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Joining the Army?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I’m 22 and am planning on joining the Army. When I was at school I really wanted to join but as an Officer but didn’t make it. I got an interview but was turned down as I had been in trouble with the police.

I got a load of Community Service 2 years back but went back to the Careers Office and they said I could apply now as I haven’t been in any trouble since but as a regular soldier which is alright as I think I could do well and maybe get promoted.

I haven’t had a full time job and have being doing bits and pieces and can’t see me getting anything decent. I have a 1 year old boy with my girlfriend and would like to be a good Dad for him and have a decent job. My gf doesn’t like the idea of me joining and my Mum is the same but my Dad thinks it would be good for me.

I met a lad I went to school with who left at 16 and joined the Army and he said it was the best thing he ever did. He’d been to Afghanistan and seen some bad things but said the training was great and the mates he made helped him get through it alright. He had been promoted and told me I should go for it. This lad was always in trouble at school but said that since he had been in the Army he had grown up.

I know I am a bit older than most in joining – 22 – and I know there are risks but I still think it would be a good career and I would be doing a good thing.

Am I mad in doing this or do you think it is a good move?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Dave20 wrote: »
    Am I mad in doing this or do you think it is a good move?

    You've obviously given it a lot of thought, what does your girlfriend think?

    I know it's a tricky thing to think about, but how secure will she be with your baby should the worst happen? (I know you could get hit by a bus tomorrow but when you know you'll be in danger it's especially worth asking those questions.)

    Let us know what you decided. And don't forget, you're not committed until you sign a contract so you can go through the interview process and still decide it's not for you after all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah I have thought about it alot - when I got turned down before i realised that is was something I really wanted to do.

    My gf is against it like I said. She says that the baby should be the main priority and was saying like you did what is the worst happened but I said about the bus too! She doesn't think it is a good career - I don't know why but she seems to thing that the Army is for losers that can't get a job anywhere else. She doesn't think that it is a good career - I have takled to her to try and persuade her - but she thinks I can do better but it's hard to get a decent job these days with a bit of excitement especially with a criminal record, even though it's not that bad.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I joined when I was 23, and I'm nearly 26 now. I actually took an initial pay cut to join the army. I'm now earning about £10k a year more than I was.

    To be honest, its always going to be quality of time with your kid rather than quantity, not that im saying it is going to be ok to never see the child, doing something you really want to do and supporting the family and yet still spending enough quality time with the kid is better than a lot of the creatures manage on Jeremy Kyle.

    I got knocked over by a car and very nearly killed, a fair while before I joined the army. I was of course ok in the end, but highlights the inherent factor that if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, it is going to happen no matter what job you are in.

    I too thought about going for officer, but went soldier in the end, admittedly not because of any issues with the police in the past, it is just what I wanted to do.

    If you do have any particular questions you are more than welcome to PM me, but I will be honest about things. Plus the best people to speak to regards recruiting is actually the recruiting staff either by email online or popping into the nearest office to you.

    Ps. if it is a joint forces office, dont let the RAF or the Navy poach you ;)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If it's what you feel you want to do, then by all means go for it. The initial wages for soldiers isn't great, but the longer you stay in and get promoted, the more money you'll be on anyway, plus you get subsidised living and it's more secure than pretty much every other job. However, I do sympathise with where your girlfriend is coming from, not the "soldiers are losers" thing which is offensive, but why she wouldn't want you to join. She wants you to be there for her and her son and some people feel as if they're being abandoned if their boyfriend or girlfriend runs off to join the armed forces, leaving them with full responsibility, then there's the stress of you getting killed. The risks of dying when you're deployed as a soldier are obviously higher than the risks of dying as a civilian. Not saying it's right or wrong, it's just the way it is and how people think. Talk it over with your girlfriend, maturely, and see if you can list out the pros and cons properly, before you do anything.

    As it's partly for work related reasons, though as you need a job, etc. I'd reccommend not choosing a role that isn't relevant in civilian life, i.e. infantry, artillery, armour (all three are combat which is dangerous as well) but something which you can use in civilian life like the Royal Engineers/REME. They'll train you on the job and give you the work experience to boot, so after you finish the service, or should something unfortunate happen (medical discharge for example) you'll have skills you can use in "civvy street".

    Don't worry so much about your criminal record, as you said it was minor and you only got community service, it will be Spent within 3-5 years anyway, so you won't even have to declare you have a criminal record soon enough unless you require a CRB check, but that's only for healthcare/teaching and other jobs which require great contact with the vulnerable.

    Good luck.

    P.S. I'd love to be joining myself, but I'm probably medically disqualified due to self-harm issues.
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