The right choice?

Sorry in advance for the hefty read, I hope you can take the time to look through it and maybe give me your opinions. I hope I got this in the right forum.

I'm young, impressionable, tender and easy to corrupt. I've been brought up to 'want' to go into banking or some such. The truth of the matter is that I'm not sure if I want to. I find it hard to believe that I want to end up like those people I see walking round London; they look knackered, their eyes have bags under them, it seems they can barely walk from the burden of it all and almost all of them have no sense of humour. Not one of them is fit and despite the potential reward of alot of money and a flashy car, maybe early retirement, you can just tell they're going to die a couple of years after they stop working.

Do I really want to be just another worn out sod with an inability to socialise and give basic instructions in a coherant manner? Yes, there is the money, if all goes well I get an early retirement. I get the chance to have a wife, a family and a nice life in Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom or some other country. It's the sacrifice I may have to pay for this that scares me. Not everyone makes it anyway, if everyone did then there'd be no such thing as a 'success' because there'd be nothing to compare the success stories to. Those who are Serving or Ex-Military often have to put up with Walts, but in the few years that I've been around I've met more than my fair share of 'banker walts'. It's clear to see who's genuine and who's bullshitting, but those people piss me off and they're everywhere. What pisses me off even more is that one day I might become one of them.

I often feel like I ought to disagree with war. I refuse to blame the soldiers like so many do, and these people are the same lot that if ever there was a slight threat to their lives would be the first to demand the troops get moving. Again, I don't want to be like that. I've got the rest of life ahead of me, alot can happen in that time; riches, rags, a life where money isn't the most important thing ever.

If I decide to join the Armed Forces I'd have to go in as an Officer, I feel uncomfortable unless I have some sort of responsibility. It sounds weird when put like that, but it's just how it is. Maybe it's because of how I've been brought up or maybe I'm just a headcase. I want to be an Officer not for the respect, but for doing the job I'm given to the best of my ability. I've always felt uncomfortable when singled out or given words of praise, it just doesn't sound right. I'd rather have someone tell me I'm doing something wrong than praise me for doing something right. At least if they tell me I'm getting it wrong I know they're being honest and sincere and I can use what they've told me to get it right.

I don't want to be a Royal Marine Officer for the kudos of being a Royal Marine, but I'd like to join such an organisation as the RM because I get the impression that everyone who's there wants to be there and has pride in what they do. Of course, if I join the Army then whatever Regiment I end up in will be the Regiment I see as 'the best'; so I don't want to be in it for what I consider the best of the best, the 99.99% need not apply doesn't really appeal to me. I just want to join an organisation that I know works; the question I'm asking here is as far as you all know do any military organisations really have a problem with people who don't want to be there? I admit that I'd probably never become a Royal Marine Officer, no matter how hard I tried, I'm asking here first because I don't really know where to go at ARRSE or what career I might want to follow in the Army. When it comes to any of the services the thing is I don't know if I'd succeed or if it's the right choice for me until I've tried. I've vowed to take chances, and to not let things slip away, this might be a chance for me to see some other countries and work in an organisation that I know ought to be fairly efficient.
I'm asking whether you feel I should choose Bentley or Basha. So, should I go for it?

To summarise:
1. Does the Army, or Navy/RM for that matter, have problems with people who don't really want to be there?

2. Should I pursue a life in the military or should I stick with what I've been trained for since birth and die a miserable, yet rich, middle-aged man, or even worse, end up like my father? Would I even be of any use to you lot? I'm looking for advice and opinions, also if I do go for it how should I go about university, etc? The Careers Office at my school doesn't take well the idea of a pupil joining the military, so they're not really an option to be consulted.

Please bear in mind that I have a long way to go before having to make this choice once and for all. I also go to an all boys school so I know what to expect and do in a woman-less and lonely environment [Run being a good suggestion].
Hiya. I'm just replying here because i left school ages ago and until recently was confused about what i wanted to do, so even if you don't agree with what i suggest, at least you'll know that you're not the only one and it's pretty normal.

