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Offline Career change

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Life in the navy
« on: May 06, 2008, 19:42:39 »
Hi, I'm looking for some input/advice.

I'm considering joining the navy and I'm wondering if those who are, or have served what, would be able to say what the three best things you would list about life in this branch of the CF. Also what are the three worst things about a life in the navy?

Any other help or comments would also be appreciated.
 :cdn:

Offline yak

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2008, 20:06:54 »
Best things for me:
 
1) travel
2) education
3) structure and a set of goals when I was younger.

I joined for probably one of the most common reasons, to get out of a small town and to see the world.  Reason #2 for joining was, for me, the subsidized education in a technical trade (because I wasn't doing a student loan especially since I didn't really know what I wanted).  And looking back now I'd say reason #3 would be that the military provided some much-needed structure for me when I was younger.

Having deployed with the Army and also done my fair share of sea time, I would say that sometimes the arms-length way of operating while on a ship might be a little...well, harder to take for someone who wants to be in the middle of things.  I mean, searching ships in the Persian Gulf is not going to command your attention like driving through Kandahar City.  But they are both important, in their own way, but the pulse-quickening times are further apart on a ship.

Three worst things about life in the Navy:

1) Time away from home...but that's common in for most of us in the military.  In my case, it was a major contributor to the breakup of a marriage, and now it's especially hard since we had our first child a few months ago (and I was deployed at the time).  So if you decide to put on the uniform (any uniform) be ready for lots of time away.
2) Routine on a ship can be pretty mind-numbing.
3) Did I mention the time away?

Can't be that bad, I've got 20 years this June and I'm staying around.

Oh...by far the best thing all way round in joining any branch - the people.  I've met some really good people from every branch.  Super professional and committed, there's none better.  I can go anywhere in Canada now for the most part and ring up someone that I've met on a course or deployment and that's awesome.  I can't imagine what it's like to go to the same job for a whole career.


Offline Career change

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2008, 20:52:15 »
Thanks for all the honest opinions. I'm a small town Northern Ontario guy, who wants to see the world too and have a job that allows challenges.
How would you sum up life at sea? The work and the day-to-day life?
How frequent are the port visits? What are they like? do you stay on the ship when in port or elsewhere?

jollyjacktar

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2008, 21:03:18 »
Yak has some very salient points.  Be very prepared for time away, and be aware that you will be stuck on 500 ft of steel with all your shipmates.  It does take some getting used to, but it is possible.  Joining the Navy happened to me after 10 years in a Support Trade.  Now it is 9 1/2 years later and I don't regret my swap.

I enjoy the travel such as I have experienced it.  Being at sea is very pleasant for me being a Prairie Boy, no friggin trees or hills to spoil the view.  Nature does put on the most excellent side shows if you take the time to notice.  Interesting wildlife, sunsets and weather from time to time.

The people amongst the ship's company are also a big plus on the whole.  Good people who I am proud to stand beside and trust with my life.  The people from other places that you will be exposed to is also a plus.  It's a big world out there and worth the effort.

My job.  I'm a Shipwright.  I work with my hands and can see the results of my, and my co-workers efforts at the end of the day.  This job also gave me the chance to go overseas to TFA last year.  It was the hardest work I have ever done physically, but the most rewarding and life changing.  

What ever you decide, Army, Navy, Air Force you won't be disappointed.  This is no 9-5 BS life, every day is different.  You won't find better people anywhere in Canada than those who will stand beside you.  Good luck to you.


Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 21:52:16 »
I can only echo what yak and jolly have already stated. I would also like to add the sense that you are part of something big and might have contributed in a small way to make something a success. I will give you an example I was part of Roto 0 for Op Apollo and going to the Ops Room or going outside and watching countless aircraft launch from carriers to do their sorties into Afghanistan was quite something.
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
Former RCN Sailor now Retired

Offline MARS

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 22:39:01 »
Life at sea is fantastic.  It really is.  Jollyjacktar is absolutely right – Mother Nature is at her best at sea.  I have seen the sun set (and not set) and the moon rise in 4 hemispheres.  The aurora borealis and the Southern Cross.  I’ve seen the sea go from flat calm to a wicked and terrifying storm in no time.  Life at sea, from a mariner’s point of view, is sometimes a truly Awesome experience.  And I don’t consider myself a mariner. 

Mind-numbing?  Yeah..it can be, from time to time, when nothing is happening.  Sometimes your mission is to simply…patrol.  If everything is quiet on patrol, whatever type it may be, then things are going well.  When things go well, everybody is happy.  Sometimes things go well for days and weeks at a time.  And you are stuck on a floating pop can that’s anywhere from 55 to 172 metres long with a whole bunch of your closest friends.  That can be tough, especially for people who have trouble in small spaces.  But when things go south, they do so quickly and without warning.  It could be 0300 and you go from sound asleep to fully alert on your way to your Action Station or Rescue Station or a variety of other stations in the ship, depending on what has just happened.  Maybe you are going to board another ship, or the engine just blew up or the helicopter just crashed.  Who knows.  My civilian friends can’t even wrap their brains around some of the truly crazy experiences you can have at sea.  They work 9-5 in an office (says the guy who currently works 9-5 in an office  :() Really – there is no life like it.  I happen to love it.

