The grass isn’t always greener. (is that even a word.. greener.. )


So this video is meant to be a HA HA Funny. Sad fact is it actually hits a lot closer to home for a lot of troops transitioning out of the military then people realize.

For a regular individual joining the military right out of Highschool is often seen as a good idea. Allows the person to step out, grow up a bit, mature, earn some great skills, build up confidence, leadership capabilities, see the world.

It comes with its dangers of course the all to often common ones of being in the military. But what alot don’t realize is for most folks who join the military right out of highschool, then go into the military they are essentially trading one set of “parents” for another.

Your standard 18 year old may have had a part time job or even a full time job in the summer, earned some money, maybe saved up some. Likely didn’t have to pay for rent or food, biggest bill they may have today is paying for a cell phone, maybe putting gas in the car, or paying for insurance.

Most everything is taken care of for them while still at home. Its just part of being at home. They graduate, join the military and go from that home life, to a new one.

They still have some one essentially telling them what to do when to do it, how to do it. Just in a bit more forceful manner. Thats just in basic/boot camp. Finish that up and they attend their Military occupational specialty school, and things relax a little. Depending on what MOS they’ve chosen they can be at that school from any were of a couple months to up to half a year. They live in a barracks, eat at the chow hall, if they are at the school a while, they’ll get weekends and evenings off, making a steady pay check its at this point they start getting the opportunity to “live” a little. Step out side of the constant “home life” as it were start realizing what its like to be an “adult” with money. But there’s always that overwatch aspect. Their squad leader, platoon sergeant, instructors, team leaders will always be lingering and watching, hopefully making sure they arent doing things they shouldn’t or acting stupid.

Big key factor is if they default on a bill, the chain of command will find out and they will be forced to pay it and be punished. Its a factor of military life that few realize, and business use to their advantage. Don’t pay that credit card bill? Boom your company commander is notified, guess who you get to talk to tomorrow.. and then after that, restriction to barracks for defaulting of one payment, and automatic garnishment till paid off, and watched like a hawk, just to name a few things. so again the responsibility aspect is there.. but its still sort of like being at home with mom and dad.

So they get a few years in, experience under their belts, mature a bit, possibly now have some rank and responsibility were they are responsible for watching over a few troops. Still living in the barracks as single, biggest worry now is paying that car bill on that sweet mustang that they bought as a private at a 10 percent interest rate on a 10 year loan making their payment roughly half of their monthly income each month.. and oh.. they are only making about 1000 dollars a month maybe a little bit more. But hey! foods free in the chow hall, barracks is free. (Shocker folks not really, they actually pay you then deduct that cost of living out of your monthly paychecks, so if you don’t eat at the chow hall.. they get their money either way.)

Now the military is getting better at educating troops on financial   responsibility, and general “life” skills. But you still have that huge elephant standing in the corner of the room.. the whole “Your military skills will translate to civilian life!”

Yeah.. and bullets taste like pudding pops.

One of the biggest and most difficult challenges facing alot of troops these days is that statement. They don’t. Even on MOS that you’d consider easily translating across.

“OH you were a military police officer?! Perfect! you can get hired by a police department!”

Translation: “Oh.. you spent 4 years as a Military Police, well.. you have the prior experience.. but sadly your certification doesn’t translate across into civilian standards, so you’d still have to go to a POST academy for six months, graduate, then we’d likely put you with an FTO up to a year just to make sure your Military training didn’t impact your capabilities to interact with the civilian populous.”

No joke, I’ve actually been told that. And PLEASE do not put in for a job with a Police department and let them know you hold TWO MOS, one being Military police and the second… dun dun dun.. INFANTRY. “oh.. well we can’t hire you till you’ve been out for at least two years.”

Now of course not all places are like this, but it is a large factor aspect. And there are alot more MOS that are affected by this.

You’d think a Corpsman, or a Medic would be able to at least transition into a civilian EMT position. Nope. Licensing does not cross platform transfer.

And lets talk about all that “leadership” skills and “Confidence” and “Able to think under pressure.” Yeah. Military is great at developing that and alot of troops learn and earn this through their time in. But I’ve come to see that in many situations, what it actually translates to in the civilian world is “You think you are better then me at this job.” or you are seen as a threat of a supervisors position.

