Should I join the ...........?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by dukebound85, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    My question is should I join one of the armed branches? I ask as I am at a point in my life where I am somewaht perplexed on how I want to proceed.

    A little background on myself. Well my name is Jonathan, am 23 years old and just graduated from college with a degree in mechanical engineering. Ever since highschool, I have thought about joining, namely I wanted to be a pilot and go to the Air Force Academy down in the Springs. However, due to my eyesight being poor as well as not being sure enough at the time, I simply went to Colorado State University.

    Then came my 3rd year of school where I went to an info session about nuclear engineering for the Navy. Pretty much what this is is being a nuclear engineer on board nuclear subs and carriers. The program they have is known as NUPOC (Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program). Needless to say, a a freind and I were interested and proceeded to have quite a few talks with the recruiter. He arranged for us to travel out to a naval facility to get a feel of the "life" in a sense. However, due to the mispelling of my name on my ticket, I was unable to go (friend went though) and was asked if I could make the trip later in the summer. This was not possible as I had an internship with Schlumberger so talks ended up fading away due to this as well as the recruiter got reassigned.

    Then in March this year, I looked at officer school for the Air Force. It sounds pretty interesting. I sent my info off for a recruiter and we had a miscommunication problem and when they finally got through to me, I wasn't as interested as I thought I was going to grad school at the time. Well times have changed and I am not looking to grad school at this point in my life and would like to relook into the Air Force. I do have some concerns though (namely about how I arrived at this thought about what to do with my life)

    *Even though I graduated Summa Cum Laude, I do not have a "passion" for engineering and I fear that any job I get will be like well hell as I won't enjoy it I think

    *I fear layoffs. I have friends that graduated in 07 and are already being laid off in this economy so I am trying to pick the right industry so that this risk is minimized. Schlumberger (which is an oil services contractor) fits this profile nicely as I would think the military.

    *Now, especially now, I feel incompetent at any job I would take. I fear that I have forgotten way too much knowledge that I had supposedly "learned"

    *If I do do the military, I am a little intimidated by boot camp/officer school. I'm not the best runner (7:30 mile a couple months ago and probably worse now) and I know there is a lot of running and such. Also, my nature is more "shy" as you may say. I don't know how well I could adjust to yelling/being yelled at. I am also intimidated by signing my name and commiting my life. The reason is if it were a normal job and I found I hated it, I could quit. This isn't possible in military so I would hope I liked it or it would be well unpleasant

    *However the benefits are nice. I've been told that being an engineer in the military gives you a leg up over peers at same age in engineering as you learn leadership skills and run projects with higher responsibility early on. The fact that you retire after 20 years of service is nice too

    * What can I say, I've always wanted a uniform:cool:

    So I ask you what your opinion is on the matter? I just feel that any career choice I make now will dictate my life/interactions/etc so I better pick carefully in a sense. In other words if I take a job in the oilfield, I will become knowledgeable in that field and hence apply to other jobs dealing in oil than restarting in a field I am clueless in.

    Also, any members here that have served, your thoughts would be extremely welcome.

    Many thanks guys, I really do appreciate it
  2. djellison macrumors 68020

    Feb 2, 2007
    Pasadena CA
    If you sign up for the armed forces, you become the commander in chiefs bitch, basically.

    If you think the current administration deploys its armed forces in appropriate places, for valid reasons, and takes appropriate risks to achieve honorable goals...sign up.

    If you don't....don't.

    I was considering an RAF scholarship to University here in the UK 10-15 years ago. In retrospect, I am very VERY glad I didn't.

    I would go for the civilian life and engineering in the oil industry. We will be finding stuff and digging it out of the ground for decades and decades to come. Not just Oil, then gold, uranium, diamonds, whatever. It could take you to just as many amazing places as the military would. Get on the proffesional ladder, start ticking off the years of experience, then you can go shopping for a speciality of some sort in an area that might light your fire. Sign up to the Military, and you're stuck there. Best to try the alternative first simply as insurance if nothing else.

  3. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2006
    That's really a huge decision. I've thought about joining as an officer a few years back since it was something I was always interested in. I felt about the same way you felt, actually. I was interested, but quite honestly, not too sure about boot camp (though Officer boot camp is supposed to be a bit different). & I wasn't too sure how I'd do with all the constant yelling, etc.

    I'd feel accomplished if I went through boot camp and was an officer in the military. My only advice would be to join ONLY if you're truly interested.
    Don't join because you have no other option or because anyone is forcing you.
  4. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030


    May 18, 2004
    Better to spend some time finding something you do have a "passion" for rather then starting on a path that will lock you into something you don't really enjoy that much. Fairly quickly you'll start to feel stuck in a profession simply because you've become used to the income. How would you feel about trying to start over in a new field at age 30? when you have a mortgage? kids to support maybe? It's difficult to switch fields and start over......better to spend some time NOW looking into things you might like better

    If you don't have a "passion" for engineering, then I wonder if you would like it any better just because you're in the military?
  5. JNB macrumors 604


    Oct 7, 2004
    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    You will generally get as much out of the service as you put in. Your only limitations are really desire, drive, and dedication. You have to remember that it's their ball and their rules, period. It's not a democracy, you don't have a choice, but at the same time you will gain experience, maturity, and a degree of discipline that you'll likely never find as a "silly vilian." Sure, you can make more money on the outside, maybe. And yes, you get get dead, but then, you can get just as dead anywhere. Remember that if you either enlist or accept a commission, you do so voluntarily. You also don't go in thinking that "this is now my 20-year career." That's a buzz-killer right off. One day at a time is the only way to approach it.

    Between 1975 and 1998, I had some incredible experiences, visited places that I would have never seen otherwise, made lifelong friends--true friends, not just acquaintances--and also had some of the most gut-wrenching, horrific days in my life. It's all part of the package. Most of my parts are still attached and working reasonably well, I'm a much more complete and whole human being, and I think a better world citizen.

    Don't forget that besides the "big four," there's also the Coast Guard, NOAA, and USPHS (but I think I already mentioned those in another post).

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