Everyone tries to make day to day life as interesting as possible.  There is a lot to be done – from training to operations; from the mundane to the unique.  From cleaning the ship to fuelling at sea to giving a lecture to firing the guns to rescuing somebody – all before the sun sets.  Seriously, every day can be different from the one before, but it takes effort.  Having a solid Ship’s Company is really key.  A great mix of committed, energetic and involved people can make any deployment tolerable.  Except for the weather.  Yeah, a bad storm can wreck your day, regardless how large of a ship you are on.  You deal with it.  You think about what it must have been like for sailors before enclosed bridges and watertight seals.  You have to deal with it – if you are too far out at sea to anchor and ride it out, or too slow to outrun the weather, what are you going to do? 

Leaving home and loved ones is always hard.  That’s not unique to the Navy – we all do that.  But like Ex-Dragoon said, knowing that you are going out to do some good in the world, no matter how small – that matters.  My most memorable moments in my life have been at sea.  I have rescued people from the sea – holy crap! Can you imagine what that’s like?  I couldn’t until I did it.  The first time, it happened to have been one of my previous instructors - a superior officer and mentor - after a bad, 18 hour storm – their boat was wrecked, their mast and communications shot – quite an emotional event for everyone.  Will never forget that or the people I was with.  Since then, 7 more people.  Each time was important – to those people, certainly.  That’s just my experience.  Others on this board have contributed to the greater good in far more significant ways.

Port visits could be a thread all its own.  I remember most of mine.  Some are too long, some too short.  For the most part, it is like the old saying goes – “see the world”.  I saw a good chunk of it before by the time I was 20.  Depends on where you stop and what you are doing.  Maybe you have a curfew in that port, so yes, you “live” on the ship.  Perhaps it is a short port visit, on the way out for a deployment, so maybe you work while the ship is in port.  Maybe it is a more friendly port and you are there for rest and relaxation.  Then yes, you get to see the world from a “tourist” point of view.  We do our jobs at sea, so, generally speaking, you get some time to “see the world”.

Well, you asked and I answered.  That’s a snippet of one guy’s take on life at sea.  Life in the Navy is a whole lot more broad.  Again, others here with a whole lot more experience than I have.

My question to you is: why the Navy in particular?  I only ask because life in all three elements is vastly different, each with its own lifestyles, challenges and rewards.  If there is something specific about the Navy that appeals to you, it will help others on this board structure their advice.

Cheers,

MARS

"Managers do things right; Leaders do the right thing"

Offline Career change

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2008, 18:17:53 »
My question to you is: why the Navy in particular? I only ask because life in all three elements is vastly different, each with its own lifestyles, challenges and rewards. If there is something specific about the Navy that appeals to you, it will help others on this board structure their advice.

====

I guess I'm attracted to the Navy because of the travel aspect. It seems like there would plenty of chances to "see the world" and work at the same time. Also, the challenges of working/living at sea and the knowledge that's needed. And also the sense of "family" or "friendship" I get from others who have served in the Navy. Those are the top factors and I'm looking to hear from those who have served to find out what it's really like.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2008, 18:58:17 »

I guess I'm attracted to the Navy because of the travel aspect. It seems like there would plenty of chances to "see the world" and work at the same time. Also, the challenges of working/living at sea and the knowledge that's needed. And also the sense of "family" or "friendship" I get from others who have served in the Navy. Those are the top factors and I'm looking to hear from those who have served to find out what it's really like.


Being part of an Helicopter Air Det would fit all those as well...and you don't have to stand those pesky watches!   ;D
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2008, 19:01:25 »
Being part of an Helicopter Air Det would fit all those as well...and you don't have to stand those pesky watches!   ;D

Nice try but in Foreign Port they stand Duty Air Officer or Duty Air Crew
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
Former RCN Sailor now Retired

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2008, 19:11:15 »
True but in home port they do not!   Duty aircrew in a foreign port is not a bad deal at all, rotation is pretty good compared to others.

Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2008, 19:14:35 »
That they don't but how often does a ship see its Air Crew until they are ready to sail?
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
Former RCN Sailor now Retired

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2008, 19:21:02 »
With most air detachment logging more sea days than than most sailors, they are a busy bunch.  Collecting sea pay, aircrew pay is a good deal for those folks.   They show up when the ship sails (if it has a MH attached), then head back to the sqn when the ship returns.

