Author Topic: Decisions, decisions  (Read 14791 times)

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Offline Mike92

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Decisions, decisions
« on: October 28, 2011, 14:33:30 »
Hey everyone,

This is the THIRD >:( >:( time I have typed this due to my computer/myself erasing the entire post :'(. Anyways, "if at first you don't succeed, try try again". I don't know who said that or if I quoted it right but i'm sure you guys understand.

I am looking for some guidance/advice, hopefully from people who have been in my situation. I appreciate anyone's advice, however.

Heres my situation:

- I have always loved the military, everything about it: uniforms, clothes, culture, discipline, weapons, jobs, EVERYTHING :salute:. I honestly can't see myself truly enjoying anything but a career in the military. Anytime I see combat footage of Afghanistan on the news, I just want to be there. When I watch the videos on the Army News about training or certain units, I can imagine myself there doing what they're doing. Now that I am done high school, I only want to join even more!

- My ultimate goal is to be a member of the Combat Arms :threat:, specifically Infantry. Once this goal is reached, there are two sub-goals that are very important to me: become a Special Operations Assaulter in JTF2 OR Special Operator in CSOR. Where I am torn is whether to go the Officer or NCM route.

- I am currently in my first year of university, taking Kinesiology. However, I am swithcing programs because it was not what I thought it was. It was more "sciencey" then I had thought. This was my fault because I should have researched the program more :facepalm:. I will be switching to a BA in Communication becasue the courses are more akin to the subjects I was good at in high school. I was never every strong in the sciences and math's which almost all the programs at my university are big into :(.

- I have begun to doubt whether or not university is right for. I honestly think I could complete the 4-year program but It's a matter of whether it will benefit me and if it's worth my time. I have been seriously debating applying to the CF now.

- My family has always pushed me towards university and the Officer route. There logic is valid: they think I should take advantage of university now while I am still single and have no real responsibilities. They also say that if the military doesn't workout for whatever reason, I will have my BA as a backup plan.

- I disagree for a few reasons. I am not lazy or afraid of working hard if I know it will lead to one of my goals. This was the reason I really worked hard in high school because I knew that I needed at LEAST grade 10 join the CF. Since the military is very exclusive, as in one has to be completely healthy and disease-free, I want to take advantage of the fact that I am healthy right now. It would kill me to go through the 4 years of university, just waiting till graduation so I could join, only to get injured or develop some medical condition which would bar me from the CF. I heard a story of an aspiring RCMP officer who played rugby and during a game he was kicked in the eye which caused some problem and he was no longer employable with the RCMP. Also, I can go to university anytime as long as I have the money, it doesn't matter about how healthy or fit I am. I also wouldn't be interested in any job that my BA in Communication would prepare me for.

- Many of my decisions  regarding Officer or NCM are based on a few questions which I have not been able to get a solid answer to:

1. Can an Infantry Officer stay as a platoon leader for their entire career, as long as they remain fit and healthy? Will they be 'forced' to move up the ranks and into a more administrative/training position? I understand that once an Infantry Officer is 50 or 60 years old, they will not be able to keep up with the 19-30 year olds, so then I would imagine they would be trasnferred to a less physically demanding role.

2. Let's say an Infantry Soldier leaves the Army after serving for 5-10 years, will he/she be very employable as a bodyguard/private military contractor in the civilian world? I know there will be many extrinsic factors which will influence this, but any insight would be awesome.


I have even considered joing the British Army (they hire commonwealth citizens) because they are currently hiring Infantry Soldiers, according to their website. I am very patriotic :cdn: but I love what the Infantry do and the UK is afterall, one of Canada's closest allies.

Sorry for the long post and Thank You to everyone for taking the time to read this.

To those who serve or have served, Thank You.

With respect,

Michael K.


ps. sorry for any spelling or grammatical errors.

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 14:57:05 »
1. Can an Infantry Officer stay as a platoon leader for their entire career, as long as they remain fit and healthy? Will they be 'forced' to move up the ranks and into a more administrative/training position? I understand that once an Infantry Officer is 50 or 60 years old, they will not be able to keep up with the 19-30 year olds, so then I would imagine they would be trasnferred to a less physically demanding role.

No, you cannot be a platoon commander forever. That position is also used to train each new generation of infantry officers and we cannot afford to lose a position to someone who thinks it would be "cool" to do that one job forever. If you're good at it you'll get promoted and moved to other jobs, including into administrative positons that also must be done well by competent officers. If you're not good at it you'll also be moved along, though perhaps neither promoted nor into another job.

2. Let's say an Infantry Soldier leaves the Army after serving for 5-10 years, will he/she be very employable as a bodyguard/private military contractor in the civilian world? I know there will be many extrinsic factors which will influence this, but any insight would be awesome.

It is possible that you would have a competitive resume, depending on who is hiring and for what jobs. There are no guarantees.

Offline Larkvall

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 16:26:32 »
Have you considered joining the Reserves while you complete your degree?

Offline Mike92

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 17:08:20 »
Thanks for responding so quick!

Michael, thanks for the input. That helps a lot. I always hear people say that Infantry doesn't lead to anything in the civilian world, yet I hear a lot about "ex-special forces" types joining Blackwater and similar groups.

