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Is the job/lifestyle really that bad?

Doris_2013

Old-Salt
Putting serious consideration into applying for RMAS next year as so far the job description and from chatting to a couple of current serving guys who do the job I'm interested in, it certainly has ticked a lot of boxes for my interests, career and lifestyle wise. I've experienced civvie life with a fairly decent CV under my belt, I'm not a fresh out of uni bored 21 year old and far too old and ugly to fall for the recruitment publications hyperbole.

BUT I'm hearing so much negativity about life in green (some of which has come from friends) plus reading a heck of a lot online which has led to me asking this question. Is all genuinely true that the job is awful, the Army is in dire straights, there's naff all to do or are people just jumping on the bang wagon because moaning is what people do?

I grew up in and have dated the military lifestyle (met some Ruperts too that couldn't spell integrity, let alone recognised it when it bit their red trousers) so the environment wouldn't be 100% new to me and I know it's not all tea and medals and croquet on the lawn, but please tell me there are some of you out there who still enjoy their job?

Yours,

Doris
 
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Lifestyle-wise, yes, I think I can say I enjoy those parts of the Army! I have a great circle of friends that change on posting every two years, I keep in touch with the people I really like and the genuine knobbers I keep a suitable distance from. The pay's not bad and from what I've seen of the pension changes, I'll still be able to draw a reasonable pension, although I've no idea what it will be like for someone joining now. Mess life, although slightly changed with the introduction of Pay As You Dine is still good fun, although like all Messes, you will only get out what effort you put in!

Job-wise, however, is a different kettle of aquatic creatures. When I first started out, I was like all young men: keen, green and firmly believed the "Be The Best" recruiting slogan. Being a Pl Comd was a blur of extremely enjoyable exercises, ops and socials and even in camp the banter flew thick and fast making for a great few highly memorable first years! Your initial years as a Subaltern will be great. If not, you're simply not doing it right.

Fast forward several years and it's a different story. As I've moved away from Regimental life into a succession of dreary staff jobs broken by thankful spells at RD, I've been filled with a slowly mounting horror at just how dysfunctional some areas of the Army and wider MOD are. I've been slowly depressed by the successive cuts to T&S, minor works, upgrade programmes and equally aghast at how badly run major changes are - see the thread on the Army 2020 NAO report for just one example. I've worked on things that are utterly futile, defy logic and are ridiculously financially wasteful and yet no one wants to listen to the "off message" opinions of a lowly mid ranking officer. I've felt the pressure to sit at my desk in a HQ somewhere until "ridiculous-o-clock" to be seen to be working hard, until the Grown Ups have finally gone home despite the fact I have a wife and children living in a run down SFA quarter miles away from jobs and civilisation who probably need some quality time as well.

And then... and then.... I just stopped caring. Just like that. Cynicism has replaced a sense of duty. Sarcasm has replaced value. My love for my Regiment and soldiers remains a strong a bond as it ever was and I would and will dig out blind for them when it comes to it. But I just can't bring myself to thrash myself over and over again to deliver what the Army wants outside of this. I can't add any value to process as deviations from the norm are first frowned upon, then punished. I can't add new ideas, as ideas cost money we don't have. I can't "up" my work rate as the job I currently do relies upon the input of contractors, sub-contractors and my CS counterparts. I read military history and I stare wistfully at the pictures of my counterparts who served in World War Two. It seems it takes a War of National Survival to truly allow real innovation, real initiative and real courage to flourish in the Service of our Country. I'm sure that was something that was once encouraged at Sandhurst.

So am I enjoying the later years of my job?

Not really.

Would I do it all again tomorrow?

Damn right, it's been ******* hilarious. :-D
 
What job are you thinking of doing?

RMAS, the older ones in my intake (27+) got annoyed at the pettiness of it all, especially those who had been successful enough in the civillian world prior to joining. Getting screamed at for not having shiny enough shoes seemed silly.

First job post RMAS, for majority of cap badges is great fun. After that, unless you are lucky and get the jobs you want then it does become a job and not a calling. I had it described to me by someone who left recently thus: "Yes, every night I go home, to my home, that I can decorate and do what I like with, but I have an hour's commute each way. The crushing lows have gone, but so have the dizzying highs, replaced, instead with a stable but monotonous existence"

Dependent on which cap badge you go, the job post RD could be great or rubbish. If you are single, or married with a spouse who can travel then great, you could go to Canada, Germany, Kenya, Cyprus, Belize etc. If you have a long term partner then lots of weeks away, being posted abroad and having your weekends filled with duty can be a drag.
 

Doris_2013

Old-Salt

As a 27 year old, the shiny shoes 'there's more to life' thing had already crossed the mind. I kinda see it as a bit of a game (for want of a better phrase) at times and you have just try and adjust accordingly I assume? That said a pair of my boots got 10 layers of polish and bulling treatment the other night so maybe I'd fit right in?!

Currently I'm single with no commitments so the chance of travel appeals too.
 
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Doris_2013

Old-Salt
Then you hit an RHQ / staff job. Ah.

My next question would be thus, is the staff job and all its problems any different to being in an equivalent position in the civvie world at the moment?

