In today’s economy, joining the military is still 0ne of the best options for those who want job security and the fulfillment of serving their country. Some of the benefits include money for college, travel and health care. But before you “jump the gun”, you need to prepare for some of the things listed here and know what to expect from each to make the transition from civilian to military as smooth and as worry-free as possible.
If you are really considering joining the military, you should be serious in studying and preparing for the ASVAB.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a timed multiple choice exam administered by the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) to assess your knowledge and predict your success in the military. Some of the scores on this exam will determine which military occupation best suits you depending on which branch of service you decide to join. The higher score you get the better job options you will have.
Your scores in the first 4 sections of the exam which consists of Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge, collectively known as your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) will determine if you are qualified to enlist in the armed forces.
Basic Military Training also called boot camp is 8-12 weeks of training that will prepare you physically and mentally to the demands of military life. It will challenge your fitness level as well as stress management and how well you can handle pressure.
If you are one of those people that cannot live a day without checking their emails or facebook, then you will probably have a harder time because as soon as you get off the bus and enter the training facility, they will have you box all your personal belongings up and ship it home. It’s basically going to prison for a couple of months with no visitation rights until you complete it.
The Navy calls them “rate”, the Army “MOS”, regardless of what branch of service you decide to join you will be given a chance to select a job you like depending on your ASVAB scores. This is why it is so important to do well on the ASVAB because it could mean you chaining down a helicopter on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier in 120 degree heat or sitting comfortably in an air conditioned space doing paperwork all day.
DO NOT go to a recruiter without first doing some research on what type of jobs would want to do in the military. Not to bash on recruiters but sometimes they bend the truth to fill their quotas and some of them just does not know what a particular job in the military is. It is all up to you to do the research and make an informed decision that would either make you miserable and get out after your first enlistment or make the military your career.
I believe this could happen anywhere, but what you should expect when you join the armed forces is you have a rank structure or chain of command that you have to follow. The big difference with being a civilian is having only a couple of people that tells you what to do vice being a service member where you have to follow anything that any higher ranking person tells you to do. I have seen a lot of folks get in trouble for “failure to obey a lawful order” and this is something you have to be ready for if you’re one of those type that has a problem with authority. Also, just because you were trained for a specific job does not mean you are only going to do that job. The military will ask you to do so much more than what you were told your job is going to be.
For the most part, everybody in the military is respectful of one another but you will encounter a couple of people that would step on everybody’s toes just to get to the where they want to be. Those are the people you should watch out for.
And last but most important,
If you have a family, this is perhaps the most important aspect you should be concerned about. There is no way around it. Every member of the armed forces will be deployed at some point. Deployment, depending on the branch of service could last anywhere from 3 months up to a year and is the most stressful time for military members that have a family to leave behind. Being prepared and having a plan is very important for all parties involved and would help a lot in dealing with this difficult situation. Understanding the emotional challenges that occur and resiliency will assist in coping during deployment.
These are some of the things you need to prepare for if you are serious about joining the Armed Forces. Being well prepared and aware of what to expect can save you a lot of frustrations and give you a better chance of succeeding in today's military.
"Fair winds and following seas".