Hello guys - this is my first post here so try and be gentle! I'm looking at RN career options and was hoping to get some advice on what Branch I should join and at what level - first a bit about me: I'm 25 and currently working as a freelance lighting technician and sound engineer in the entertainments industry. I got into this as a hobby at university for the student union and fell into the job as a freelance when I finished. It involves some electrical work, wiring fault finding, assembling and lifting alu truss structures on chain hoists, climbing over these at height with PPE and programming lighting controllers. The audio side of it has a lot of cross-over too. I also do some fixing of moving lights, which have lots of fiddly step-motors and feedback systems and discharge lamp circuits to deal with, along with general work like unloading trucks and so forth during load in/out. I finished my degree in Physics & Astronomy in 2005 and have decided that my current freelance career doesn't have much future - although rock n roll seemed appealing at first, the long hours, random work patterns and late nights aren't worth it for a job that offers very little career progression - I'm worried I'll be working the same crappy shows in ten years time with nothing new to show for it. I'm also somewhat concerned I'm going to die on the A1 by falling asleep at the wheel one of these days. =| Career wise I've accepted a new industrial programming job today (I needed the change) and have a lot of physics type applications on the go, like Dstl and QinetiQ, but because I got a 2:2 and haven't done any real physics for 3 years may not get far with these. That's where the Navy consideration came in. At first I was very interested in training to become an Engineering Officer, and was told initially by the AFCO that any degree would be fine for this. Since then, I've been told by a more experienced guy there that is not the case and my degree won't allow me to be an EO - it's not Engineering Council UK approved. My options (from what I can see) seem to be either Logistics Officer, E(TM) or, if I can blag the IT content, E(IS). Logistics to me represents all that I hate about my current job (paperwork and admin) and I've never really wanted to be a teacher. I'm not sure if I'll be accepted as an E(IS) with a Physics degree. Other jobs are restricted due to my age (25yrs 4mths) or eyesight (S III). This then got me thinking about engineering options as a rating - particularly weapons engineering and the AFCO guy suggested the AET. One thing I like about my current job is the opportunity I get to fix things, learn about new stuff and work with technology. Enough waffling - what career path(s) would the members with experience suggest to me? If I applied to be a rating, what's the difference in work patterns/conditions between being an AET and Weapons Tech? What are the more subtle differences between them? (I know for example that one involves aircraft and the other does not.) Is it really foolhardy for me not to apply for a commission just because I don't like the idea of logistics or teaching? I'm worried about being 'held back' in my career development if I join as a Rating because most seem to join at an earlier age and the work won't contribute towards things like attaining Chartered status, which I could do elsewhere in the right civilian job. The Navy appeals to me because it offers something much more challenging than what I do right now, isn't going to be a stuffy desk job and I don't want to let my life slide idly by whilst I don't get anywhere or do anything significant - much of the work it does seems to be exciting (from an outsider's PoV) and somewhat important compared to setting up lights for a theatre day in day out. But is 25 too 'old' an age to join as a rating? Did anyone else join at such a late age or with other work experience? Lastly, for those who know about training - I have a room full of the usual books, clothes and other stuff, as well as a car, but I read on the HMS Raleigh pages that you shouldn't bring much more than some pants and a toothbrush. If you're living on base, what do most recruits do with all this 'life baggage'? I appreciate that if the accommodation is shared I'm not going to be able to bring it all with me, just wondered what most people do and how limited the space is. Sorry for the rambling nature of the post - I'm sure I've asked some important questions in there somewhere! Any advice, info or suggestions would be gratefully received!