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Can i live a happy life by making a career out of the military

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7 answers

Mike’s Answer

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Hi Christopher!

I most definitely think you can have a happy life making a career out of the military, but there is a unique culture that is unlike any in civilian life. As such, it may not be for everyone. For me, as a dependent child, it was wonderful, but there are some pros and cons.

My father was enlisted in the Air Force for 27 years. We moved every three years (this is how the military works, with re-assignments to new bases) both within the U.S., and in Germany. Got to see England, Paris, and ski in Switzerland. I did change schools every 3 years. Its a little challenging, especially as an only child, but I made friends quickly, and moving very often did condition me for adult life to be able to strike up conversation with almost anyone in the world as I generally can find some common topic to discuss!

As yourself:
1) Would you be okay moving to a new city, state, or even country every 3 years?
2) Would you be okay making new friends every 3 years?
3) Would you be okay being separated from extended family and friends from home (parents, siblings, cousins, middle school, high school, etc)?
4) Would you be okay occasionally missing birthdays, or spending time with family during holidays (depending on where you're stationed, and how much leave you have)?
5) Would you be okay with following rules and procedures of commanding officers?

There are tremendous benefits of being in the military:

- Very close group of people who share the same experiences and challenges above (you're in good company)
- Great opportunities to extend your education as the military will pay for school
- Travel the world (domestic, and international)
- Be immersed in different cultures (art, language, life styles) <<- If you go into the military, PLEASE visit the tourist spots in the cities and countries where you're stationed (trust me on this - visit museums, sporting events, castles, everything!)
- Benefits: dental, medical, etc
- Sports: intramural activities (e.g. softball, bowling, etc), and in some cases, tackle football even at the adult level

In the end, I truly enjoyed traveling and seeing the world with my parents, and my dad in the military. Military wasn't for me though, as I wanted to "stay" close to family when I got out of college, and wanted to build a life in a city, or state, for as long as I could. I wouldn't change my upbringing for the world, but a drawback is that I do not have close friends from my "school days" since we traveled so much.

Hope this helps!
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Cindie’s Answer

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Hi Christopher. I did not choose to go into the military, but my step son is in the military and he seems to be very happy with his choice. The nice thing about the military is the structure. Some people really thrive on having a very structured life and the military would likely be highly suited for you if this is what you like. Also, there are many options for finding what it is you might like to pursue as a civil career when you get out if you don't already know. And you might also get to travel some. But there are some downsides such as too much structure and little freedom; you can't just quit the military because you don't like them without it being a significant issue. So when you sign up, you sign up for the duration of your term. But the short answer is, "yes," you can be happy in the military but you need to know what your tolerance is for structure and authority at least over a short period of 2 to 4 years.
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Jennifer’s Answer

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Hello Christopher!

The military is great choice to help pay for school, get paid to train for a career, gain invaluable experience
in a career field, travel the world and most of all learn to work with others from all backgrounds while
working towards a common goal. The military is all about what you make of it and what you want to get
out of it.

I completed 10 years and my husband retired with 27 years. We were both enlisted in the Air Force and
were aircraft mechanics. It was a great life and provided all kinds of opportunities throughout our time.

The military is not for everyone and not everyone enjoys it, but if you get your mind right on what you
want to achieve by serving it can be a great career!

Best of luck!
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Dawn’s Answer

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Yes, I come from an entire family of very happy military careers. To ensure your happiness you should find out the answers to these questions;

What jobs are actually available?
Can the branch you are interested put you in touch with a service member in the field I’m interested in?
What is the retention rate for your prospective job and service?

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John’s Answer

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I have seen many people who greatly enjoyed living in the military. The career skills, travel, sense of community and teamwork are greatly appealing. In my observations, people generally get out of it what they point into it.

That being said some people are simply not suited for military life. You must be able to give freely of yourself, understand the military values and live by them. The military is a life of sacrifice and selfless service. If you can't be happy with that then you may want to live another kind of life.
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John’s Answer

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It depends on what makes you happy. I have been in the military for the last 14 years and I am thrilled about my job. I travel all the time, have never paid a dime for school (BS/BA-IT and seeking a MBA), get paid a fair wage, and I have free medical and dental for the rest of my life. The retirement benefits are a great selling point as well.

If you want to be movie star famous, then the military might slow that process down a bit depending on your motivation. If you are looking to live a comfortable life with countless benefits, then the service may be the answer.

I suggest really sitting down with a veteran, recruiter, or an active duty service member and get the skinny from them. We are everywhere.
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Nicholas’s Answer

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You can definitely live a happy life while in the military, I am currently 7.5 years in and have a family pursing extracurricular learning, going for my bachelors, I have received a lot of certifications. The experience and friendships I have been able to receive so far is amazing. It definitely has its downsides but every where you would go will have that. You have to figure out what you are trying to accomplish in life. What are your goals?
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