Life after ~5yrs as an officer?

#1
I hope this doesnt sound condescending/arrogant, though it probably will so apologies for that.
I've spent ages reading these forums and its def given me more insight into aspects of the army than other sources. Good find!

I am however concerned about what I might find myself doing when i leave the army, if i do indeed man up and go ahead with it. I only plan a SSC of about 5yrs or so, which will take me up till I'm about 30.

I've heard all the chat about this and that "very employable in industry", "sandhurst looks amazing on your cv" etc... but I dont believe much of this. I know of too many people who were told this and now work in jobs they could have done when they left uni and adjusting has been a complete nightmare. In fact, I can honestly say I havent heard of anyone who has made a real go of it since leaving and this is pretty shocking for the number of guys I do know who have left.

I'm just a bit worried that all my uni mates are working in oil companies in aberdeen etc or consultancy type places and earning an absolute mint, and while money isnt the incentive, I do think with a masters in engineering maybe im being stupid considering the army. i dunno?

Anyone know of any success stories/tips for what to do on leaving after a shortish stint as an officer?

Like I said, I dont mean to sound offensive here. The army is the only thing Ive ever really wanted to do, but at the same time I dont want to be doing some graduate trainee thing at age 30 or being stuck with people 10yrs younger than me and with no chance of being able to "make it" in life.

Cheers.
 
B

Biscuits_AB

Guest
#2
Why not consider the TA mate. That way you'll get the best of both worlds and you can always walk away if it isn't for you or clashes with your civilian career.

You seem to be between a rock and a hard place right now, so the TA may take some of the heat from your decision making. It'll also give you a better insight as to whether the whole Army thing is actually for you.
 
#3
GlasgowEng said:
I hope this doesnt sound condescending/arrogant, though it probably will so apologies for that.
I've spent ages reading these forums and its def given me more insight into aspects of the army than other sources. Good find!

I am however concerned about what I might find myself doing when i leave the army, if i do indeed man up and go ahead with it. I only plan a SSC of about 5yrs or so, which will take me up till I'm about 30.

I've heard all the chat about this and that "very employable in industry", "sandhurst looks amazing on your cv" etc... but I dont believe much of this. I know of too many people who were told this and now work in jobs they could have done when they left uni and adjusting has been a complete nightmare. In fact, I can honestly say I havent heard of anyone who has made a real go of it since leaving and this is pretty shocking for the number of guys I do know who have left.

I'm just a bit worried that all my uni mates are working in oil companies in aberdeen etc or consultancy type places and earning an absolute mint, and while money isnt the incentive, I do think with a masters in engineering maybe im being stupid considering the army. i dunno?

Anyone know of any success stories/tips for what to do on leaving after a shortish stint as an officer?

Like I said, I dont mean to sound offensive here. The army is the only thing Ive ever really wanted to do, but at the same time I dont want to be doing some graduate trainee thing at age 30 or being stuck with people 10yrs younger than me and with no chance of being able to "make it" in life.

Cheers.
if your not 100% sure dont join mate it may be an idea to crack on and get 2 or 3 years experience in your chosen field in civvy street since you have spent so long at uni.... then once you have some experience in engineering you could always join up if thats still what you wanted and it wouldn't matter as much when you got out after 5 yrs because you wouldnt be a new boy with all the graduate trainees.
good luck and what are you thinking of joining?
 
#4
galsgoweng: The money is pretty damn good further in to the career (all though I would guess it is "slightly" less thansomeone in the oil industry. You could look at it this way; if you really want to be an army officer then good for you you may not have the financial rewards (that someone in big business would have) but you would have the personal satisfaction in performing your duty as well as the "adventure" and excitment of military life. The money may be good in business but what is the point if you hate the job?

I dont think you would like to be saying "what if?" when your too old to do anything about it.
Out of interest why only 5 years? (do you not fancy a full career of it?)
 
#5
Biscuits_AB said:
Why not consider the TA mate. That way you'll get the best of both worlds and you can always walk away if it isn't for you or clashes with your civilian career.

