Have you ever thought about joining the military? Maybe you don’t know what to do after high school, or you want a stable career with a lot of job security. No doubt, there are many good reasons to join the military. It can be a highly fulfilling career.
However, it’s not everyone. Military service can be very demanding and dangerous.
So, if you’re on the fence about whether to join, here are the pros and cons to consider:
Reasons to join the military
Serve your country. Your main motivation to join the military should be to serve your country and fellow citizens. If you feel a sense of duty to protect their and your freedoms, this is the best reason to join of all.
Challenging work. It’s no secret that military service can be hard. It involves physical labor, mental strain, and stress—but you’ll grow stronger for it.
Camaraderie. Joining the military means entering a special group of fellow soldiers, many of whom may become lifelong friends. There’s nothing like the bond between those who would sacrifice their lives for each other.
Education and training. The military will teach you valuable leadership and technical skills that will serve you in life and a civilian career later, should you choose one. You and your family will also get free tuition and educational benefits through the GI Bill.
Opportunity to travel. Military members can be stationed all across the globe. You won’t be on vacation, but you will still get to see places you never would otherwise. And, of course, you can get time off to explore them as a tourist (granted it’s safe).
Physical fitness. From basic training to active duty, military service will keep you in top physical condition. This can be great for your health and overall well-being.
Benefits. The military provides generous benefits that include medical and dental coverage, paid vacation days, 401(k) retirement plans, VA home loans, and more. You’ll also get military perks from many civilian businesses that want to support the troops.
Reasons not to join the military
Dangerous environment. As a soldier, you will be required to go into harm’s way and, if needed, harm others. The risk of injury and death is real. Even when not in combat, you may be exposed to dangerous environments that could leave you with PTSD or diseases such as mesothelioma.
Away from loved ones. Military members are often away from home, forcing them to miss holidays, birthdays, and opportunities to care for loved ones in need. You may be deployed at any time. This can be a huge sacrifice, especially if you tend to get homesick.
Frequent relocation. You won’t have full control over where you live. You will likely be forced to move your family every few years and never be able to put down roots. That can be a hard thing to ask of a spouse and children.
Highly structured. As a soldier, you must follow strict rules regarding everything from making your bed to styling your hair. You will be required to follow orders from your superiors. This can instill self-discipline, but it’s not for everyone.
Major commitment. When you join the military, you sign a legally binding contract that states how long you’ll serve. You cannot break this commitment without severe legal consequences. The commitment is typically 4-6 years, but it can be longer.
Joining the military is not a choice you should take lightly. Carefully weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s the right path for you and your loved ones.