First off, the Navy's not just about war- they're there to prevent alsorts and provide humanitarian help. Drugs, even, have been a target of the Navy. War is only a portion of what the Navy does. War's offensive- bear in mind all the forces are part of the Ministry of Defence. I don't know if that makes you feel any better, but if it's something that bothers you a lot, there have to be other things around for you, don't be disheartened.

As for being an officer- of course, there's nothing wrong with setting minimum standards for yourself, but respect to everyone else in the Navy- they're the ones that work to their officers' commands, the ones that all have a huge part to play. There's certainly no shame in entering as a rating, in fact, all are proud to do their bit with the skills they have.

I'm not in the Navy, but i'm working damn hard towards it- and from what i hear, people who don't want to be there won't be there beyond basic training. If it's not for you, it's not. But i don't think you can fake something like that.

Of course you would be of use in the forces. You have skills, you have potential to learn skills. All you need to really work on is your attitude- do you really want it? If so, great, you'd do really well. If not, you can do well on civvy street with your need of being the best. I'd go to your local Armed Forces Careers Office- i think they could give you more advice than at school. But be honest with them, tell them what you've told us.

It's a big decision, it took me 7 years just to make my decision of applying. Don't rush your decision, you're young and you can be much older before they won't let you join. Everyone has something to give, you just need to take the time to learn where you head is.

Oh, and there are women in the Navy... you're just not allowed to touch!

As i say, i'm not in the Navy (but dearly want to be!), and a lot of what i say is personal opinion and a few observations. But you can always apply, get through, get to basic training and make your decision there. It's more than a career, it's a whole new life. You wouldn't be the only one to leave. The fact you're considering it is more than most people do. Sort your head and go for it- you won't know unless you give it a shot. Good luck!


War Hero
I think the long and short of what you are saying is that you want to be part of an organisation that feels pride in itself, is making itself useful and is going somewhere. Not stuck in a dreary 9 to 5 job. That's fair enough.

However, you mention joining the Armed Forces without 100% conviction that you want to be there. I have a few points to make on this;
1) In a civillian job, you can resign whenever you like, walk out of the office and go home. This is not so in the armed services which requires you - under legal obligation - to serve a minimum term. Bear this in mind. In other words, it's not a case of the Army/Navy having a problem with you not really wanting to be there - it's a problem of you having to put up with it; of having to endure it, unless you perform so terribly that they kick you out, which ain't going to look good on your CV. But you knew that already.
2) If you were a squaddie under the command of an officer who eminated even a hint of not being passionate about his job - how would you feel?
3) It is not the case that officers get all the responsibility, and the men are just grunts obeying orders like robots (name one man who would want to be something like that). Everyone has a part to play - leading men as an officer (having responsibility, as you say) is an equally big part of being part of the team that you are leading.

Not to sound patronising, and I do apologise if this sounds patronising, but it sounds to me like all your life you have been told what you ought to do with your life (follow a career in the financial sector). Now, it seems, you are asking us to tell you if you should follow a career in the armed forces. Perhaps I am wrong here. If you're just asking for advice, that's fine; but you really must make up your own mind. (For the third time - I am trying to help here, not sound patronising...)

My advice to you is this, and I think it may be an option you have not yet considered. Think about joining the Royal Naval Reserve or indeed the Royal Marine Reserve. These are organisations which require you to attend a training evening once a week, plus a weekend here and there. This will give you a taster of naval life and let you see if it's something you want to pursue further. See the RN website,, for further details.

All the best, and if you want to ask something... just ask.
Thanks guys,

I understand that each person has his or her responsibilities. There'd be no point to the whole system of ranks and fields of expertise if it's only officer upwards that are of any 'use' and the rest are just as you said 'grunts'.

No, you didn't sound patronising, dunkers. All I'm looking for are opinions and the likes on what you think of each of the choices. I've been told money is something I should aspire to. I feel that it is, but I also feel that it isn't; that it's only something to aspire to if that's your profession or aim in life. If I join the military, which is not about money, then money isn't my aim in life and so takes a back-seat (well, until it comes to paying taxes and eating).

