What are the Disadvantages of Going into the Military?
Joining the military is a life-changing decision that is not to be taken lightly. If you are one of the thousands considering military service, there are many pros or reasons why you should join, but you can’t ignore the ever-growing list of disadvantages of going into the military.
Top 10 Cons of Joining the Military
Before raising your right hand, it’s important to understand the down-side, as well as the positives, of military service. In no particular order, we’re sharing a non-sugar-coated list of cons of joining the military:
1. Separation from loved ones
The military lifestyle is filled with permanent changes of station, deployments, and temporary duty assignments. Although these military terms are not interchangeable, they all boil down to one reoccurring aspect of military life – leaving your family and friends behind.
Even though the military provides family separation allowance, a form of military pay, when a service member is separated from family for more than 30 days, the extra money doesn’t make up for being without the people you love most. If you’re a family-oriented person who cannot imagine spending a considerable amount of time away from family, for miles away at a time, the military may not be the best option for you.
2. No quitting military service
If you’re a civilian employee, you may have heard that all U.S. states, except Montana, are defined by U.S. labor laws as “at will” states.
At-will employment means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time, for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without legal liability. At the same time, an employee is free to walk away from a job at any time, for any or no reason at all, without facing legal consequences.
Unfortunately, walking away from military service is not an option. There’s no way to simply quit the military. Once you raise your right hand, take the oath, and sign on the dotted line, you are contractually and morally obligated to fulfill your commitment to the U.S. Government.
The military may discharge you from duty for various reasons if you are found incapable of physically or psychologically unable to perform your duties. And don’t think about going AWOL and deserting the military altogether. You’ll lose all pay, get a rank reduction to the lowest enlisted grade, receive a dishonorable discharge and get jail time.
If you receive a dishonorable discharge, you lose all benefits afforded to you as a veteran, and it will severely hurt your chances of getting a job. So, before you sign up for the military, make sure this is what you want to do for at least the next four years of your life.
Just like in the civilian world, the military operates on a chain of command system. Your age is not equivalent to your rank in the military. If you’re a 28-year-old and a 21-year-old is higher ranking than you, you are obligated to follow their orders. And more than likely, there will always be someone higher ranking than you and you must respect their rank, no matter the age.
4. Physical appearance and grooming
The military has high standards when it comes to how you present yourself. Because you are a representation of the military as a whole, you have to look and play the part, especially in uniform.
For example, facial hair is a no go, with the exception of a small mustache. Long hair is out of the question for men. The military has a regulation from how to wear your hair to the length of your fingernails. Long, dangly earrings while in uniform cannot be worn and tattoos must be hidden. The physical appearance also trickles down into your lifestyle out of uniform. You can’t drink or smoke in uniform, but when you’re out of uniform, you’re still held to a high standard.
5. It’s not about you anymore
The military functions on a mission first, team mindset. If you don’t learn to switch from me to we, you may have a hard time adjusting to military service.
6. Physical fitness standards
Physical fitness is also a requirement since military members are expected to be ready at all times. Exceed a certain weight and you may be deemed unfit for duty. If you can’t run, do pushups, sit ups and pass the PT test, you may also be deemed unfit for duty.
7. Free healthcare
Free healthcare should be a benefit, right? It is, on the surface. When you look deeper, you see that this, too, can also be a disadvantage.
In the military, you can’t choose your own doctor. You as well as your dependents are assigned a doctor, known as a primary care manager under Tricare. Although you can’t hand pick your provider, you can request to change PCMs at any time.
8. Education requirements
If you decide to use the GI Bill, you’ll be required to have certain GPA. If not, you are responsible for paying the money back.
9. You are property of the U.S. Government
Even though you can enjoy the freedoms of this great country, once you join the military, you become property of the U.S. Government. You must do the job assigned to you. Besides that, you must act in a dignified manner, having respect for yourself and others. You must be physically fit and mentally stable. You must go where the military tells you to go. Your commanding officers are the boss and what they say goes.
10. Risks and dangers
The military can be a dangerous occupation with lasting affects on your life. According to Brown University, the cost of war on U.S. veterans and families is steep. Many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face a life of disability due to the physical and psychological injuries they sustain in war zones. At least 970,000 veterans have some degree of disability.
Weigh Out All Your Options
Going into the military has several disadvantages. Without proper guidance and support, life in the military can be unpleasant. Be sure to consider every option before committing your life to at least 4 years of military duty.
If you decide you’d like to start the civilian career search instead, look no further than Empire Resume. With our professional resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and cover letter services, we can help you get the job you deserve. Our professional resume writing services delivers results, guaranteed!
Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.