You seem to be between a rock and a hard place right now, so the TA may take some of the heat from your decision making. It'll also give you a better insight as to whether the whole Army thing is actually for you.
i started thinking about this option after making the original post, but i semi concluded that i dont really want a civilian life for a while and do think the army is for me. i just want options when i leave that dont amount to what i could do now. i think the ta is prob a very good idea though, but get a hunch id be a bit bitter i wasnt doing it full time!
love your profile pic btw! :D
 
#6
[/quote] if your not 100% sure dont join mate it may be an idea to crack on and get 2 or 3 years experience in your chosen field in civvy street since you have spent so long at uni.... then once you have some experience in engineering you could always join up if thats still what you wanted and it wouldn't matter as much when you got out after 5 yrs because you wouldnt be a new boy with all the graduate trainees.
good luck and what are you thinking of joining?[/quote]

thing is i think out and out engineering is really dull and i think i stuck it out at uni so long just because its a numerical degree and would open doors, the oil industry is as far as id want to use it technically really and thats almost entirely for the money! if i had some direction in civvie street it would be ok but i dont really and sometimes wonder if the army appeals purely because of the structure and it almost defers more decision making on my part for a while.
also good idea though, cheers mate. would worry id be suckered and never leave though. mates who have been working in the industry for half a year or so sound, well, "broken"...and trapped!
id definetly want to join RE (despite what i say, its not the engineering ive grown to hate at uni!) and fancy specialising in commando or para units because i fancy the challenge and enjoy being fit.
thanks for good luck, think i need it! :p
 
#7
fusil89 said:
galsgoweng: The money is pretty damn good further in to the career (all though I would guess it is "slightly" less thansomeone in the oil industry. You could look at it this way; if you really want to be an army officer then good for you you may not have the financial rewards (that someone in big business would have) but you would have the personal satisfaction in performing your duty as well as the "adventure" and excitment of military life. The money may be good in business but what is the point if you hate the job?

I dont think you would like to be saying "what if?" when your too old to do anything about it.
Out of interest why only 5 years? (do you not fancy a full career of it?)
this is all true. i'm not sure if its because i'm an only child or something but i'm finding it impossible to justify this to the parents. although i totally agree. i see a life in whatever route my uni colleagues took as being pretty average/bland, yeah fine nice money but a mediocre life. army seems a life of peaks and troughs. some total shit times but equally some out of this world experiences, and id rather take the latter!

5 or so years has appeal really just to settle down at the end of it as i imagine i will want to and have a family. like the idea of doing my "duty" as you say, and also having the status as i suppose as having been in the army, though in this day and age it doesnt appear to be as highly respected as it once was (is my observation anyway, which i find sad). the "what if" question is a bit scary! i also reckon id rather leave when im still doing more hands on type stuff and more at the coalface than higher up if that makes sense.

actually, perhaps thats my reasons and ambitions for a relatively short army career are not an attitude entirely welcomed in the army??

thanks for posts guys. good to bounce ideas of some like-minded people :D
 
#8
Glasgoweng. The fact you are looking at life ahead and thinking that civil engineering in itself would probably be dull is surely reason enough to join and see how you feel. Five years in the overall scheme of things is not a long time. That said your opinions are likely to change a little once you do join and a fixed time frame may well change with that.

A period of time spent gathering a well rounded set of life experiences should generally be thought of as a good thing which will sit well in future life.

Be aware that a lot of your time as a Troopie will not be spent doing hands on engineering, a range of activities not at all related to engineering will await you.

Get in there and good luck!
 
B

Brandt

Guest
#9
Almost all of my peer group have now left, and many other officers I have known- a vast number at the age of 30 or thereabouts (wives & kids start to arrive, etc). Almost all of them have done well outside, some extremely so. What is common to most is that, when given the chance (and lots of alcohol) they will say they miss the Army. The fact is that (whatever your Arm/Service) you do things in the Army you simply can't do elsewhere: exciting, hard, extraordinary things. Furthermore, whilst Army service may not help you to get another job later, it will certainly help you perform better when you do have a second career.
 
#10
Two points:

Most of the people I know who left between the five and twenty year point have done really well outside, some have done outstaningly well after being quite average officers.

Given the shortage of engineers in oil and gas, you should have no trouble in catching up after a five year commission. Also, working a remote oil and gas location (eg in Africa) is very similar to being on an fairly benign op tour. Same atmosphere with the blokes, hard graft and bit of danger (and of course much better money). As a non-engineer, it was a great springboard into business for me on leaving the army.
 