Larkvall, I have thought about joining the reserves. I will have to see if my school schedule allows it. If I had time, it would be very convenient because there is a reserve unit (the Ontario Regiment) about 5 minutes from my campus.

With respect,

Michael K.

Offline 57Chevy

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2011, 17:17:44 »
You may consider talking to a recruiting center to help you with your decision.
Here is a good place to start:
The application process
http://www.forces.ca/en/page/theapplicationprocess-106#step7-7
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 17:25:52 by 57Chevy »

Offline cupper

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2011, 21:14:07 »
 :not-again:
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

Let's Go CAPS!

Offline Michael O'Leary

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2011, 22:36:12 »
Michael, thanks for the input. That helps a lot. I always hear people say that Infantry doesn't lead to anything in the civilian world, ....

Those who say that infantry "doesn't lead to anything in the civilian world" do not understand the Infantry or the military. Coincidentally, during those years when they think infantry soldiers are just shooting machine gun and throwing grenades, we're actually also teaching them to be instructors, supervisors, resource managers, improving their self-discipline and their ability to direct others and a host of other "soft" skills, often to a degree that many corporations in the civilian world don't come close to matching in selecting and grooming their young managers.

For any CF trade, look below the surface when thinking about what skills get taken out of the CF into later life.

Offline Towards_the_gap

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2011, 23:27:47 »
2. Let's say an Infantry Soldier leaves the Army after serving for 5-10 years, will he/she be very employable as a bodyguard/private military contractor in the civilian world? I know there will be many extrinsic factors which will influence this, but any insight would be awesome.

I'd think long and hard if I were you about that aspiration. The well is drying up for trigger pullers on civvy streets, and the days where they would pull in $5-600 a day are long gone. 5-10 years as a soldier will prepare you well, as others have stated, for any number of jobs in a wide range of fields.

BG/CP/PMC work may sound cool and all, but the reality is unless you have very desirable quals or loads of proven experience, you're just another dude thinking 'I know how to work a GPMG' means he should pull in $60k tax free. And the job market is flooded with them.

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 00:46:25 »
Those who say that infantry "doesn't lead to anything in the civilian world" do not understand the Infantry or the military. Coincidentally, during those years when they think infantry soldiers are just shooting machine gun and throwing grenades, we're actually also teaching them to be instructors, supervisors, resource managers, improving their self-discipline and their ability to direct others and a host of other "soft" skills, often to a degree that many corporations in the civilian world don't come close to matching in selecting and grooming their young managers.

For any CF trade, look below the surface when thinking about what skills get taken out of the CF into later life.

+1.

Find me another line of work where a 25 year old, after years of formal training, is responsible for millions of dollars of government equipment, the welfare, administration and development of 40 subordinates and the planning of operations where the stress is high, the situation is always changing and the consequences for failure involve the lives of others.

Many sell themselves short by saying that skills learned in the infantry (or any other part of the profession of arms) translates into civilian positions in Mall Security.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline buck13

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2011, 04:17:00 »
I would highly recommend joining the Reserves while in university. It gets you into the system, gets basic out of the way, gives you a taste of what the regular force is like and is very doable in terms of being a full time student and a part time soldier. I in the Reserves right now while at university and while the balance can be tough at times, I have found that both sides (my regiment and my profs/instructors) have helped out a lot whenever there is any serious conflict.
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Offline Mike92

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2011, 09:10:26 »
Michael, what I said about Infantry not leading to anything in the civilian world is just what I've heard from some people. I never really agreed with it due to reasons that others have mentioned on this thread.

buck13, I have really considered joining the reserves. I will go down there in a few days to ask some questions about weekend training, BMQ, etc.

cupper, thanks for the 'face'.

Towards_the_gap, the PMC/security idea was more of a interest thing rather then a serious career choice, but thanks anyway.

Infanteer, I agree 100%.

With respect,

Michael K.

Offline Canadian.Trucker

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Re: Decisions, decisions
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2011, 09:52:21 »
Getting to your question about Officer or NCM, there are pros and cons with both you just need to dig around and talk to those that have done both to find out what fits you and your ambitions.  If you want to spend more time at the pointy end and getting right into the nitty gritty physical aspect of the job then NCM is probably your game.  As an Officer you will command, but the bulk of your time will also be administration duties which are a necessary evil to keep the green machine moving along.  Also your job as an Officer is not be the pointy end, but direct where the pointy end is thrust to effectively accomplish the mission given, it's a great job and I would never talk anyone out of going Officer but it's not for everyone.

I would agree with your family that since you are already going down the road to complete your degree you should finish it.  I've had many soldiers that I've trained and worked with that have degrees, it's a bonus for sure because you never know what the future will hold and where you will end up going in life.  Also with a degree if you go NCM and find that you want to CFR (Commission from the ranks) to Officer it's an easier process as opposed to then having to go and get/complete your degree.

I also agree that you should try to get into a reserve unit to gain some experience and perspective, the Ontario Regiment is an Armoured Regiment though so if you're wanting to go Infantry it will give you an idea of what Army life is like, but not the Infantry way of doing things.  Something to think about.

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