This is an interesting thread.
My wife has asked similar questions that are good to have answered. Unfortunately a lot of the answers that I've come up with aren't necessarily logical to all people. Now, I am by far not an expert in the realities of daily life in the Military and I need to understand things further.
Take my interest in the Navy for instance. From my limited understanding, ship deployments are about six months. During that time work is schedule in a pattern of 7 hours on/7 hours off/5 hours on/5 hours off, repeat for 7 days a week until you're back when the schedule is 40 hours/week with some night shifts or sentry duty. When speaking with people about the hours they just shake their head. Is it really a 7on/7off/5on/5off schedule? That's 84 hours a week. I'd like to know if this is true.
I think there's as many valid reasons for entering the CAF as there are people, and it's up the recruiter to agree with your values or not. If it's the difference between a frozen dumpster or the CAF I can see there being far less altruistic reasons for joining, which aren't necessarily wrong. For me, I work 8 to 4, Monday to Friday, 35 hours a week, a 15-minute walk to work, no nights or weekend, great benefits and I won't make in the CAF what I do now unless I make it to Sergeant, which of course is not guaranteed by a long shot. This doesn't make me special, just a different scenario than the frozen dumpster brought up by an earlier post.
To have a meaningful conversation with family and loved ones about this is extremely important as the challenges and risks that a military career brings should be, at least for me, as fully known by family a head of time, so we can meet the challenges that come. If that military career can't be quantified in terms people understand then how do I, or anyone express those values. "People" don't take promotions to work double the hours for 60% of the pay but that's what I have to argue for if I move forward with a military career. I value service and would cherish the opportunity to be a part of protecting this beautiful country I love. It could be argued that my interest in joining is being selfish at the expense of my family. Is my interest in service as altruistic as I feel it is? In the end, there's a job to be done, I'd be good at doing it and hopefully the CAF and my family agree from their perspectives and that might have to be the only quantitative value after all is said and done.
I'd appreciate further thoughts and feedback.