"Now the question is, do I resign a contract with the military that will offer me the same
wages as the cooks for the next 3 years, or do I explore my options as a civilian? The whole
point of the spec pay was to remove that doubt of resigning from our minds."
Its safe to say that everyone is in charge of their future and considering all options is a
responsible method. The trick is to figure out the best path.
I've had alot of experience in the civilian world and enough to say that getting and keeping
a good paying technical job in the private sector is difficult. The last few years have been
turbulent especially in hi-tech and hi-tech manufacturing. Most techical sectors are still
recovering, others are recessed, and the looming question of how strong the economy is
going to be in the next few years.
Many electronics technicians and technologists seriously considered and followed-up on a
military career for the job security, the training, and the possibility of doing more than a
8-4 kind of job. The draw-backs may be the member doesn't always perform technical
work, the job is more system level than component level, and there is competition
The pay/benefits in the private sector are not always that great especially during initial
employment. It takes several years and hard work and acquired experience to get
anything close to $50,000 generally speaking. In the military, Private pay is not
spectacular yet is comparable to civilian junior technicians and even better in many cases.
The difference is in the benefits, deployment pay, and whether you like the varied
characteristic of military life.
I'd say if you got a definite handle on a civy job with good pay, security, and the chance to
progress in position and increasing pay, then its worth considering. If you don't, then
you may find that the grass is not necessarily greener in the civy world.
In my opinion, the military technical training system is good for job specific training at the
system level and product training. Yet, the electronic fundamental theory and experience
is quickly brushed over. Civy technicians who went thru college have better fundamentals
in a two or three year program than a CF member with just Poet and QL3s. Its a balance
of things too.
My advice would be to stay in the CF, take the courses you think lie in a good career path,
and bank the money. At the same time, watch the markets, the jobs (private and public),
project where you want to be and when the timing is right, make you're move. If you hop
out of the miltiary too quickly, you might regret it.