Everyone has different reasons to join the military.
If you’re considering enlisting, it’s important to take some time to think about what you’re hoping to get from signing on that dotted line. A fat sign-on bonus may provide immediate gratification, but you’ll find more satisfaction if your commitment is about more than money.
Some people do it for a change of scenery. Others come from a long line of family members who served. Others simply want a life of adventure and personal fulfillment.
Whatever your reason, make sure it will give you lasting motivation to get past the hard parts — like basic training and deployments — and to the end of your contract.
Interested in a life of military service?
Here’s a list of 10 reasons to go into the military:
1. You Feel Called to Serve
Whether it’s a family tradition or you just have a patriotic spirit, sometimes you can’t help but feel called to serve your country. You might know from an early age, or perhaps you meet a recruiter at just the right time. However it happens, don’t ignore the urge to sign that contract.
2. You’re Ready for Adventure
If you love to travel and explore new areas, what better lifestyle is there? On average, you’ll move every few years to a new duty location. You’ll get to meet new people and see places you might have never gone otherwise. The best part? The government pays you to do it.
3. You Want Marketable Job Skills
No matter how long your contract is, you’re going to pick up skills that are marketable to the civilian world. From boot camp on, take advantage of training opportunities to learn skills that will matter in the outside world, including technical and analytical skills. You’ll find valuable, specialized skill sets in positions like nuclear machinist mates and military intelligence officers. Choose your military job wisely!
If you’re looking for a job that will take care of you from the minute you “apply,” the military is it. From day one, you’ll have access to medical facilities and living quarters. Later down the road, you can contribute to benefits like retirement via TSP, your GI Bill, and life insurance. Also, how many jobs give you 30 days of paid vacation every year? If you’re looking for a secure lifestyle, the military can provide it in multiple aspects.
5. Job Stability Sounds Good
Even when the economy is bad, the military is always hiring. If you can’t find work in your local area, the military might be a good option for you. You’ll get paid on time and won’t have to worry about your next paycheck as long as you have a signed military contract.
6. Higher Education Wasn’t for You
College isn’t for everyone. But you have to make a living somehow and sometimes that means joining the military. Make no mistake, you’ll learn important trade skills to best prepare you to do your job in the military. While the training upfront may be more intense than college in some ways, your service will be just as valuable as a college degree now and in the future.
7. College is in Your Future
On the other hand, if you do want to go to college, it can be very expensive. On average, in-state tuition alone averages $25,290. Private school tuition is even higher. If you one day want to go to college, consider signing a short-term military contract. Once you’re done, you can go back to school on the GI Bill. You’ll also receive a living stipend based to assist with living costs. Check out this GI Bill comparison tool to see which bill benefits you the most.
8. Leadership is in Your DNA
The military is always in need of strong leaders. Whether you come in as an enlisted recruit or a commissioned officer, bring a can-do, positive attitude along. Those who showcase leadership abilities tend to move up quickly, especially when paired with integrity and a desire to grow professionally.
9. You Want to Retire Early
If you serve 20 years or more in any branch, you’re eligible for retirement. For those who sign fresh out of high school, that means you can retire as early as around the age of 40. That’s plenty of time to enjoy a second career, start a business, focus on your family, or just relax.
10. You’re Seeking Positive Change
Sometimes a drastic change is necessary to make a life-altering, positive change. That might be joining the military for you. Whether you want to get in better shape, build your self esteem, or just change your environment, you can create a new life for yourself at any time. One way to discover your true potential is when you sign up for serving your country — it gives you a whole new outlook you’ve never had before.
Join the Military for Your Own Reasons
If one of the reasons above resonates with you, talk to a recruiter to find out what skills are in high-demand. Then, do research on your own to find out what fields interest you the most. You can always visit multiple recruiting offices to see which branch seems like the best fit for you.
Before you join, make sure it’s what you really want. Of course, you won’t know exactly what military life is like until you’re in the thick of it, but you can get a pretty good idea from talking to current service members.
And, remember, the service life isn’t for everyone. But it does offer some pretty fantastic benefits and opportunities that you can’t find in any other occupation. Benefits are only a small piece of reasons to go into the military, which means it’s wise to look at the whole picture of what military life would do for you.
When you join, do it for you. The long-term benefits will be far more rewarding when you make the choice to serve independently and to improve your own life.
Why do you want to join the military? Let us know in the comments below!