Why join the US Army? In these days where jobs are plentiful, the Army might seem like a less attractive choice. I, however, believe it to be one of the wisest career decisions a person can make. Most who have experienced the Army, do not regret it. Indeed, there are a few haters but I’ve always found them to be unsatisfied with everything in their lives.
Many soldiers, whether they spend a career in service or only a few years, reflect upon their time in the Army very favorably and credit it for helping them find their way. Since my retirement from the Army two years ago, I’ve had an opportunity to see firsthand how businesses lead, what kind of environments they create, and what values and culture they subscribe to. The comparison has been enlightening.
Coupled with my time in companies, I’ve studied the desires of people, specifically the millennial and Z generations who are entering the workforce at increasing rates. Forbes author Christine Comaford highlights in her article, This Is What Generation Z Wants From The Workplace, the interests of both generations. I’ve combined them to make a comparison.
• Rewarding experiences
• Money and job security
• The tools to win
• Career and life development
• Ongoing developmental conversations instead of annual appraisals
• To be judged on merit
• Career advancement, a clear path forward
Unfortunately, most of the businesses I examined failed to meet these needs. Though, there were some exceptions.
US Army vs. civilian employers
Comparisons between the Army and a modern company help illustrate just how great the Army is. When you join, or as the Army likes to say, “accept the challenge,” you’ll become part of a band of brothers and sisters, bonded by shared hardship and experiences. My time in uniform shaped who I am today and I, like many soldiers, proudly live by a set of values and code of conduct.
In a typical company, you’ll do a job and contribute as an individual. In the Army you’ll serve a cause, something larger than yourself as part of a team. Most employees in modern companies cannot see beyond their current role and pay scale. In the Army, I always knew what rank and pay came next. It allowed me to see deep into the future.
While some companies promote and augment educational expenses, the Army funded two master’s degrees for me and sent my family and me to several of its own learning institutions to study and grow.
The Army is futuristic, keeping pace with the latest in artificial intelligence and cyber technology to name a few. It is far from traditional or, as Hollywood often depicts, a place of only rifles, body armor and explosions.
What the Army afforded me
Change abound and opportunities aplenty, the Army has over 190 different occupations. In an era where people “job hop,” the Army is the perfect fit. I had over 21 different jobs and moved 16 times to some amazing places like Hawaii, Alaska and Germany where my family and I gained lifelong friends and experienced new environments.
Last but certainly not least, companies cannot keep pace with the security blanket of the Army. My entire career I slept well knowing my family would be secure on the military bases we resided on and cared for under the health benefits we enjoyed. My paychecks came without fail, I knew the Army would not “go out of business” and each year I earned more toward my retirement pension.
Of course, the Army is an organization designed to fight its nation’s wars in far away, dangerous places. There is no sugar coating that harsh reality. I can say that after my three combat tours and a career spanning three decades, I would join the Army again in a heartbeat. And, my family would agree. It did more for me and my family than I can possibly share.
Over 27 years ago, I made one of the smartest decisions I ever made by asking my wife to marry me. I made another equally smart one when I decided to join the United States Army. Accept the challenge. Join our band of brothers and sisters today!Read comments