Army Life vs. Civilian Life
Life is full of surprises and hardships. It has bill after bill that you must pay to keep up the life everyone wants to live. Civilian life is mainly working day after day, at the same place, doing the same things daily. While in the army you don’t know what you could be doing day to day. No one thinks about all the other opportunities the army offers and the advantages that come along with it. There are so many other great prospects that come along with army life that you won’t see in civilian life.
Of course the army will mean giving up the way of life you have always known, but not all of those changes are bad. Yes, no one looks forward to leaving their family and hometown, but this downfall also means traveling the world. The army has many different posts and you don’t know where they might send you. It could be a different part of the USA like Hawaii or it could be a different country like Europe. This allows you to see a different part of the world you might never see otherwise. You will see how different things are done in other parts of the world.
The army might give you some days off while you are there and you can sight see. You would already be living there so it would be like a paid vacation, all you would pay for would be souvenirs. Being stationed in different places would be like a new adventure everywhere you go. Normal civilian jobs would never give you opportunities to see other parts the world unrestrictedly, like the army can.
Another advantage of the army is the retirement plan you will have. Your health insurance is paid for while you are in the army and will remain paid when you retire. The retirement and medical assistance is better in the army than any you can get with ordinary jobs.
If you are injured in active duty the VA will pay for your doctor visits and the medicine you will receive. Medicine can be expensive; most insurance only covers part of it, while military health insurance will pay for the whole amount, unlike normal insurance.
The army also allows for personal growth. You will work harder in training and push your body and mind harder then you ever thought possible. You will learn to set goals for your body and learn to be self-dependent. In life there will not always be someone there holding your hand and telling you that you can do it, it will be up to you if you make it or fail. Your body is not as fragile as you think and the army will allow you to learn just how much your mind and body can take, and just how strong you really are.
The army is different from civilian life in that there are many branches, with many different jobs and training offered. The army consists of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard. These branches are different in the environment they entitle. The Army allows you to live on the land in different parts of the world which is the most practical branch when wanting a normal citizen life. While the Navy is on a ship, this means if you join the Navy you will live and spend most of your time on a ship in the water. While in both of these you will be allowed to get help furthering your education and the benefits that come with being in the United States Army.
Another bonus is you can have the same career inside and out of the army. The same jobs like dentistry and the medical field are needed in the army just as they are needed in the civilian world. For example some young adults may want to become a veterinarian, and they think, “What would the military need with a vet?” But in reality there is a need for vets in the army, there are specially trained animals that help with undercover work in other countries and dogs trained to prevent drug smuggling into the USA. Someone must care for those animals and keep them healthy when doing such important jobs. Being a veterinarian is also a job that you can do in the army, along with many other jobs, that can be easily transferred in to civilian life when you retire or when your deployment comes to an end.
One major difference between army life and civilian life is all the compensations you will receive. This is not often thought about. An average civilian will make around $49,953 a year while a
starting military sergeant will make an average of $29,380 a year. Yes, the civilian does receive better annual revenue and sounds better off, but that does not include all the taxes and necessities they will pay for that year. A civilian might pay thousands of dollars for their house, food, taxes and health insurance. But military sergeants will have their house, food and health insurance paid for, so they won’t be paying that out of their annual salary. Also military sergeants will receive tax advantages around $2,716 a year. After civilians pay their taxes they will be making roughly $36,360 annually, and that does not include the necessities they will pay for that year. With all the housing and food allowances and the tax advantages and the possible special pay an army sergeant can receive they will have made the $29,380 a year but it really amounts to $53,960 a year after all the compensations added to their revenue.
All in all, army life can have many more opportunities and benefits than civilian life. It helps your life during the present with allowances you will receive and in the future when you have kids and retire. It does have its down faults with leaving your family and home but you will gain much valued skill and be able to find a new home that you will come to love just as well. So with the falls that may come with army life there are so many new openings to be explored, there are many reimbursements you will get with army life that you cannot get otherwise.
© Copyright 2018 15thokod. All rights reserved.
By Karen Burton I often hear from other civilians that folks in the military "have it made". But do they really? As a civilian working in a military world, I see that both sides have its advantages and disadvantages. We all have the same concerns; will our families be provided for? Will we be healthy? Will our children have the same advantages as others?Some people think that members of the Canadian Forces are over paid. As a civilian we are paid for a regular work day and accordingly to labour laws, entitled to overtime pay, shift premium pay, etc. As a military member you are expected to be on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. I for one know that my employer wouldn't be able to pay me enough to take on that responsibility. There is something to be said about going home every night or knowing when you book your vacation time you don't have to worry about the possibility of being called away to build sand bag dykes or be sent off to a war zone. Another worry of many is our health. As a civilian, we either pay out of pocket or sign into a group benefit package to cover dental and extended health procedures for ourselves and our family members. Military members have the benefit of a full team of doctors, dentists, physiotherapists; you name it to look after their bodies to ensure they are fit to defend our country. Medical services are often accessible on base and when they have to travel, that can also be arranged through their unit. But what about the military members families? Family members only receive a portion of these expenses covered and are not able to access the same resources as their spouses. On a base like Shilo, that means that the families are travelling into Brandon or Winnipeg. Having recently undergone a series of physio appointments, I know first hand how time consuming this can be as well as costly if you are paying for childcare (which is not eligible for most group health benefits). If asked what the best benefit of the military is, many will probably answer that it's the job security. A soldier does not have to worry about getting fired; they bring home a guaranteed pay check that does not depend on hours. In the civilian world, even garnering a job doesn't guarantee a pay check. However, a soldier can't quit his job if he doesn't like it. A civilian is free to leave their job at will.As a civilian, your family is usually separate from your work. As a soldier, your family is large part of the military as well. Only a military wife will know the acronyms like LFWA and BSM that are constantly thrown around. Only a military child will tell you, "My daddy's in Afghanistan" without as much as a blink. There are many things about life in the civilian world that many take for granted, such as seeing your children grow and the differences and personality of everything around you. The most important aspect of civilian life that military personnel miss out on is their family. Your family is a part of you, and most people require the support of their families to survive. Soldiers who are deployed can miss months or years of their family's lives. Civilians likely take for granted waking each morning to see their baby boy grow a little larger, whereas someone in the military might leave an infant on assignment, and come back to a walking, talking toddler. From my view looking out, both lives have their advantages and their disadvantages. The key for me is to accept the differences and take this life for what it's meant to be. We all chose our destiny, I am just glad there are soldiers and their families out there that have chosen to make my life a little safer. Karen Burton is the Outreach and Information Coordinator at the Shilo Military Family Resource Centre.
© Copyright 2018 Westman Journal