Upgrading to Officer - pros and cons?


some advice if you may. background: Im doing a good job of getting on up the TA career chain. pretty confident of picking up my 2nd tape this year, however...

the OC etc are pushing me to go for my commission. Im looking for any advice from people who have done this in the past and whether they believe they have made the right choice.

what are the pros and cons of this decision. are there any doors that will be closed for me determining my choice.

I'm hopelessly out of date. However, one question to check is if you should be uncessful at TACB or Sandhurst can you revert to your previous rank?

That said I had a TA corporal who was later commissoned. A year or so later he resigned to go regular and made major before I did.
Tricky one! I did the same thing about 3 years ago, the training was very good and the instructors were second to none. But through a combination of the amount of extra weekends and time required for long distance travel at the weekend I had to quit (work came first).

I also met quite a few people that I thought... How the hell did you get a commision?

I was able to just revert back to who I was before hand, no regrets really.

As long as you can spare the time, it's worth commiting yourself to it.
I know someone who went from the ranks to become an officer and he regretted it. He lost the very thing he joined the TA for - doing something different with a bunch of mates and enjoying it. Remember that being in the TA is as much relaxation from your civvy job as anything else. You may end up ruining the very thing you had.
johnjohn said:

some advice if you may. background: Im doing a good job of getting on up the TA career chain. pretty confident of picking up my 2nd tape this year, however...
Gosh, a lance-jack already.
Seriously though, it really does depend on what you want from a TA 'career'. I have been and still am in a similar situation, my CO is very keen for my to take an LE commission. I am not so sure. I joined as a Tom because I wanted to be an Infanteer, being an NCO&SNCO allowed me to progress but continue to be at the dirty end. I didn't and currently still don't fancy the role of an Officer, once you get past Lt, there are few opportunities to get involved in the more desirable (in my opinion) aspects of TA training, and spend a significant time behind a desk doing paperwork - I do this at work during the week, I want something else from the TA.
You need to look at the Officers around you and consider what role you might be playing, what jobs will be asked of you, if it appeals, then go for it? If you don't like the look of the stuff Officers have to do, then you've got your answer.
That is, obviously, just my opinion, there are plenty of Officers around who may disagree with me.
skintboymike said:
I'm confused by the use of the term 'upgrade'. It's not always a step forwards.
Exactly what I thought.


Book Reviewer
Be prepared, as a TA Officer - starting as PC, and from then on - to do plenty of work in your own time (unpaid, of course). Lesson plans, training programmes, annual (and biannual) reports, etc. There is frankly not a lot of fun in it in that regard.

As mentioned above, it depends what you want out of the TA - don't forget that you are there because you enjoy it. When it becomes a chore, the fun goes, and then people will start nagging you to do stuff, and it becomes an effort to turn in for a Drill, etc....

That said, if it's the social aspect that appeals to you, Officer is the way to go!
StabTiffy2B said:
skintboymike said:
I'm confused by the use of the term 'upgrade'. It's not always a step forwards.
Exactly what I thought.

It's not an upgrade at all, just a different career stream, and (as has already been pointed out) not really what people join the TA for.

Still, you get to look sexy in mess kit at a time in your life when it really matters.
Back in the day (oh God.....early eighties!!) I went from the dorms at Redford Barracks across the square to the officer's mess (on what should have been my weekend off!). I was the only jock to do so on that year's intake of around 100 potential officers.

I was well supported by my SNCO's (with obligatory mental torture/slagging to boot) and didn't really regret it except for, as previous posters have mentioned, missing my mates.

Certainly it was a step up (for me) in terms of the training. More complex ideas to assimilate and didn't the Directing Staff have fun when they found out I wasn't a University Grad or Company Director! Ah the joys, I look back on it all fondly.

Have a go, or you'll never know!
StabTiffy2B said:
skintboymike said:
I'm confused by the use of the term 'upgrade'. It's not always a step forwards.
Exactly what I thought.
it was meant with a slight hint of satire.

BB, your comical retorts are hilarious.

I think you lot have summed it up pretty well on here. the TA will never in a month of sundays pay the bills so i need to work out how much time i can commit outwith the normal TA working hours. Also from a part time career path the officer route will be far more limited.

With our little unit being turned to a troop. i would find myself hitting a wall far faster than i might have done before.

I join the TA as an officer and so cannot speak from any other experience. The relationship with those around you is more complex. Those you work with (command) are not your mates (nor should they be). The career path is different but the potential is very great. There is one chap who I first knew as a shiny 2Lt and is now a full Colonel having commanded a TA Inf Bn. He's in his mid to late 40s, if he does not make Brig I will be very surprised.

It is true that once I was promoted to Captain and became a Coy 2/ic my main weapon seemed to be a pen.


Don't just look at the officers - look at what the NCOs in your unit do. It is not as simple as officer=admin, NCO=warry stuff.

Last night, I spent most of the time finishing off annual reports, interviewing people, completing reports and returns etc. The soldier I signed up alongside many years ago is an NCO, and spent his night doing paysheets, armoury checks etc. On our last exercise, we each did our respective jobs in the field.

As you move up the ladder, each side has an increasing administration and paperwork burden, although it starts earlier in the commissioned side of life. That said, I have no regrets about commissioning, and accept the admin burden as part of the job to balance the fun I had as a Pl Comd and the enjoyable responsibility with subsequent appointments.
I retired from the TA several years ago after 20 years' commissioned serice in various reserves and 16 years regular. Other posters have given a good run down on the pros and cons. I would simply add that it is very important to understand the wider demands of commissioned, as opposed to non-commissioned, service. In a nutshell, expectations are different in both degree and in kind.

You will not just have to find more time for specific duties, you will have to accept that your bearing and conduct should be beyond reproach at all times - TA officers aren't just commissioned when they are training or on operations, they are commissioned full stop. All ranks, both regular and reserve, have a right to expect a a high standard of behaviour from TA officers. Proper allowance is made for lack of experience and training, but the basic obligation of officer-like conduct is always there.

A commission also means that things can be dumped on you that would not be given to non-commissioned people. That is why officers do little jobs like audit boards and being ic various funds and why quite senior soldiers come to them for signatures and certificates. It even applies to things like cocktail parties - TA units are quite often the immediate link between the civil community and the Army as a whole and entertaining bigwigs is an important part of the role, odd though it may seem.

I suppose the bottom line is that all the swank and separateness is there for a purpose - officers must accept responsibility.


Vasco's on the button. Only thing to add is that it takes on average 18-24 months now to commission. It's hard work and when you get there, it's hard work.
Resisted turning to the dark side for many years but had my arm twisted to do so by my OC and took a Late Entry Commission. The LEOC course is at Sandhurst is fantastic. Check out on other threads about how good it is and the positive feedback from people who have attended. Best course I have ever done in a long time in the TA.

I still find my TA career (I hate that word but it's the best I can think of) satisfying but it is in a different way to how it was as an SNCO.

I would also say that there gets to a point where you are too old to be running around with the kids in their teens and twenties and you are likely to be holding up other people who deserve promotion but you are filling the only slot going. If you, and perhaps more importantly your OC, think your experience might still be useful to make sure the lads and lasses who are going out in the dangerous places get all the support, training and help they need, then you should consider a commission.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
B Army Reserve 33
M RLC 11

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads