Am I daft? / Will I be OK?

Discussion in 'Officers' started by Joe.S, Jun 16, 2008.

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  1. Good afternoon all,

    I have done a fair bit of reading about on the officer threads here, if I am recovering old ground I apologise.
    I am, as so many on here are, looking for a spot of advice.

    My situation is as follows: I am a teacher in an excellent school. I am head of my department and also a house master. In a relatively short space of time, I have made a successful career of teaching. I am paid well and get good holidays. I live with my girlfriend and am generally happy. I am 27.

    When I left university, I was torn between following a career in teaching or in the army. I had attended the RCB (as was) brief and with a cat 1 was onwards to the main board. I was not wholly sure of my choice though and opted instead to pursue teaching. The reasons for this were not specific, just a young man not being sure what he wanted to do. I also figured that I could explore teaching without having to make as great a commitment.

    This decision turned out to work fine and lead me to where I am now. Since deciding not to go to the main board and pursue the army, it (army career) has sat at the back of my mind. With the clock running on my age, I have decided to 'scratch my itch' and re-apply. I have met with an AFCO, have a briefing booked and am in the process of lining up a number of visits.

    I am motivated by the chance to really stretch and challenge myself again both physically and mentally. To learn a whole new set of skills, to try and bring to bear what I have learnt in education to a differnt career. I am also aware that teaching would be easy to pick up again after I had spent some time in the army (if the army wanted me).

    My questions to you all are:
    1. To what extent will my age adversley affect me (would be 28 going into RMAS) either in selection, at RMAS, in choice of arm, on being an older subaltern?
    2. Whilst I am keen to investigate all options, I am not yet at the point of resigning - someone somewhere else pointed out the idiom about time spent on recce rarely being wasted. I fully intend to use my visits to gather as much information as possible. However, any thoughts form anyone on avenues that I might want to explore? Options that might be open to me?
    3. I would welcome any general advice for someone weighing up the merits of joining with considerable upheaval.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Its either

    yes no


    no yes
  3. Age won't be a problem at RMAS provided you can play the game and keep up with the fit 21 year olds in your platoon;

    Age won't be a problem when you arrive at your eventual regiment provided you don't try to patronise people;

    I know one contemporary of mine (albeit this was some time ago) who was an accountant who left the City to join the RDGs. His age hasn't held him back. Far from it.
  4. Ravers

    Ravers LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Join the TA. Stay in teaching, but still get to do all the decent Army stuff. No brainer really.
  5. Ravers said: Join the TA, still get to do all the decent Army stuff???

    If this is a wah then I have bitten, being an officer in the TA is poles apart from being an officer in the regular army, being an Army officer is a way of life, whilst living in the mess you live and breath the army.

    To answer your questions:

    1. Your age will not be an issue, you may even find it an advantage.

    2. I don’t think any avenues will be closed to you, look at as many as possible.

    3. Only you can answer question 3.
  6. msr

    msr LE

    You can kiss that lot goodbye then ;)

    Speak to your local TA unit.

  7. Ravers

    Ravers LE Reviewer Book Reviewer


    I'm not doubting for one minute that life as a regular officer is completely different to being a reservist, however Joe is quite clearly well established and settled in his current job and lifestyle, I am merely pointing out the fact that there are more options available to him, including the TA.

    No matter how good or bad forces life may look from the outside, it is a huge life decision to take, especially when it involves taking a large pay cut and moving away from your other half.

    I stand by my original statement that with this new 'One Army' concept there is a lot more open to the TA and the opportunities available are increasing all the time. Personally I have done just as much if not more since I left the regular forces.
  8. A very critical point will be the capbadge that you go for. You are definitely right in doing your homework before taking the plunge. As a teacher in civvy street, you may find yourself more temperamentally suited to the equivalent trade within the Army, or possibly Int Corps, but don't take my word for it.

    At 27 you are still well in the physical bracket for RMAS - I went through the 'hurst with a 27 year old female in my Coy - and she was about top of the middle third in terms of fitness within the Coy as a whole. On that score you should be OK, provided you do your prep correctly.
  9. So that's both the good pay and holidays down the tube, then?

    And the girlfriend....!

    Why on earth would you want to swap what sounds like an idyllic lifestyle in a well-funded school for a life where you will be living a hand-to-mouth existence for several years in an organisation that does not have the support of the Government?! ISTR that the mantra was "Education, Education, Education" rather than "Defence, Defence, Defence".


