Does anyone actually regret joining the forces?

Hi all,

I've recently passed selection and have been accepted into the Army (Royal Artillery) - with my phase 1 beginning on the 1st November at Pirbright.

Obviously, i've gave this change of career a hell of a lot of thought - I'm currently working for Network Rail in a decent position and would be taking a considerable pay cut in order to join up, plus I have finished two colleges and lived on the other side of the country for a year to be where i am now - so it's quite a decision to be making.

However, i'm still adament that this is what i want to do and that all in all - the good things that come from being in the forces outweigh the bad.


Does anyone seriously regret joining the forces, and if so then why?

Alternatively, has anyone been in a similar position to myself - joined the Army and haven't since looked back?

Any constructive responses to this will go some way towards re assuring me that what i'm doing is/isn't the right thing for me to be doing; I'm due to hand in my notice of leave from work next month, and naturally i'm heavily scrutinising any decision(s) that I make from now until then before there is no going back! Cheers lads.

Thanks again,

Stu, just do it mate. No regrets at all, best thing i ever did. Best mates I ever had. Wish I could turn the clock back.
I've had a great time, especially the first few years as a young singly living in the Mess.
Well, I know that I'd have been further on in my civvy career if I hadn't joined, but then again I wouldn't be the same person so swings and roundabouts. If I had to do it over with the knowledge of today I'd join again and either do a shorter engagement and get civvying earlier or fight tooth and nail for the full engagement. It's something I look back on with pride.


Book Reviewer
I joined as a fucked-up young teenager far too long ago. The Army turned around what could well have been a wasted life, and I had a bloody good time into the bargain, making mates that I'll never lose.

I don't ever regret joining up - best move I ever made.
I joined as an Army Apprentice when I was sixteen, was retired at 40, and then did a further twentyfive years in Civvy Strasse. I missed it when I came out, but never regretted it for a minute. Crack on Stu, the mates you make will be yours for life.
I haven't been in your position Stu_J, but I known some who have. It's a personal choice and one only you can make. . . .

. . However if it helps, you need to put some things into perspective:

Training will be hard, tedious, monotonous and (to some) completely pointless, but there's always a reason, you just won't see it, and when you do, you'll understand. Don't give up, it's all a challenge and you're not scared of those by your training/relocation?

When you join your unit you'll be at the bottom of a very hierarchical system and you'll wonder what all the dig deal was about, passing out or completing your trade training. It all gets better and soon you'll be stepping up that notional ladder, Respect has to be earned remember.

The RA fight and play hard, so be prepared to always be on top of your game if you want to progress, and don't get sucked in by others who are disillusioned with Army life and always look for the negatives. (this goes for Basic as well)

Sign up for every course, Adventure training or activity you can. No one will do if for you and it'll get you away from the monotony of barrack life and you'll experience some cracking things. Those who sit around in camp weekend after weekend doing the same things don't tend to last.

Lastly, you really get to understand the definiton of Camaraderie. You'll receive a different outlook on life that only those that have walked in your shoes can understand.

Me, I joined at 16 and never regretted a single second of it. I also suspect that the majority of this site will concure with that too.
I left school with no idea of what I wanted to do, or who I wanted to be. I grew up as a pad brat, both parents were in the army, and decided that I'd give it a bash. I served 14 years and, as with any job, there were good times and bad. However, there is no accounting for the friends you make or the experiences you gain. I wouldn't change a day of it, even the bad ones because they've shaped who I've become. I'm now a civvy earning a decent wage, doing a job that as a youngster I didn't even know existed, all because I joined the army. At the end of the day your service is what you make it and you get out what you put in. Cliched, I know, but true all the same. Go for it and enjoy it. Good luck.
Oh also, would anyone frequent this site if they'd joined up, it had been a disaster and they then regretted it?

Just a thought
I have two regrets: 1) I didn't join sooner and 2) I didn't stay in longer.

Really this is the wrong site to expect anyone who hated being in the Army to comment. If they did, they're hardly likely to join in here...
Thanks for the comments lads, i've read through the lot of them and I welcome further posts to be made!

I see what you're getting at when you say that only people who actually enjoy army life would sign up to this forum - but then again, there could always be people who are on here looking for advice about leaving, careers in civvy street, etc... so thats not necessarily the case.

Right now i'm really looking forward to it, though I can imagine phase 1 being a bastard in the middle of winter :D

This thread was created out of interest and curiosity, as well as a tool to help re assure myself that i'm doing the right thing - so far it has done just that.

Thanks again
Go for it and enjoy the life time experience! Even if later, you think it's not for you, at least you've had a crack at it and not always think 'what if...?' I was RA and can honestly say that it's a great regiment to be a part of. You will, as has already been pointed out, make friends for life!
I joined at 16 and left at 40, would I do it all again given the chance! Oh yes! You will meet people who will become like family to you and others who will just be in your life for a couple of years. I left 3 years ago and miss the lifestyle and everything that goes with it.
Well if you don't join you are going to be tarred with the brush of being a civvy, which in my opinion is pretty shite.

Join, you won't look back. You will make mates for life, have experiences that civvys can only ever envy, but above all that the pride and camadrie you will hold will be unbelievable.
Depends what you mean about regret, there are some days when I wish I was a civvie usually when I'm trapped and have no other option but to do some work and other days I'm think very few civvies would ever have it so good usually when I'm in a bar in Belize/Canada/Croatia/Oman/Germany and getting extra pay for being there.
People might sometimes do their 22 and think they could have done better on civvie street but equally they could have done worse.
If you join and decide you could do better or its not for you you only have to serve four years during which time you can get as many qualifications (free) as you can to help you back in civvie street.
Some of the things you do in the army you will never have the opportunity to do in civvie street.
Stu, take it from someone who knows, you will have a great time. The world is your oyster so make the best of it! I did from August 1967 until May 2007.

My ex-husband hated every minute of his 9 year service. He joined the RE in the mid-80's, aged 17 1/2, partly because there were no jobs about and partly because his dad (ex-R Sigs) told him he'd never be able to hack it. His first posting was Hameln with 28 Amphibious Regt and in an attempt to get kicked out he got pissed up and smashed up half a dozen cars belonging to the local civpop. Result? Fine and soldier on!

His basic problem was he hated being told what to do and had a massive chip on his shoulder. I must admit I was probably why he didn't PVR as I explained to him that he would get told what to do in civvy street as well. Needless to say, since joining civvy street he hasn't kept the same job for longer than six months...
I keep badgering my nephew to join up as he's going from job to job and going nowhere. As has been stated already, you won't regret it (unless you get killed of course!)

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