"Should I join the military," is a question many are asking themselves during this time of year when high schoolers are gearing up for their lives after education. There are, however, many others that are looking at the option as the only other alternative to scaving one of the harshest economies in generations. With over 10 years of recent active duty experience I will help you better weigh your options when thinking about joining the military.
We'll start out with the what benefits joining the military has. Obviously one of the biggest advantages is a reliable paycheck. When all businesses fail, the government will continue to pay its military members. The only exclusion to the rule is when you have been overpaid by the military or if you have been found guilty of a punishment. The other benefit is health care. Just as in most socialist societies, the military offers basic health care to all of its members provided half by military doctors and half by contracted civilian doctors. This service is often provided free of charge and is covered in both military and civilian hospitals. Other benefits are keeping healthy, being able to travel around, paid time off, continuing education, being viewed as a respectable person of society, and many others.
On the other side of the coin, there are also many characteristics that are not at all appealing about joining the military. If you enjoy the freedom of doing what you want when you want to do it, the military probably won't work out for you. The regimen is often very predictable and in many instances does afford the opportunity freedom after work hours. War is also a large deterrent for people contemplating joining the military. Of course, your boss and co-workers often dictate what kind of life you will live in the military and any profession in that sense. This "bond" so to speak, emphasized even more in the military because of the dependence you have in each other in a war zone environment. Other negative aspects of the military are the constant relocating (uprooting your family to a new part of the country/world), living around so many like-minded people with little room for individualism, and deployments.
With times being so rough in today's economy, the military can be a curse and a blessing. It's mostly what you make of it and how you adapt to the challenge. The only real person that can decide if the military is right for you, is you. No one knows you better than yourself. If you know you can do it, you'll be fine. If not, the military is probably not for you.