When civilians think of the military and those who serve, some tend to assume it’s an incredibly dangerous job and they aren’t sure why someone would put their life on the line. Others understand the honor and pride that goes along with defending our country. But in many cases, it’s actually a combination of other reasons why people join the military.
Yes, it can be a dangerous job – there’s no doubt about that – but not all soldiers are on the front lines. Yes, earning the pride and dignity that goes along with serving in the military is a big reason why many enlist. But add benefits, travel opportunities, and job stability to the mix, and you’ll start to understand why it’s a viable career move for many young people.
Here, we’ll go into more detail about some of the myriad of reasons why someone would want to join the military and why it’s a life-changing career choice.
In American culture, international travel isn’t a priority. Yet, many young people yearn for the chance to see the world and experience different sights, sounds, and smells. By joining the military, you’ll have the chance to see many corners of the world, whether you’re deployed in Guam, Italy, or Japan, for example.
Not to mention the domestic cities you’ll get a chance to live in and experience. It’s common knowledge that military families move around a lot. You’ll be based in a couple of different American cities along the way and with our rich cultural diversity between states, there’s a lot to take in. In short, travel opportunities are a huge perk of joining the military.
The benefits of military service are numerous. Starting with pay, enlisted soldiers’ salaries start at around $20,000 a year while officers’ salaries start at $32,000, not including bonuses and promotions.
You’ll also receive health care for you and your family that initiates the day you begin active service. Plus, even after leaving the military you’re covered with post-service benefits like VA loans on a home and, if you stay through retirement, a full pension with the ability to keep your same health care plan.
Especially important for those with families or other dependents, these benefits can save lives and are one of the major reasons people join the military.
While a soldier’s salary may not seem like much, the perk of working in the military is more about stability than numbers. While a rocky economy can affect everyone, if you’re in the military, you can count on having a job while the rest of the country faces growing unemployment.
Overall, you may not have the highest salary in the room (although, work your way up and you could definitely make some good money), job stability and peace of mind that your position is secure can be worth a lot.
A Sense of Purpose and Community
Oftentimes, people join the military to escape their current situation. For people who come from bad homes or who got caught up with the wrong crowd growing up, the military can be an honorable way to gain a sense of purpose.
Similarly, you’re bound to find a strong community of like-minded people while serving their country. For people who’ve had a rough start – and even for those who just feel lost – joining the military is a way to make a life that they can be proud of.
Education and Training
In this day and age, trying to get a job without a college degree can be an uphill battle. Out of high school, many kids wait to attend college until they have a better idea of what they’d like to do. Often, they end up stuck serving tables or working retail because life goes on. Or, even more likely, college can be so expensive that it’s truly not an option for many Americans.
Joining the military can be a way to get the education you always wanted. With active-duty tuition assistance for those who are studying while serving, and student loan relief for those who are drowning in debt from the degree they earned beforehand, joining the military can finally give you a college education to help you in the future; even if you don’t stay in the military through to retirement.
Plus, the military provides technical training. By the time you’ve finished serving, you’ll have a plethora of skills under your belt that can boost your ranking for higher pay and offer more opportunities both within and outside the service.
Still, even with all these fantastic benefits, it’s best to do your research before joining the military. It’s not like other jobs that you can just leave if it’s not the right fit. If you join the military, you’re in for at least eight years. But you’ll clearly get a lot in return. Talk to a recruiter about taking advantage of all the opportunities the military has to offer.