Pros: guaranteed check, free gym, no tax when deployed, gi bill, long breaks, lots of no work days
Cons: soldier 24/7 (can get called in any time), possibility of missing your own kid being born, death or loss of limb, horrible bosses
A typical day at work: hurry up and wait; rush to one location and wait there for sometimes hours for orders. Most of the time depending on your position and rank you are going to be doing something unrelated to your job. If you are a counter intelligence guy for example that is not deployed you will probably be tasked to clean weapons, office work – more... not pertaining to your field, pick up trash etc. I have herd in meeting before, "At formation put out that we'll be releasing them early to get them to do the job faster" when it was never the plan at all.
Management: Most of the management in the army aren't fit for the job at all. Once you make a certain rank you become somewhat of a manager in charge of a few people. A lot of these managers aren't college educated, high school educated and didn't learn managerial skill from anywhere else in life either. A lot of the managers look out for themselves and the good ones are few and far between. It's for the most part a buddy buddy system. If you find a good NCO you will know it and he will be talked about in a good light by you and others for years to come.
What I learned: I learned a lot of things in my time in the Army. I learned how to deal with and manage people from all walks of life (literally). I was able to complete some schooling and learn about different types of weapons, tactical maneuvers, chemicals agents and response, HAZMAT, IT stuff and the list goes on. You can learn some useful things in the army but you have to get the degrees and certificates to get hired when your contract ends. My co- workers like I said where from all walks of life, you will make some friends; most of them will not bother to stay in contact after you switch duty stations or become a Vet but a few will. Some people you will like and some you wont, some people aren't used to people from different areas or cultural backgrounds so it is a learning experience for all.
Hardest Part of the Job: The actual job is easy it's the people that make it hard. The hardest part about the job is being powerless in almost every situation. You do as your told and common since doesn't exist, if you have a better way you shouldn't give your input just stay quite or it will be looked at as defiance especially if you boss doesn't like you. Senses sessions "used to find out problems in the companies" are held by your supervisors supervisors are really used to weed out complainers and black ball them. Senses sessions are said to be confidential but they really aren't. The last hard part about the job is the Good O'l Boy system.
What I enjoyed most: learning of "new things"; a lot of filler training in the army. I enjoyed a lot of the people I got a chance to be around and work with. I enjoyed not having to worry about a pay check.I enjoyed sometimes not having to do anything at all and getting paid for it. I enjoyed being overseas. I enjoyed the closeness and friendship I had with some of my past friends, we all where away from family and it made us become family. I enjoyed the good sergeants that I had that took the time out to teach me how to be not only a good soldier but a great leader. Most people are young and immature when they sign that contract and they need a person like the few sergeants that I had to take them under their wings and teach them thing about life that would take them a lot longer in life to learn on their own.
I love America, but at the end of the day I wouldn't condone my kid joining. – less