Monday, January 19, 2009

Joining the Military for Money

There's an article in today's New York Times that looks at military recruiting and the impact of bad economic times.  According to the column,

The recession has provided a jolt for the Army, which hopes to decrease its roster of less qualified applicants in the coming year. It also has helped ease the job of recruiters who face one of the most stressful assignments in the military.
With the economy down and unemployment up, some people who ordinarily would not consider joining the military see it as a regular source of income and/or job training. The article gives some personal examples and statements from people who joined primarily because of financial reasons.

Bad economic times may be good for the military and its recruitment goals, but in my opinion joining the military for mainly financial reasons is a bad idea. I went to a military college, spent four years in Army ROTC, and was around numerous people who were either in the military or going in. In the course of that time, it became apparent to me that I was probably tempermentally unsuited for military service. For one thing I like to argue -- a lot, and I dislike following what I consider to be stupid bureaucratic rules -- the kind that permeate many large institutions and all government ones. I doubt I would have done well in the army. If you want to join the military, have some better reasons than needing a job, or you could have  a miserable time of it. And don't join thinking that you won't ever have to see combat, because you never know. The military needs people that want to be warriors, or to support warriors, not people who just want to collect a paycheck and stay safe.


  1. I agree that it is important to join the armed forces for the right reasons, but just because money is one of the reasons doesn't make it a bad choice. I am scheduled to ship out at the end of the month and I am very excited to be doing something interesting and challenging with my life. I will be spending the next two years in training, but it will be worth it. If you are interested in finding out more about my experience of joining the Navy, I wrote in more depth about it at

  2. i wish you luck. remember that your only a rookie, your excitment my crumble.

  3. You know I hate to say this, but this is me, this is exactly me. I graduate with a BA in English in May 2008. The only job I have held is a substitute teaching position, I have no desire to become a full time (real teacher). I am still looking for a job, at the same time however I have joined the navy, to ship out December 22nd 2012. Now if I find a job prior to December I wont go, however if I do not then I will either go or take up a position at good ole Burger king.

    Why I joined- because I wish to go back to school for a 2 year nursing program and the military is the only way to pay for it. Mind you I still have a 16k loan from my first degree and I don't want to milk my parents anymore. Am I joining for the wrong reason? Heck ya, I will be frank about it, up front. But unfortunately it really is the situation of the present day. Finding a job is incredibly difficult right now, I understand why more are joining the military. Probably the scariest thing is when I went down to MEPS, to find more people, college grad etc.. in the same position as me.