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.