I have been a commissioned Naval Officer for about four and half-years, completing two Division Officer tours on guided-missile destroyers, and a Global War on Terror Support Assignment (GSA) to Afghanistan. I've had good times, I've had bad times.
I think some of the big things leading me to the Navy was a sense of service (wanting to serve my country) and a desire to do something different. I did not want to go work in a cubicle farm, and I did not want to do something where my primary motivation at the end of the work week was to make money. I wanted to work for something bigger than myself.
I've gotten to do a lot of cool things. I've driven ships, participated in the evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon in 2006, gotten to fire an SM-2 missile, and been to Afghanistan. I've been to 19 countries, and made some amazing friends.
I've suffered through utterly incompetent and sometimes abusive leadership, and worked tons of hours. I've gone weeks off of four hours of sleep a night. I've been yelled at, berated, and punished for failures utterly beyond my control. I've devoted large chunks of my life, sacrificing all of a social life, to getting through an inspection, with little to show for it at the end except for the right to get back underway and spend more time away from friends and family.
I've enjoyed it and plan to do it some more. It's not for everyone, I'll readily confess, and things will be getting worse over the next few years. But I'm sticking around.
Goods-steady income, chance to do something different, chance to see the world, opportunity to serve your country, get great leadership training. Get paid well for what you do. You'll have great stories at the end of it, different from what every one else can talk about. Immediate responsibility-when you get out of college, you will be responsible for up to billions of dollars of government property and people's lives, something your friends could never relate to. Highly respected by most members of society (if not well understood). Make incredibly tight friendships.
Bads-it's not a 9-5 job. You will be sacrificing a lot of time with family, friends, and in general to the needs of the Navy. You will not have a "normal" life. Good opportunity to be gone for months on end. The funding situation for the Navy will be shrinking over the next few years (like with every other service). Don't get paid well for what you have to deal with. For all the talk about support our military, etc, it's kind of distant idea for most civilians in America. They appreciate the ideal more than the reality of the situation, mainly because they don't know or understand the reality (which isn't that big a deal, but it does come up). You can't quit. You'll have to the opportunity to work with some of the best, hardest-working people you'll ever meet, and then break them because you will have to over extend your people to make up for shortfalls in other areas. Holly Graf. A lot of the time, you'll invest a huge amount of personal effort, motivation, and life for very hard-to-define goals and objectives that don't feel like it was worth it (I worked all those hours just to sit off the coast of some country and do nothing?).
· 4 years ago