I may be a bit bias as I have served 27 years in the U.S. Army and Massachusetts Army National Guard, but I see few down sides. All of which they try to tell you about or at least you should know. Also there is both a mental and physical evaluation before they let someone in. But here is the short list.
- Death - you can die while working for the military. They have a insurance and programs for your survivors like "Gold Star" families but once again. Your died.
- Physical demands - Dependant on the job you go for you could find yourself working long hours, in the heat and cold. Lifting what every needs to be carried and working out constantly isn't always going to stop the body from breaking down.
- Mental demands - Not just the possibility of seeing a friend die. It can happen but outside of a few jobs where you might actually get shot at it can be considered unlikely. There is also sheer number of hours you work. The guy who figured to pay the military by the month instead of the hour was a genius. It is not unheard of to work (while on deployment) 80 hour or more a week. No days off. And I am talking as a mechanic or clerk. It can happen.
Now that the big ones are done, let me say. Forget about them! If you are not deployed, you are most likely working 9 to 5 with Physical Training in the mornings to keep you in shape. There are 4 sustainment people for every person in the fight and once again if your stationed stateside the worst you have to worry about is a field exercise.
So what are the real things all military have to put up with.
- Being away from family. Mind don't even call for the smaller holidays anymore.
- Watching your kids grow up in pictures.
- Listening to people complain about the country your working to defend.
- Putting up with careers that can sometime cap you for pay or promotion.
- Moving often. I have known people who have moved bases every 3 to 5 years. We are talking moving from state to state not down the street.
- You will forget more people that you have met than you can count. The military wants you to learn as much as you can to be the best you can be. This means changing jobs often. More for officers than enlisted but with everyone moving around you will have trouble keeping in touch either people.
- Financial issues. You only make so much. Everyone knows how much that is. Seriously it's published for all to see. Not by your name but by your rank. I have seen people get roped into a lease that salesman said they could afford but the salesman wasn't thinking about the other five bills the soldier had. You really have to be money wise and there are people to teach you but most don't go to them until they are already in trouble.
Is that enough? You might be wondering how I stayed for 27 years. I got smart. I asked for help. When needed I took some lumps but learned some tough life lessons. Is it for everyone? No! Many kinds of people should stay out of the military. Those looking for a free college ride but not wanting to be a patriot should not apply. (In my humble opinion).
Those who are not afraid of hard work. Those who want of life of challenge, growth and education. Those who care about something bigger than themselves. Those who want to be better, smarter or just more. All of those should apply.