Friends in the Civil Service and Higher Ed would say no regarding the amount of BS they're dealing with amongst other issues and battles, and certainly not dissimilar to what Alan Patridge posted above.
 
. Plus as a 27 year old, the shiny shoes 'there's more to life' thing had already crossed the mind. I kinda see it as a bit of a game (for want of a better phrase) at times and you have just try and adjust accordingly I assume?.

I was 27 at Sandhurst too and as you pointed out, by seeing 'shiny shoes' as a game it didn't really bother me and I'm sure you would be fine too. I think being an older troopy did frustrate me in the Mess at times. There is a definite pecking order and troopies are at the bottom!
 

Doris_2013

Old-Salt
I was 27 at Sandhurst too and as you pointed out, by seeing 'shiny shoes' as a game it didn't really bother me and I'm sure you would be fine too. I think being an older troopy did frustrate me in the Mess at times. There is a definite pecking order and troopies are at the bottom!

As yes, rank, not the person.
 
Once past troop command you will likely be behind a desk.

Is this worse than the bullshit in civvy street? Not really, PCS is more comfortable than a suit, gym membership is paid for Mess life can be amazing or it can be rubbish, but then so can any job in any new city with or without mates. It ultimately depends on what you want to do, want to be able to finish most Friday's at lunch time? Then army it is. Want to be able to commit to weddings, holidays, go home every night etc then life at RD is not for you.
 

Doris_2013

Old-Salt
Once past troop command you will likely be behind a desk.

Is this worse than the bullshit in civvy street? Not really, PCS is more comfortable than a suit, gym membership is paid for Mess life can be amazing or it can be rubbish, but then so can any job in any new city with or without mates. It ultimately depends on what you want to do, want to be able to finish most Friday's at lunch time? Then army it is. Want to be able to commit to weddings, holidays, go home every night etc then life at RD is not for you.

Sorry for the slow reply. Interesting about no commitments, what I'm doing currently is a bit more lifestyle than 9-5 so that doesn't worry me as much as it would some.

I'm still incredibly tempted as the benefits outweigh a lot of other things. My only other fear is life in the mess as a troopie as I'm not a massive drinker. Plus being a civvie in a mess one evening was an interesting fly on the wall situation regarding how people interacted with each other, especially if not massive drinkers...
 
Sorry for the slow reply. Interesting about no commitments, what I'm doing currently is a bit more lifestyle than 9-5 so that doesn't worry me as much as it would some.

I'm still incredibly tempted as the benefits outweigh a lot of other things. My only other fear is life in the mess as a troopie as I'm not a massive drinker. Plus being a civvie in a mess one evening was an interesting fly on the wall situation regarding how people interacted with each other, especially if not massive drinkers...

If not a big drinker (as opposed to a non-drinker) you can still join in the fun but without making a tit of yourself and getting extras. You should find that your peers in the mess will respect a good person who is good at their job over a shit bloke who drinks lots.
 
I'm still incredibly tempted as the benefits outweigh a lot of other things. My only other fear is life in the mess as a troopie as I'm not a massive drinker. Plus being a civvie in a mess one evening was an interesting fly on the wall situation regarding how people interacted with each other, especially if not massive drinkers...

I'll agree with all that has been said on this. The first few years are awesome (being a big drinker or not). It soon descends into a desk job with occasional highlights of far-foreign lands, but mainly pushing paperwork/presentations round.
 

Doris_2013

Old-Salt
If not a big drinker (as opposed to a non-drinker) you can still join in the fun but without making a tit of yourself and getting extras. You should find that your peers in the mess will respect a good person who is good at their job over a shit bloke who drinks lots.

Good to know. I'm a couple of G&Ts and I'm done type rather than the games, the shots and drinking from a funnel

I'll agree with all that has been said on this. The first few years are awesome (being a big drinker or not). It soon descends into a desk job with occasional highlights of far-foreign lands, but mainly pushing paperwork/presentations round.

Thank you :)
 

Doris_2013

Old-Salt
Just wanted to bump this to say, that despite all your informative posts and my interest, I sadly won't even pass the medical to get to AOSB, let alone Sandhurst. Moreover, after a lot of research, it's not something that will get passed on appeal, despite it not impacting on my fitness, every day life and doesn't run the risk of me collapsing in a heap.

Just infuriating when recruitment numbers are so low and I've had comments of 'you're just what we're after/need' away from the AFCOs and instead from those in the job. :-x
 
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Dispatches

Swinger
I'm very sorry to hear that you won't get an opportunity to experience RMAS and the lifestyle of the Army.

I hope that you enjoy whatever you now turn your hand to-the Army is definitely not the be all and end all!
 

Doris_2013

Old-Salt
I'm very sorry to hear that you won't get an opportunity to experience RMAS and the lifestyle of the Army.

I hope that you enjoy whatever you now turn your hand to-the Army is definitely not the be all and end all!

Thanks - I've since been told to push it so I'm now battling the hell that is the recruitment process. That said, the way it is going, I doubt I'll make it to AOSB anyway. Useless process.
 

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