#11
The next 5 years within Civvy industy is going to be a nightmare, If you have an engineering degree you may find the job prospects short term for civvies is dreadfull.
5 years is not a long time in the Army and you may progress within that time futher than a civvy would.
Give it a few years to see if its for you, if not, when you come out the recession will be over, sort of Win Win Situation
Good luck either way
 
#12
GlasgowEng said:
Biscuits_AB said:
Why not consider the TA mate. That way you'll get the best of both worlds and you can always walk away if it isn't for you or clashes with your civilian career.

You seem to be between a rock and a hard place right now, so the TA may take some of the heat from your decision making. It'll also give you a better insight as to whether the whole Army thing is actually for you.
i started thinking about this option after making the original post, but i semi concluded that i dont really want a civilian life for a while and do think the army is for me. i just want options when i leave that dont amount to what i could do now. i think the ta is prob a very good idea though, but get a hunch id be a bit bitter i wasnt doing it full time!
love your profile pic btw! :D

Funnily enough I'm 25 now and in the process of joining. I'd be 26 and 49 weeks should I join in January coming and pass out the following january.

I finished uni with a physics degree. I have been working behind a desk in the financial sector (well, conferencing for assets allocation strategies. Yes, as fun as it sounds) since 2007 (with a different event job before that since 2004).
Its odd because I started thinking about going the TA route but the more I got into the process, the more I realised I wanted something with more satifcation the a civilian job, hence my shift to a full time application.

I sometimes worry about what I might do when/if I come out, but I'm not going to worry about that I have since decided. If I make a full time career out of it great, but if not I'm not going to make a mountain out of a mole hill for something that I cannot plan for.
 
#13
Just a personal account of how it worked for me, I went to Sandhurst with good A levels but without a degree at 20 and left after 5 years as an Infantry Officer. As a non grad Lt I was on something like 26k. I struggled to get many job offers but was lucky enough to get a job in a business development/sales role on a basic of 26k. After a few months adjusting, I did very well and earned 52k with bonuses. I now manage a team of people and I target ex-Army officers when I'm hiring. I earn more now than peers who went the Uni/graduate scheme route, I doubt I would have done quite so well without my Army experience.

My view is if you do 5 years in the Army and leave at 30, you are probably less likely to enter a new career at the same level as someone who didn't join the Army so has 5 years more experience than you. However (and this is the point), by the age of, say 33, you are likely to have overtaken in earnings and responsibility.
 
#14
glasgoweng,
Normally I am very supportive of everyone who is looking at joining the army - but I can't really do that this time, and it is not that you are condescending or arrogant. I think from reading your post that you seem to view the army as some lifestyle choice which will get in the way of ultimately achieving your monetary goals. I won't comment on why you are a 25 year old just finished uni but unless you have been doing a 7 year degree then you may not be the most motivated person - which is what you really need to be if you want to get through Sandhurst and then gain the priviledge of commanding soldiers - a point that I missed from your initial post.
Anyway don't take it personally but by the sound of it you would be better off chasing the big bucks in some other industry. Good luck with your chosen career.
whf
 
#15
I am surprised that whilst at Glasgow (?) University, you did not "test" or "prove" your interest in, and commitment to, the Army by joining the UOTC. It was helpful to my son (who left Aberdeen University about ten years ago), in his deliberations about joining. He was commissioned as an officer with the Ghurkhas. (However, those considerations are now in the "past tense").

Forty years ago, I was in a similar position to yourself - but, debating a career in the automotive industry (we had one then !), whilst maintaing my interest in the military by joining the TA; or, going for a commission and reading the Mess copy of "Autocar" every week.

From my AVATAR, is should be obvious that I decided on the former option. Although, it was a close-run thing. The RMP called at my father’s house to enquire why I had not reported to Sandhurst, the same week I started at Fodens! (Some oversight on my behalf I am sure, but communications then, were not what they are today!).

