For young people pondering at least a few years--or even an entire career--in the military, a military recruiter might be a key component in the early stages of the process.
And it's important to remember that their purpose is, above all, to recruit people.
That's an inherent bias to keep in mind when speaking to such a person. Of course ethical standards are high enough to not expect lies or deceit, but given that all the facets of the military experience could never be covered in a couple meetings, plenty of the nitty gritty details may get left out.
Some Redditors who did spend time in the military gathered to set the record straight. They recounted the aspects of a life in service that they absolutely did not expect when they embarked on the journey.
MrAnonymous418 asked, "What are some things about the military that recruiters don't tell you?"
Spick and Span
"A very, very large part of your duties will involve cleaning."
"I was a nuclear reactor operator on a submarine. But mostly I cleaned it."
Like Everything, It's Got It All
"They don't tell you that despite the Marine Corps' reputation for being honorable, there are a lot of shady scum bags who join the Marines." -- ActuallyNiceIRL
"I was a Marine and had a roommate who joined because it was either that or jail. He never gave me a problem, but I've learned that since he got out he's been in and out of jail."
"On the flip side, some of the best men and women I've ever known were Marines." -- barrywalker71
"Mine was fairly honest but what I will tell you is avoid combat jobs. You'll have a better time in the military being in supply or logistics."
"I was in artillery and we were in the field constantly, it was exhausting."
Plenty of Time to Pass
"Every time that there's a change of command, your most important duty in the world will be to neatly lay out the contents of a conex, wait for the incoming commander to come inspect it, repack everything when they inevitably don't show up, then do it all over again the next week."
"A surprisingly large amount of time during deployments will be spent throwing rocks at cigarette butt cans."
Know Your Options
"They don't tell you that until you complete basic training, you can quit any time without consequence (tho
you will never get a second chance to join rejoining is difficult.)."
"They don't tell you that if you qualify for a job you want but its not available, then you should just wait and come back in a week."
"Otherwise, as some have said, recruiters are generally blatantly honest."
Like Most Teaching Institutions, It's About Free Labor
"The recruiters job is to get you to basic training. They'll send anyone there if they can."
"They'll talk about all this fancy training, but you'll spend most of your time doing menial tasks. Cleaning, changing tires, picking up trash, pointless stuff like that."
"Get the college money, and get out!"
Wear and Tear
"You're knees and back with hurt after 1 year in. But it's 'not service related' " -- Pooneapple
"Got 10% for my back...kinda made me wonder if it's way worse than I thought it was" -- hatsnatcher23
Behind the Times
"Sure, we've come a long way about women being in the military....."
"....but the sexism is still very very VERY much alive. If you don't believe me, consider going on any Instagram photo's comments on a military branches page with a woman in it. Now imagine working in that environment every single day."
An Optimistic Take
"IF you're smart, a short time in the military can jump-start your life in a way practically nothing else can."
"A person without a cent to their name and from a crime-infested neighborhood could sign up for 4 years, and if during that time they lived modestly, saved their money, went on a deployment (thus saving even more money tax-free), and didn't get married or have kids, they could leave the service..."
"...with nearly 6 figures in their bank account, free healthcare from the VA, and potentially a job skill that could transfer to the civilian sector, or college paid for with the GI Bill."
"99% of people won't do that, though. They'll piss away their money, get married, get divorced, and probably leave the service with less money than they started with. They'll go back to where they grew up, get a low-paying job at a car wash, and blame the military for ruining their life."
"You will be extremely pushed to quit once you're in Basic Training. But you're not supposed to let them get to you."
"They don't tell you how much the drill sergeants try to get to your head and f*** with your emotions."
Roll of the Dice
"Not all jobs are equal, and even inside the same job not all locations and bosses are equal."
"I see a lot of people who joined the military had a really shi**y station and terrible bosses. They were working 12+ hours in awful conditions and getting sh** on by their Leadership constantly."
"They have a very jaded view of the military understandably and they go around telling people all about how shi**y the military is and how much you'll hate it."
"Then there's the people who had really good bosses and jobs they enjoyed. They go around telling people all about how great the military is and how much fun they've had."
"The truth (as someone whose been in for a while) is that it's neither. It's a job that's way more structured. I've had really good, and really bad experiences."
"So when the recruiter says 'you'll love it' just realize that they don't really know what you'll be doing."
Red Tape Until the Very End
"That if you do need to discharge during training, you don't just get to leave, even if you're injured."
"You have to be transferred to a special platoon where it takes weeks-months (depending on how long you've been there, how many pieces of equipment you've been issued, etc...) to undo all your admission papers and effectively sign you out."
"If you're seriously injured, they try not to keep you around for longer then five-nine days. If you're healthy, but you just can't take it anymore, and maybe you've already done seven weeks, get comfortable. It'll be months before you can go home."
"If you ever consider joining special forces units because your recruiters/NCOs says there is a lot of action and war games, they often exclude the constant drilling on minute movements..."
"...the everlasting dredge of entry-drilling and combat techniques and the waiting for f***ing hours because your CO forgot his map or something."
"Often, you will find yourself under 'management' that is barely literate."
"These same people will be of a senior level that is nigh untouchable. This creates the "toxic leadership" you hear about in the news."
"Having spent a generation at war, many of the 'good' leaders have left the military, making the above two issues more apparent."
"All of the stupid comics, cartoons, tv shows, etc are true. There is dumb, then there is Army dumb."
"If you want kids, don't join."
"I was an Army brat and I could say a whole lot more awful shit about the kinds of men you're raising your kids around, how much deployment sucks, what it's like to have a father with PTSD who treats you like an inferior soldier instead of his daughter..."
"...having no idea about civilian life and struggling to survive when you leave home, and how shit it was to go to ten schools before I was 15 and for some reason it was a surprise when I didn't do well. Good fathers don't inflict military life on children, die mad about it."
Keep Your Eyes Peeled
"Everyone cheats when they or their partner is on deployment."
"You can report any rank bullying, racism, sexual harassment, etc. But it will f*** you over more than the guilty person(s)."
"I think I've met a higher percentage of terrible people in the military than I ever met as a civilian."
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