Some could think that the home port duty watches are a negative, especially if the rotation is less than 1 in 10.   Life in the Navy can be good, but I think its better if you are part of an Air Det.   

Offline WrenchBender

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2008, 20:56:00 »
I did HelAirDet for 7+ years and it was the best thing I have ever done. Excellent travel, great people, a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day/trip. Just 'cause you don't see us on the ship every day in home port doesn't mean we're on permanent sliders.
There are other options as well, firefighters are also air force trade, medics, RMS, Supply, met techs, cooks, all trades that cross employ to all environments.

WrenchBender
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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2008, 08:49:50 »
There hasn't been too many negatives which is a good thing, but there were somethings that I didn't really care for in the Navy.

- How they treat their people, I don't know what it is but it felt like we were treated like kids (not always, but its much different than the treatment I have received in my short Air Force life). 

- Cleaning stations, yes the ship has to be clean, but can't we leave the space when its clean?  Its not getting any cleaner.

- Home port duty watches, if the rotation is short it can get tiring

- Redundancy, while working as a Navcomm I felt that the senior leadership would take 3 steps back every time something went wrong.  For example, lets say you are driving to work and your car breaks down, the next day you would be taking your horse and buggy because you know that it works.  You would continue to do that for the next year or so, then attempt to drive your car again.   

- It has since changed but getting out to play sports when I first joined was easy on the Iroquois ("I'm off to play hockey"), then once I hit the Vancouver you would have thought I was requesting to eat lunch with the PM! ("So you want to play hockey, draft up a memo and request form, we'll get back to you") Depending on the ship you could be typing up memos and request forms for the simplest things.


Overall the navy is a decent place to start your career.

 

Offline Career change

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2008, 20:17:15 »
Given all the good advice here on the pro's and con's of navy life, is there one thing I should be considering before I consider a commitment?

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2008, 22:03:44 »
Be certain that the trade you pick is something that will interest you, if it doesn't you might find yourself getting out after your initial contract.

Most people think their trade is the best, which is good, you want to be that person, so choose wisely.

If seeing the world is what you are after then the Navy (followed by a COTP to Air Force of course) is the place to start.

Offline 2fly

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2008, 15:01:14 »
In my case, I five years in the army then another five the navy.  My best recommendation is to pick the right career.  If you are in the right one, you will be happy the majority of the time enjoying the foreign ports, etc.  If you do not like your job, you will be miserable and living life looking forward to the next port you visit.  In order to make a good choice maybe look into doing the Strong and MBTI Career Development tests or the Career Assessment Inventory.  That will pin point the civi career type, then apply that area to the best matched DND trade.

If you have any other questions about the life or what to know about the jobs of a comm tech (Net C) fire away.

Offline Career change

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2008, 20:34:11 »
Hello again everyone,

    I've been reading some of the posts on here about the various trades I'm considering, but found some of the posts rambling and going off topic.

    I've narrowed down my three choices and I'm looking for some " focused" advice. What would be the three top things I should know about these trades? What to expect good or bad? What would be expected of someone in the particular position?

    I know this is a pretty long request, but any help would be appreciated.

Naval Combat Information OP

Naval Electronic Sensor OP

Naval Communicator

aesop081

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2008, 20:37:50 »
is there one thing I should be considering before I consider a commitment?

Yeah, there is :

What do YOU want to do ?

Offline Career change

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2008, 21:07:01 »
I've been trying to decide between NCI OP and NES OP. But out of the two, I like the sounds of NCI OP.

aesop081

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2008, 21:10:26 »
But out of the two, I like the sounds of NCI OP.

{best british-sounding accent}

Right then, off you go !

Offline Career change

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2008, 21:17:14 »
That's your best advice?....lol

aesop081

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2008, 21:19:39 »
That's your best advice?....lol

What else do you want ?

You want to joint the Navy, you know what trade interests you and you have received various advice and information from people who are/have been in the Navy.

Am i missing something ?

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2008, 21:20:55 »
I've been trying to decide between NCI OP and NES OP. But out of the two, I like the sounds of NCI OP.

I hope you see the problem here.

Too many people are looking forward to entering a Trade just because it sounds good/kool/etc.

Find out what they do first.  It may not be as kool as the name.

How Kool is Sanitary Engineer?  Tomorrow is Blue Box Day and I have to put out the garbage, Leaf Bags and Blue Box for them to collect.

I hope you are putting a little more thought into it than that..

Oh Well!  Back to our regularly scheduled programing.
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Offline Career change

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Re: Life in the navy
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2008, 21:37:57 »
Yes, I agree that just because something sounds "cool" does not mean it is, or is the right career choice. That's why in my original post I asked for more information/advice/opinions. I want to make sure I chose the right trade and don't waste my or any elses time. I've found this site to be a great source of advice so far and I hope to get more as I try and make me choice. So any help would be appreciated.