I agree totally with "Biscuits_AB " advice. At least join the TA whilst you are ruminating. Rather than the local "Independent" TA Centre, I would suggest the specialist route. I don't know where the RE is based, but am pretty certain they should be able to put you through a fortnights recruit course; fortnights (to-)trade course; and even a fortnights "annual camp" in pretty quick succession - probably far quicker than you would with an Independent unit.

Implicit in the above, is that I am suggesting you start you TA career in the ranks.

If you take "Biscuits_AB " and my advice, that would at least ensure you have had a chance to "break-in", and have the best fitting boots, before you turn-up at Sandhurst - either for a regular commission, or by then you may have decided to remain with the TA, as a commissioned officer.
 
#16
wehappyfew said:
glasgoweng,
Normally I am very supportive of everyone who is looking at joining the army - but I can't really do that this time, and it is not that you are condescending or arrogant. I think from reading your post that you seem to view the army as some lifestyle choice which will get in the way of ultimately achieving your monetary goals. I won't comment on why you are a 25 year old just finished uni but unless you have been doing a 7 year degree then you may not be the most motivated person - which is what you really need to be if you want to get through Sandhurst and then gain the priviledge of commanding soldiers - a point that I missed from your initial post.
Anyway don't take it personally but by the sound of it you would be better off chasing the big bucks in some other industry. Good luck with your chosen career.
whf
took a year out after school to work in germany and learn the language. did a year work placement during uni at an MoD agency (which if anything encouraged me to look at army more from the serving guys i encountered there as opposed to civvie MoD people). did a masters (mech eng), which is 5yrs in scotland. taking me up to 25yrs old in 3months...spent 4 straight months last year getting up at 5am every single saturday and sunday to train for one race that lasted 7minutes. might be 100% lacking in direction and other things but i like to think the one good thing i could possibly offer the army some self motivation! ;) probably all of which deferred the decision im trying to make just now...

thanks for the post i do appreciate it mate. :) is it such a bad thing if its a lifestyle choice though? i dont think anyone can surely fit in if they dont totally embrace the lifestyle so they must to some extent? like i said before, this forum has opened my eyes to more aspects of the army than ive come across in the brochures/careers fairs etc..think you might have touched a nerve with the "go into another industry and earn big bucks" comment cos i think deep down i dont want to be told this!!! lol

its not that im driven by money, its just the question what do i do when i leave? too old for the grad schemes id have thought, but looking at the sunday papers today, what sort of level jobs are you looking at? i dont know what such an experience in the army equates to in civvy street? i know its obviously different. but perhaps if people knew of examples it would be really interesting to know?

edited: cos ive had a beer and it ruined my spelling...
 
#17
RCT(V) said:
I am surprised that whilst at Glasgow (?) University, you did not "test" or "prove" your interest in, and commitment to, the Army by joining the UOTC.
I did a year abroad during uni which got in the way a bit and wanted to commit more to a sport I was doing at the time. Also, when I spoke to the army careers advisor he was very much "concentrate on the degree and sport" - I'd done cadets and been to lots of army open day type things so *perhaps* I gave him the impression I knew what life was properly like in the army.

Thanks for your post. :lol:
 
#18
GlasgowEng

I was pretty much in your shoes a couple of years ago. (More than you think, I also studied Mech Eng at Glasgow and have a Masters, not in Mech though).

I considered joining before my Masters, doing a SSC, then doing my Masters and finding a high paid job. However, I couldn’t see myself going back to Uni after the Army, so decided to get the ‘Education’ over with.

I can see your concerns. After a SSC you feel that you will be too old to get into the working world and make the ‘big bucks’. I wouldn’t worry. Engineers will always be in demand all over the world and even if you don’t want to go into that field many doors will open for you and solutions will present themselves during your servive.

Engineering + RMAS + Service = Intelligence + Leadership + People Management + Team Player + Experience + etc…it’s an attractive package for any industry.

As a side, I currently work as a consultant in the Civil Eng sector, and it aint that great. Sure the pay is better, but you get taxed to the hilt on everything and spend so much money on general living, you end up with less money than a dole thief! Of the guys I know that are in the army, they have loads of money and savings because they just don’t get a chance to spend it!

Hope this helps. I best get back to ‘work’. Only you can decide what you want to do!

G82

P.S. Office life sucks and once in the Army, I dont plan on leaving!
 
