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28 YO - Reserve or Regs?

Jimmys92

Swinger
Hi All,

I realise that I am opening myself up for quite a ribbing here, especially from the old sweats - but want to share my position, which I am sure is not unique - to both help others and gain a better understanding of my own position.

I have always had a massive interest in the military, but chose during University go into the world of business VS following my heart at that age.

Working in business has been good for me, I am 28 and have my own marketing consultancy business, and a shareholding in another rapidly growing engineering business. I earn a decent living, have my own home and have plenty of time for my own interests. Life is comfortable.

I split up from my long term partner a couple of years ago, which really does make you consider everything.

Instead of rushing to join the military at a point of crisis in my own life as a knee jerk reaction (tempting!) - I have waited for life to stabilize, and have applied to the Army back in April (2019) and passed the initial officer assessment/interview which brings me to this point, with my medical in the new year.

The split and the release of the upcoming mortgage/family ties etc has opened up so many different opportunities for me, with the Army being high up on the agenda. It made me realise just how quickly my life could have passed me by.

So... the decision:

I am struggling to decide whether to join as an officer (AOSB pass depending) in the regular army or the reserves.

I know there are clear advantages to both - with the reserve allowing me to enjoy my relatively successful civvy career whilst enjoying a limited but worthwhile military career, and the regular army providing a full time soldiering career and all that is involved with it.

I am not asking for any answers, but more shared experiences and thoughts.

Thanks in Advance,

J
 

Dwarf

LE
Can your business run without you?
One advantage to being the Gaffer is that you can take all the time you want to train with reserves.
 

BratMedic

LE
Book Reviewer
Any thoughts on Regiment or Corps?
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Hi All,

I realise that I am opening myself up for quite a ribbing here, especially from the old sweats - but want to share my position, which I am sure is not unique - to both help others and gain a better understanding of my own position.

I have always had a massive interest in the military, but chose during University go into the world of business VS following my heart at that age.

Working in business has been good for me, I am 28 and have my own marketing consultancy business, and a shareholding in another rapidly growing engineering business. I earn a decent living, have my own home and have plenty of time for my own interests. Life is comfortable.

I split up from my long term partner a couple of years ago, which really does make you consider everything.

Instead of rushing to join the military at a point of crisis in my own life as a knee jerk reaction (tempting!) - I have waited for life to stabilize, and have applied to the Army back in April (2019) and passed the initial officer assessment/interview which brings me to this point, with my medical in the new year.

The split and the release of the upcoming mortgage/family ties etc has opened up so many different opportunities for me, with the Army being high up on the agenda. It made me realise just how quickly my life could have passed me by.

So... the decision:

I am struggling to decide whether to join as an officer (AOSB pass depending) in the regular army or the reserves.

I know there are clear advantages to both - with the reserve allowing me to enjoy my relatively successful civvy career whilst enjoying a limited but worthwhile military career, and the regular army providing a full time soldiering career and all that is involved with it.

I am not asking for any answers, but more shared experiences and thoughts.

Thanks in Advance,

J
Ultimately the question of Regular or Reserve is your choice, however you will have to join RSIGS.
 

Bob65

War Hero
In your position, reserves would mean you can commit as much time to it as you want, go on all the courses and exercises you want, and still continue your civvy career. It's ideal really.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jimmys92

Swinger
Thanks for the feedback everybody.

My head is telling me I can get everything I want to out of the reserves. I would be looking to join the local infantry unit.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
Thanks for the feedback everybody.

My head is telling me I can get everything I want to out of the reserves. I would be looking to join the local infantry unit.
Sensible. I had slightly different circumstances, but I started a period of full time service as a 2Lt just short of my 30th Birthday. Absolutely no regrets whatsoever, but:

- Being older gave me a life view more in line with the Snr Captains than 2Lts. Good and bad in that.
- There isn't a realistic full career path in the "conventional" stream starting at that age. You would be back to some form of civvy job after what could be a relatively short period, but having lost momentum, clients, contacts etc.

If you join the reserve you can always stick your name down to mobilise, requiring a short break from your usual job, rather than sacking it entirely.
 

Jimmys92

Swinger
Sensible. I had slightly different circumstances, but I started a period of full time service as a 2Lt just short of my 30th Birthday. Absolutely no regrets whatsoever, but:

- Being older gave me a life view more in line with the Snr Captains than 2Lts. Good and bad in that.
- There isn't a realistic full career path in the "conventional" stream starting at that age. You would be back to some form of civvy job after what could be a relatively short period, but having lost momentum, clients, contacts etc.

If you join the reserve you can always stick your name down to mobilise, requiring a short break from your usual job, rather than sacking it entirely.

Thanks for a really valuable response, I had figured there would be limitations to my career with age restrictions.

How did your reg career pan out as an older entry?
 

Arte_et_Marte

ADC
Moderator
Joining the Regular Army will be a tough call for you, especially in the early stages. You get very little time off and certainly not enough to keep a buiness running, unless you have a trusted partner/manager. Once you are out of the training stage and get posted to a unit/Regiment (which could be anywhere) your hands will be full with the practicalities of soldiering and thats hard graft.