    PS. Can I look after your girlfriend once she ditches you? :twisted:
  10. The only word of advice I would give is to google LTOS or Length Terms of Service. If you go in at 27 and pass out at 28, you will not be able to be promoted to captain until 33, and (even if classed as 'exceptional') to Major at 38. If you want to just do it for a few years until the 'itch is scratched' then fine, but if you were considering a longer-term career you will be significantly older than your peer group, and your promotion prospects will suffer as a result.
  11. At risk of getting into a slightly pedantic debate (and with the sneaking suspicion that Brandt has at least a vague grasp of reality), doesn't LTOS still take into account the antedate of seniority given to graduates? In that case, our friend would Commission at 28, Lt a year later, and to Capt eighteen months after that. That would mean his 'first look' at a Majority at around 35 (which is still almost dead, though not quite fossilized).

    I agree that starting early is for the best if you have ambitions to the General Staff, but if poking bayonets into HM's enemies is what you're after, then it's quite fashionable at the moment.
  12. I am going through the AOSB process (main board August) albeit much much younger (19). There was a chap at my 1st mainboard (long story short I buggered up) who was 28 and just coming out of the Royal Marines. The only disadvantage he faced was that infantry regiments prefer to have younger 2nd Lt's (apparently). On the plus side for him was 8 years previous experience in the forces. I never found out how he did.

    the whole experience was a bit strange particularly because he was the oldest person there and I was the youngest, everyone else was 21, 22 or 23 with university degrees (a couple with docterates).
  13. Joe.S the other thing you need to consider is what you will do if you stay within the teaching profession. By your own words you are in a good school, already head of your own department and a house master. Where do you see you teaching career going? Unless you move out of the classroom into school management there seams to be little reason to move schools and you could end up staying in the same school for most of your working life.

    The rules for eligibility for promotion to Captain and Major are governed by your Commissioning Date (CD): For Captain it is CD + 5 Years Reckonable Service (RS) and Major is CD + 11 Years (RS). Your first degree will count towards your RS and for a 3 year degree you get 3 years RS.

    Up until last year there was an age filter applied in selecting Lt Cols for command positions. Basically if you joined RMAS when you where 28 or 29 the LToS system meant that you could never get a Regular Command. As a result career managers and appointment boards would be less likely to assign you the perceived ‘crunchy’ Majors jobs that would set you up with the right profile to have a shot at becoming a CO. This was changed last year and there are no age filters applied anymore. In theory it is now a level playing field and it does not matter how old you are when you join.
  14. There seems to be a common view that teaching is better paid than commissioned service in the army. That may be true, but is not necessarily so. You will need to do your research. I spent 5 minutes on google (which I accept is not the most authoritative piece of research!) and my superficial investigation seems to suggest that a captain would be on £35,000 to £42,000 (ish) whereas an experienced teacher would get £34,000 to £40,000 (plus bolt-ons for additional responsibilities.

    Yes, you will take a pay cut initially, but the two careers do not seem to be a million miles apart in terms of money. If you are willing to live with a degree of financial loss, then there are other more fundamental questions to answer:

    How badly do I want to do this? If I do not do it, is that something I will regret in years to come?
    What if it goes t*ts up? Can I get back into teaching (I suggest that the teaching profession would have you back in a flash)

    How important is my relationship with my girlfriend? What does my girlfriend think? How committed are we to each other? Where do we stand on the marriage/lifelong relationship/babies/family thing?

    If you decide that you want to do it, your gf will support you (or it doesn't matter whether she does or not), and you have researched the financial angle and consider that it is doable, then you need to consider whether you are willing and able to undergo the whole business of Sandhurst, back to basics, fitness, competing with 21 year olds, being shouted at thing, AND, the new career and starting at the bottom of the pile again thing.

    If you decide after all that to go for it then good luck and let us know how it goes!
  15. This is a big one. At the moment you are stable in one place. As soon as you join up then you will be off to Sandhurst and separated for a time. After that you will be sent to a destination that is unlikely to be close to where you are now. Will she follow you? Would she be happy to be an Army wife? Does she have a stable job and wishes to keep it? If the latter and you go to say, Germany, then how often will you see each other? Often enough to keep the relationship afloat?

    How important is she? You may actually want to keep her happy and so as mentioned perhaps the TA is an option. Or maybe a short-service stint followed by a TA career may give you the best of both worlds. If she can see a term to this and then a return to 'normality' then perhaps it might be easier on her.

    Plus the fact that your attitudes and character will undergo modifications in the Green Machine, this will change the way she sees you, and the way you see her.

    Just some of the questions you must talk over with her and your conscience. Hope you sort it out and good luck.

    Look on a bright side, you cannot use automatic weapons in the classroom, you can against the little rascals you may be facing.