even finish an enlistment due to administrative separation or confinement, isn’t part of this category. They would have failed even if they were never part of the organization)


Now, back to the 99 percent of the force that actually did their time and even if they didn’t like any part of their service, they at least stuck it out until their contract was done, good for them. I know plenty of hard charging warriors that did four years, and moved on to greater things. A good handful of those motivators have made outstanding names for themselves and have really great jobs and a life after they have served. I am ecstatic that it worked out for them, but they reached a hard decision point in their life and had to make a difficult choice. For me, I had no idea what to do, and out of fear, I decided to re-enlist and do another 4, which led to another and another. For me, the time was never right, I wasn’t prepared, and their were benefits that kept me around. After four combat deployments, I was ready to move on, but didn’t have the courage to let go of something familiar to try something new. Fortunately for me, it worked out in my favor. After having a child diagnosed with a large brain tumor at the age of 2, the medical insurance through the military drastically helped my family out and worked out tremendous for us. Not to say that the same thing could have happened if I had gotten out, but who I am to question what could have or could not have happen without knowing the future.


So here poses the question, do I stay or go? Even worse, for the careerists, do I do 20 or 30? Will I make more money if I get out at 20 and start a new career at 37 instead of 47? The same problem exists, who the hell knows. There is no way to tell for sure until you live that life. Who is to say just because you got out after 20 years, and you led hundreds of Marines in combat, that every business in the civilian sector is going to be jumping at the bits to hire you. News flash, local PD isn’t hiring the dude that can set the headspace on the M2 the fastest and has the most confirmed kills. However, there can be some leadership skills that can be transcribed and used throughout the sector. Look at getting some extra skills while your in. GET YOUR DEGREE, I’m about to finish my Master’s and haven’t spent a dime. I finished my B.A. while serving on an SDA (which sucked but is possible), and while in several Infantry Battalions (which sucked worse, but can be done). Will it be useful, who knows, but they can’t throw it in my face if I don’t have it. Additionally, there is Lean Six Sigma, PMP, Instructor skill set classes, Fitness Classes, etc.


The guys that got out after a few pumps in the early 2000’s didn’t have it easy by no means, but for some having those deployments and being highly recognized by a large majority of the nation could have been an advantage to them. Again, who knows, they could be doing the same thing now if they stayed in for another 12 or 16 years, no way to tell. One thing for sure though, for those getting out in the present time, just because you deployed doesn’t mean you are a must have. Everyone’s deployed nowadays, it isn’t a scarce task now. It isn’t gong to benefit you to get that GS15 job after 4 years with no additional skills. Don’t get stuck in the military tunnel and think your main goal is to get more Marinenet classes done than the rest. Focus some time on your self, and find some additional skills that will benefit you and not your unit. It’s your life, live it. The only thing that doesn’t change, is change itself.


To stay or go, no real answer to the question. My only suggestion, if you feel ready, then jump. Hesitation kills, so do what you feel and never look back. Your going to fail if you spend more time working on your backup plan than what you spend on your current plan. Good luck!!!

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