If you want to keep your business (and why wouldnt you?) I'd advise the Reserves.

Either way I wish you well.
 
Regular = full-time career and vocation
Reserves = spare time / part-time interest

Stating the bleeding obvious, go regular if you want to commit 24/7 for the next 3-4 years, but some sort of portfolio career is not compatible with being a Regular Young Officer, though the potential opportunities for the 'militarily entrepreneurial' are great (operations, training, adventurous training). If you go Reserve, you can mix and match more and have much more freedom of choice, but you will have to work harder and be more creative to access some of the opportunities that might be available in a regular setting. Don't fall for any old bollox that you can have 'best of both worlds' - whichever way you go, there will be an upside and a downside. Just be clear that you understand and are happy with both.

Long term, the future may be brighter, there is much work underway to make transition between volunteer reserve, part-time and regular service seamless, it's not going to deliver in the immediate future, but in 10 years time, the distinctions and barriers between the different forms of employment could be largely removed. So - whichever way you go, get on with it! :)
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
How did your reg career pan out as an older entry?
It didn't. I was on an FTRS contract (Full Time Reserve Service) which is time bound, although lots of people can and do extend or renew. I wanted to convert, I had Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander support, but manning and records said no. They couldn't make my profile fit their template.

You can't beat the system!
 

Jimmys92

Swinger
Joining the Regular Army will be a tough call for you, especially in the early stages. You get very little time off and certainly not enough to keep a buiness running, unless you have a trusted partner/manager. Once you are out of the training stage and get posted to a unit/Regiment (which could be anywhere) your hands will be full with the practicalities of soldiering and thats hard graft.

If you want to keep your business (and why wouldnt you?) I'd advise the Reserves.

Either way I wish you well.
Thanks for the reply, it would mean completely winding one business down and remaining a silent partner in the other! There is no way I could balance the two. Thank you for your kind wishes.
 

Jimmys92

Swinger
Regular = full-time career and vocation
Reserves = spare time / part-time interest

Stating the bleeding obvious, go regular if you want to commit 24/7 for the next 3-4 years, but some sort of portfolio career is not compatible with being a Regular Young Officer, though the potential opportunities for the 'militarily entrepreneurial' are great (operations, training, adventurous training). If you go Reserve, you can mix and match more and have much more freedom of choice, but you will have to work harder and be more creative to access some of the opportunities that might be available in a regular setting. Don't fall for any old bollox that you can have 'best of both worlds' - whichever way you go, there will be an upside and a downside. Just be clear that you understand and are happy with both.

Long term, the future may be brighter, there is much work underway to make transition between volunteer reserve, part-time and regular service seamless, it's not going to deliver in the immediate future, but in 10 years time, the distinctions and barriers between the different forms of employment could be largely removed. So - whichever way you go, get on with it! :)
Thanks Richard.

Completely agree with no best of both worlds, clear upsides and downsides to both.

At 28, 3-4 years seems a very short time frame to be back in civvy street looking for new options.
 

Wee Hawken

Old-Salt
It didn't. I was on an FTRS contract (Full Time Reserve Service) which is time bound, although lots of people can and do extend or renew. I wanted to convert, I had Commanding Officer and Brigade Commander support, but manning and records said no. They couldn't make my profile fit their template.

You can't beat the system!
I was in the same position, albeit at 28 rather than 30 and probably +/- ten years previous to you. Unfortunately Options for Change and the fact that we were losing a Bn at the time dictated otherwise. No real regrets as I have done other interesting things and probably would have been out by now anyway.

Your advice to the OP is spot on. He would be walking away from quite a lot for possibly not very much - especially at a time when lively deployments are thin on the ground.
 
Thanks for the feedback everybody.

My head is telling me I can get everything I want to out of the reserves. I would be looking to join the local infantry unit.
Yes. Do this. You have all the fun and camaraderie you want. If you go Reg you will need to rebuild your life when out.
 

Jimmys92

Swinger
Attended my first drill night last night and had a really enjoyable time.

A great bunch of guys, and it's obvious they 'want' to be there VS have to be there
 
Having done both I would say that in a few years you may regret not having tried regular service. I have a lot of time for the reserves but it quite simply isn’t the same.

You’d be fine up to captain, which is when a lot of people look elsewhere anyway as the job becomes more office based as less about leading ‘the men’.

You just need to decide whether you want a six year adventure and then join the reserves with something to offer. Or not.
 

Leo93

Swinger
Attended my first drill night last night and had a really enjoyable time.

A great bunch of guys, and it's obvious they 'want' to be there VS have to be there
What're your thoughts now mate? I am 27.5years old and in the same boat. Just completed my BT Bravo so 'officially' a semi-trained reservist. But really considered regulars...

Just don't know where my head is at.
 

Jimmys92

Swinger
What're your thoughts now mate? I am 27.5years old and in the same boat. Just completed my BT Bravo so 'officially' a semi-trained reservist. But really considered regulars...

Just don't know where my head is at.
Do you want to inbox me mate and we can have a phonecall and I can run through my thoughts and processes!
 

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