#19
GlasgowEng said:
wehappyfew said:
glasgoweng,
Normally I am very supportive of everyone who is looking at joining the army - but I can't really do that this time, and it is not that you are condescending or arrogant. I think from reading your post that you seem to view the army as some lifestyle choice which will get in the way of ultimately achieving your monetary goals. I won't comment on why you are a 25 year old just finished uni but unless you have been doing a 7 year degree then you may not be the most motivated person - which is what you really need to be if you want to get through Sandhurst and then gain the priviledge of commanding soldiers - a point that I missed from your initial post.
Anyway don't take it personally but by the sound of it you would be better off chasing the big bucks in some other industry. Good luck with your chosen career.
whf
took a year out after school to work in germany and learn the language. did a year work placement during uni at an MoD agency (which if anything encouraged me to look at army more from the serving guys i encountered there as opposed to civvie MoD people). did a masters (mech eng), which is 5yrs in scotland. taking me up to 25yrs old in 3months...spent 4 straight months last year getting up at 5am every single saturday and sunday to train for one race that lasted 7minutes. might be 100% lacking in direction and other things but i like to think the one good thing i could possibly offer the army some self motivation! ;) probably all of which deferred the decision im trying to make just now...

thanks for the post i do appreciate it mate. :) is it such a bad thing if its a lifestyle choice though? i dont think anyone can surely fit in if they dont totally embrace the lifestyle so they must to some extent? like i said before, this forum has opened my eyes to more aspects of the army than ive come across in the brochures/careers fairs etc..think you might have touched a nerve with the "go into another industry and earn big bucks" comment cos i think deep down i dont want to be told this!!! lol

its not that im driven by money, its just the question what do i do when i leave? too old for the grad schemes id have thought, but looking at the sunday papers today, what sort of level jobs are you looking at? i dont know what such an experience in the army equates to in civvy street? i know its obviously different. but perhaps if people knew of examples it would be really interesting to know?

edited: cos ive had a beer and it ruined my spelling...
All fair points. As for lifestyle choice, I agree that you have to enjoy it - and I wouldn't have stayed in for nearly 20 years if it was not fun. I was just pointing out that you should probably think of the responsibilities and priviledges that come with commanding soldiers, which is what being an officer is all about. I don't want to over egg it, the life is fantastic, the responsibilties are huge, and quite scary sometimes and I think that if you can make it in the Army for a few years then the world is your oyster - as a few posters on this thread have pointed out. As I said good luck with whatever you pick.
whf
 
#20
Glasgow Eng - You have several decisions to make. DO you join the Army at all? If you do will you like it and do more than 5 years (why limit yourself so early?).

Joining RE or REME will allow you to work towards chartered status too, thereby keeping your Engineering current (more so REME than RE I think).

Also as pointed out here, lots of people leave the Army and regret it ( I have several mates who are re-enlisting, one after 3 years as a civvi). Civvi life is different, the pressures are different and while you may get paid more the lifestyle isnt always as great (nearly all of my ex-Army civvi mates say that to earn the big biucks you work MUCH harder and longer hours - but then nobody is shooting at you...).

Money is a concern for everyone, but generally, I have found that while I have been in I haven't worried, whereas my civvi mates always do (mortgages to pay, daily living costs blah blah). You do become cocooned in the institution to a certain point.

I considered leaving at about my 6-8 year point, but looking at jobs I thought I could achieve (Engineering Graduate, relevance or currency in question now) I decided that I could not afford to take the risk on signing off and going for a job to match my Army wage - get past the 6 year point and the jobs I was looking at pay less and I would have to pay mortgage or rent that I don't pay now and with a family (not in tow at start of career) that risk was too great. IRC to 16 years for me!

That said, I don't know what would happen if I put my CV (if I could be bothered to update it) into the world looking at £45-55k jobs to make it worth getting out. they reckon you need to earn £10k more than Army to make it equivalent and what jobs pay £45-55k and let me have the family time, benefits etc. also What would I do? So ignorance and a degree of fear with regard to leaving may have kept me in. so if someone offered me a 9-5 job, 5 days a week, £45k a year or £35k with accomodation for me plus 2 and dog, I would jump, whatever the job...
 

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