Advantages and Disadvantages of Joining the Army




If you’ve already decided to join the Army, or you are still on the fence about it, this article may help you to make your final decision.


It doesn’t really matter what your reasoning is for joining the Army – wish to travel (for free), don’t want to go to college, can’t afford to go to college, want to serve your country, so on, so forth…


All of these are plenty good enough reasons in and of themselves.



Though this list doesn’t cover all arguments for and against, it does serve as a general summary of what you ought to take into account.




Advantages of Joining the Army


1  Paycheck is guaranteed, rent and utilities are free

You can’t expect to become a millionaire if you join the Military.


Nevertheless, you do have the peace of mind that your paycheck will be guaranteed – on the 1st of each month and on the 15th of each month.


Your paycheck is not dependent on you being a hard worker.


If you’re on a higher pay grade or you’re married, you can live entirely free of charge, in town, care of the government. The government pay for your rent and they will provide you with a set amount for utility expenses.


If your utility bills are less than what the government give you, you can keep the change.


Furthermore, you also get a “clothing allowance.”


The clothing allowance is, in fact, meant to cover uniform expenses. But you can use it for anything you want.



2  Vacation time is paid

Most employees in the U.S. enjoy paid vacation time.


Nevertheless, the U.S. paid vacation time is pretty stingy in comparison to the likes of the U.K.


In the U.S., generally, workers get, on average, 16 days paid vacation per annum. In the U.K. it’s 28 days per annum.


However, in the Military, in return for your service, you “earn” no less than 2.5 days’ leave per month: 30 days’ leave per year.


What’s more is that you are provided with leave whenever you join a new duty station so you can house hunt.


You get extra leave if you have a child, regardless you are Mom or Dad.


You are entitled to take as much as 75 days’ leave within a 12-month period, on the basis that command permits you to do so.



3  College is free

Can’t or don’t want to afford college?


While you are on active duty, the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill covers the cost of your education.


The Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, pays for college as well as rental after honorable discharge from the Military.


During your enlistment, if you do, for whatever reason, forgo your schooling, providing that you have already completed no less than ten years of active duty, you’re at liberty to make a transfer of your G.I. Bill allowances to your kids or to your spouse.



4  On-the-job training

Every job offers some level of training. And the Military is no different.


With training comes future opportunity – whether that be in the Military or whether that be after you’ve moved on from the Military.


On-the-job Military training can, and does, open up other vocational avenues later on.



5  Discounted flights

If you’re Military, you are entitled to discounted flights with many airlines.


If you choose to wear your dress uniform when flying, you may have the honor of being “bumped up” to business or first class. It does happen.



6  Free healthcare

Perhaps, if you’ve succumbed to a physical injury in the past you opted not to call for an ambulance because of the costs involved.


If you’re active Military, you get free ambulance service.


Need a dentist but afraid of the high costs? Active Military personnel get dental care free, too.



7  Travel

When in the Army, you get lots of opportunity to travel.


That may be traveling within the U.S. Or it can be traveling (and living) elsewhere, such as Europe or Asia.


If you’re in the Navy, you’ll possibly have the opportunity to visit places you’ve only dreamed about to date since the U.S. has Naval bases globally.


If you are stationed elsewhere, the Navy pays expenses so you can take any belongings you wish to take.






Disadvantages of Joining the Army


1  No quitting

If you get fed up of being in the Army, you’ll have to complete the term of contract you originally signed up for.


You can get out of the Army sooner than when your contract is set to expire, but for the most part, that entails some kind of dishonorable discharge.


Furthermore, if you’re sick, you still have to go to work, after which, you’ll be entitled to visit medical. Only trained Army medical staff will have the powers to say if you can get time off work due to sickness.



2  Prize jerks

There are plenty of idiots in the Army. And, if they are of a higher rank than you are, they’re your boss, irrespective of how much of an idiot they are.


So, if you went into the Army late and it’s a 23-year-old telling you what to do. Irrespective that 23-year-old is a prize jerk or otherwise, you have to follow orders.



3  Treated like a kid

If you wish to invest in a motorcycle, and you’re Military, you have to do various courses that the Military have given the green light to before you can make your investment.


If you want to get married, you need to ask permission to do so.


If you wish to go abroad for a vacation, you need to do a lot of hoop jumping before you get on any flights.


Fancy going out for a drink with your Army mates? Many overseas commands set curfews, and those curfews are based upon what pay grade you are.


If you break the curfew, you’ll be arrested by the Military Police.


You can understand that they, the Military, wish to control you. They’ve already invested a lot of money in you.


Nevertheless, this form of “uber” control can be extremely frustrating.



4  Physical appearance

When you sign up to the Military there’s a lot of strict codes of conduct that you must abide by.


Can’t have long hair.


Can’t have facial hair (besides a mustache).


Can’t wear clothes that you want to wear.


Can’t grow your fingernails longer than what the regulations dictate.


Can’t wear earrings unless you’re a woman. Women’s earrings must be of a certain predetermined diameter.


Want a tattoo? It’s doable. But you must get permission first. Further, no tattoo may be visible when you are in uniform.



5  Family and friends

When you’re stationed in another country, you’re going to miss out on a lot that you previously did with your family and friends.


There are weddings, vacations together, births, deaths, birthdays, and more. 


Then, when you do get a chance to get home and spend time with your buddies, you may find that they’re not who they used to be and everything has changed. Life has moved on all too soon. 


Additionally, if you think you’re going to get holidays at Christmas and New Year, you could be in for a shock. That entirely depends on your work schedule. 



6  You’re a team player now – to the extreme

It’s all well and good to be part of a team, to be a team player.


That, certainly, can bring with it a lot of benefits.


However, there are shortcomings to team playing, too.




Some guy in your unit gets drunk one night and causes trouble.


Who gets the blame? The entire unit.


Somebody in your unit gets landed with a DUI.


Who gets the blame?


Your entire unit does. In which case, you all have to undergo command’s mandatory DUI training. 


It’s a “one-size-fits-all” policy in the Army. 





All in All, is the Army Right for You?


There are, as you can see, many disadvantages to Army life.


But for the most part, for most who sign up, they find that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. 


Each to their own, though. So don’t make the mistake of joining the Army thinking it’s going to be a bundle of fun all the time. 




Want to find out about the advantages and disadvantages of enlisting in the Navy?


Advantages and Disadvantages of Enlisting in the Navy