During an economic downturn, young adults may have to put off their college dreams and career aspirations and take on other work to make ends meet. While some may turn to odd jobs, they may want to consider enlisting or commissioning into military service. There are a few advantages to working in the military versus other jobs that may not provide a foundation for the future.
Instead of paying for a school to learn skills you need for the future, military service will pay you to attend a school to learn those skills and enhance them--while still getting paid. If you are interested in a medical career, the air force runs several large hospitals utilizing high-tech medical equipment to diagnose and heal airmen. The Brooke Army Medical Center is the military's top trauma recovery hospital.
Some civilian workplaces might be considered an organized mess, with no real clear way of discerning who does what job and who they report to. Military service can provide an extremely structured environment, where someone's seniority is literally worn on their sleeve. Policies, procedures and guidelines for operation are often endorsed as law by the secretary of defense. In a structured environment, the focus is on the mission.
Learning leadership skills are almost naturally learned when working in a structured environment. From the beginning of military service, members are constantly in training to learn the next level of responsibility. People are constantly surrounded by those who have made the next rank. Even in a four-year enlistment, a military member can advance several ranks, gaining more responsibility and skills with each promotion.
Imagine working in a paid job for four years and earning tens of thousands in dollars for educational advancement. That's what the Montgomery GI Bill can offer military members. Those who serve at least three years and receive an honorable discharge get access to college money for 10 years after service. The amount available increases each year to keep up with college costs. As of October 2008, the Montgomery GI Bill was worth over $42,000.
There is almost always a branch of service that needs members and values their work. Military members who stay out of trouble will know they are employed for the length of their enlistment or commission. For some occupations, the military will offer reenlistment bonuses. That beats working for a company that could close its doors at any minute during an economic crisis.
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