And why is that? Well some of its pretty simple from what I’ve seen. The military teaches. Procedure, policy and rules. You follow procedures. you follow policy and you follow the rules. If you don’t you get punished or dead. That simple. It teaches the point that you follow a procedure, policy or rule to the point that you know it inside out and backwards. You may not understand right now why you are doing this but eventually if you have any G2 (intelligence) you’ll understand it by the time you’ve mastered what ever your learning. And alot of times the military teaches you a way to do this in such a short period of time its almost unnatural how quickly you pick up on things. Now in the civilian world, thats not always the case. You may have Procedures, Policies and Rules, but often times you’ll have a supervisor who doesn’t quiet comprehend as to why you have them, or fully understand what they are or why you are doing them, or even know them all.

Not always the case, and you have that in the military to, but civilian situation its far more often. And when a new employee comes in 1. confident. capable and straight off the green machine. 2. learns things twice as fast then what the supervisor can/does. That becomes dangerous.

Again you don’t always have these situations but its far more common then people think. Military folks can be either the best employee you ever have or your worst nightmare no matter the situation.

And its just as bad for the Military member trying to translate into the civilian world. Lets look at the Humor aspect.

Good lord how true is the statement in the video “no one gets my humor!” Far to often I’ve found this even in my case. I don’t tell jokes in public. What the guys and gals in the barracks would find funny would likely have civilian friends looking at me like I’m more insane then they already think I am.

And its not that military folks are mentally ill, or disturb, or insane or insert any other negative description. Alot of their humor isn’t “Dark” by nature. Its just personal. its intimate to them. Civilians have this often to but I’ve found military it goes beyond just the “acquaintance or friendship” aspect. Humor to the military is a life saver, and a sanity check in a lot of ways. Its a way to share a situation that in all rights is horrible no matter how you look at it, but turns it into one of the most hilarious situations you’ve seen and its shared with those who experienced it. Alot of times it is dirty, or raunchy or just plain weird. But its always shared with those who sat in that situation with you.

Or its military technical. I have no idea how many times I’ve told some one to go get me an I D 10 T form, or a S T One. Because they were literally acting like an Idiot or a rock, and had them look at me to the point I grew more frustrated with myself for them not getting it. And that’s the final thing on humor. its not dehumanizing, or demeaning or demoralizing.

To have been told to go get blinker fluid for a humvee in your unit, yeah you were being picked on but in many ways it was a “Welcome home”. If you didn’t get told to go find a box of grid squares, they honestly and truly probably didn’t like you.

Now civilian life is just as hard, don’t get me wrong, but there are some seriously tough challenges for folks transitioning out of the Military into the Civilian world. The Civilian world is big bad and scary, its got its own rules of engagement and you can’t over come challenges in the civilian world by pting it to death, or knife handing it, or screaming at it, or shooting it, or blowing it up.

In the Civilian world if you make a mistake, typically some one doesn’t die or get hurt. And that leads to my final thoughts on transition into the civilian world.

For alot of Military folks who transition over, they are often told that they don’t take the civilian world serious enough. And its not that they don’t want to, they just see everything differently.

For many military folks, their daily life for years on end was literally NOT dieing. Going day to day avoiding incoming fire, and out going very shitty chow at a contracted chow hall. If they had a duty to write up a memo, that memo was perfect down to the last period on the last sentence. Every bit of attention to detail applied to it or it was turned back and done over again and again and again. Why would that matter? Because of the aspect of Attention to Detail.

You are out on patrol and you don’t pick up that slight glint of light off a coppery piece of wire strung across the road. Some one dies. Attention to detail!

And in the civilian world many places just don’t do that level of attention to detail. So alot of Military folks hear “You are to serious! lighten up!” or “You are to stiff.. calm down man its not a war zone here.” And if they do they some times are able to blend in effectively and work, but often it goes the direct opposite, they relax so much that it ultimately impacts their performance at the job. The happy medium is often very difficult for military folks in the civilian world.

But that’s what needs to be found. That Happy Medium. and frankly I don’t know if the damn thing exists.

So for all you Military folks out there, realize the transition can happen and it is doable, takes a good bit of work EVERY day, but you have over come worse.

And you Civilian folks out there realize military folks are not all stick in the mud hard ass, bullies out to take your jobs your significant others and drink all your whiskey. And occasionally they may need a hand in understanding your world, just as you may need a hand understanding the world they came from.

Its a small world after all. And we all live in it. (Unless your a mole man.. then you live un.. dammit nope you still live in it. carry on.)

Howdy and Semper Fi.

 

 

 

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