Snapdragon, I understand the whole emergency disaster and drug-running thing. The Australian military is a fantastic example of how Armed Forces can be used for Humanitarian aid and I've been keeping them in mind, not as an alternative, but as a reminder of the bigger picture.

Also, once I get my heart set on something I like to think I give it all I've got, otherwise there'd be no point on having my heart set on it in the first place would there? So if put in a command situation I'm sure I'm somebody that no one would doubt whether I have a passion for what I'm doing.

I just need to absorb as much information as possible before I make the final decision. As dunkers said, once I'm in it I'm not coming back out easily. I'll definately look into the Reserves also.

To be honest I get the feeling that asking these questions I'm more trying to justify my desire and want to join the Armed Forces than actually weigh up which would be more beneficial to me.

One big question, friends from outside of the military: Does contact get lost with them? If you do stay in touch how often do you get a chance to really talk to the other person? Or do you just find new friends and comrades whereover or with whoever you are?


War Hero
Well I have a friend in the Navy who keeps in very regular contact with his girlfriend (by "regular" I mean several times a week) - be it by email or mobile phone. It seems it is not an issue. It is also the case however that you will find a camraderie you will not find anywhere else in working life in the armed forces; you make friends very quickly when you share a messdeck with them. So you can keep up with old friends while making new friends at the same time.

In my personal opinion, job satisfaction is the most important thing you should look for, rather than money. What does money buy anyway (a rhetorical question).
The services don't have to be for life, but they do have to be for s reasonable ammount of time, so if you decide to go for it you need to factor that in. If you go for officer entry, and I would say if you have the qualifications you would be foolish not to, the interview board will be looking at your commitment, so you will have to have done all your soul searching by the time you sit down before them Having said that there were quite a few that I knew who got through because daady told them that was what they wanted, a bit like your situation and banking. It isn't for every one and not every one finds that out till they have joined, so don't worry about a change of heart, it can happen to anyone.

By all means try one of the reserves, but beware, changing course can be more difficult than making a clean break at the start, plus all those problems about letting daddy down as well just get worse the longer you wait to tell him.

My gut reaction is if you really think it is the thing you need to do go for it, put your heart into it and you will have a great time.



Agree with robbo9 , just follow your heart , we are only here once , life is not a dress rehearsal ,go for what ever you feel is right for you , you will only regret it if you don't , whatever you chose , all the very best . :roll: :lol:


I've given a fair bit of thought to the same sort of questions over the past couple of years. I finished a degree in accounting/finance last summer and held off getting a graduate job in the city because I wasn't sure it was what I wanted to do. I'm pleased to say I'm very happy I haven't. I've spoken to quite a few people who have served in one of HM Forces and they all say one thing - they've never regretted it. Can't say I've had the same feedback from people who have been accountants in the city for 5 years! This to me says it all really. Also, despite there being a reasonable sign-up term for an officer (4-5 years minimum depending on what specialisation you do am I right in thinking?) I think you'll find that it's almost more difficult (not contractually obviously) to leave a job in the city. They don't call it the rat race for nothing!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I've got my AIB in a couple of weeks and hopefully, if successful, will join BRNC before too long.

In terms of practical advice, I'd definitely look at the army. Not because I think it's a better option (clearly the reverse if I've opted for the Navy), but the army do give you a lot more exposure to what life's like once you're in. It's very straight forward to organise a number of 2-3 day fam visits to most regiments in the army, giving you a real taste of what the people serving are like, the other Potential Officers, living conditions, the type of work you'd be doing etc. Unfortunately, the Navy doesn't seem too hot on this. Still, I wouldn't worry too much just yet - enjoy uni and then see how you feel. 3-4 years is a long time!


You only regret the things you don't do in life.

So why not do both, join the TA/RMR/RNR/RAF Aux and get a taste of military life. If it's for you, you'll want to do it full time - like I decided to.