You signed up for a 4 or 6 yr contract to serve your country, however that time is coming to a close. Do you decide to reenlist in the military or begin the path of entering the civilian world that will leave you behind if you are not ready. It can be a very tough decision for not only yourself, but for your family as well. Having been down this road myself and working with veterans who separated from the military, only to realize reenlisting was a better option for them, I have gathered some thoughts to think about as you come to that point in your military contract where you are faced to make this decision.
Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider reenlisting:
So you want to believe you will be able to separate and within reasonable time walk right into a civilian job. Although the way the economy is still trying to get its footing, depending on what field you are looking to enter may be more of a challenge than you had planned for. Although we hear on a monthly basis the number of jobs are increasing in the private sector, we never truly find out what jobs they are and how much they are paying. Having a job today in the civilian sector is great, but many families still are struggling and need a 2nd job just to make ends meet.
When the military was well funded and the need for a strong military with modern weaponry was needed, reenlistment bonuses existed. Many fields had a nice chunk of bonus money waiting for you to collect, as long as you decided to extend your stay in the military. For many, this money was worth staying in the military for another number of years.
Switching career fields
Switching your career field in the military is much easier than if you were to try this in the civilian sector. As a civilian, it isn’t simply applying to get approval to cross train into another field, and once approved you will be sent to Tech school. In the civilian sector, you’re on your own. You will need to fund your own way to gain knowledge (by attending college) and experience which is much more difficult than one can imagine these days. Don’t forget, although you have the GI Bill benefits, it may not cover your whole cost of tuition.
Although the military is working on changes to the pension which will be a tough fight, what is in place can be worth the stay. Besides Federal and State jobs, the private sector for the most part has done away with pensions. Simply put, you will have a 401K to invest in which sounds great, but if the market crashes so could your investment. Pensions are hard to come by these days, but what the military offers can be much more beneficial in the long run. Here is further info on Military retirement: http://militarypay.defense.gov/Pay/Retirement.aspx
You won’t find it any stronger than what you see in the military. In the civilian sector, you may find close knit groups amongst those in other uniform services such as police, fire fighting, Medical and those coming together for a common cause, but otherwise not so much. In the military though, camaraderie is much stronger, because we don’t go into battle as coworkers, we go into battle as brothers and sisters from what I have been told by our combat veterans. Without camaraderie, you may feel alone and to many working in a group of people who support each other and work together to be the best they can be is very important compared to other benefits that come with any type of job.
If you haven’t already, you be given that opportunity to choose to extend your enlistment in the military. For some it is an easy choice not to reenlist, but for many it is a difficult choice that one has to way all the options. Being out of the military since 2003, I can honestly say the thoughts of “what if I had reenlisted” continue to plague my mind. I have come to love some aspects of being a civilian again, but I have also come to realize maybe reenlisting could have a been a better option.