To join or not to join?

Discussion in 'Joining Up - Royal Navy Recruiting' started by 2009poolesparky, Dec 13, 2012.

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  1. Hello everyone, I'm after some help, more reassurance really.
    Ok this is my situation. I applied to join the navy back in feb this year. As an ETME.
    I've had all my tests and my interview and security check. I am now just waiting to hear more from the afco.
    I can't wait to start my training!
    However, I currently work as an electrician building the new hms queen Elizabeth carrier at Pompey navy base. I like to talk to the sailors and ask them what it's like in the service, I even rent a room and live with 2 sailors.
    But recently everyone I talk to that is in the navy says not to join and that it's rubbish. I am only 23 and have to say I earn a fairly good wage as a marine electrical contractor, so I would be taking a pay cut by joining, however I like the sound of the lifestyle. I'm a keen dinghy sailor and love sports and I know this is something I can do in the service. But all this negative talk about the navy and people telling me not to join is getting to me a bit, what do people think? I want a career in the marine industry but I think the RN looks a lot better than the MN.
    Thanks in advance
  2. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    This is something that only you can decide. Everybody - especially matelots - will mank and moan about their jobs (I'm sure there are aspects of your work that you don't enjoy) and it is true that the grass isn't always greener on the other side... but would your flatmates be dripping if they were currently sitting on a beach in the Caribbean rather than cold and miserable Pompey? I doubt it. :wink:

    However there are many benefits in the RN. Not just the opportunity to learn a trade or skill but also to travel and gain other experiences. There is also the free access to dental/medical/educational facilities, eligibility to travel discounts, etc. You mention that you love dinghy sailing; the RN obviously promotes sport for the health and teamwork benefits but if you show potential, it will encourage you to use sailing centres around the UK and support you with a view to you representing them at high-profile events.

    The downside is obviously the prospect of spending periods of time away from your friends and family, sometimes in hostile environments, with many periods at sea conducting boring and mundane jobs with/for people you may not particularly get on with. Given your trade, you may find that you will be paid less than you will in industry, but despite what some may say, Service pay is not bad at all (especially in the current economical climate). But if you have the aptitude and determination promotion will come with the obvious benefits (and relatively quickly, if you start your Task Books soon enough).

    If you have already started the recruitment process then I would suggest you visit your AFCO to discuss your concerns with them as soon as possible. Good luck! :thumbleft:
  3. I'm not serving or anything but one thing you'll find is people love to complain about their job no matter what they are doing.
    My friends that used to be in the forces have said never join the forces, then when I said I applied they soon changed their tune and told me how good it was.
    I don't know what your friends are saying to you, but you need to work out if they are seriously telling you not to join of if they just want to moan about work to someone that will listen.
  4. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    If you live with matelots, you'll be familiar with the concept that they're only happy when they are moaning.

    Ask yourself this: "Has anyone I know, in any job told me how brilliant it is, how well paid they are, how they thoroughly enjoy it, feel valued & how much they love going to work?"

    If anyone has told you that about their job, go for that job instead.

    Very often people join straight from education with limited experience of civilian work in the real world. Not so long ago I had a phone call from the Mother of a young girl who joined the Navy as a Medical Assistant who had just finished training and was drafted to the sickbay in HMS Drake. "I'm ringing to complain. My daughter is working in a sickbay in Plymouth - that's not what she joined-up to do. She joined to travel the world and have an adventurous lifestyle".

    Simple fact is you get paid to do a job by the government. There can be good bits, there can be less good bits. There can be menial aspects.

    One thing I do know is that whenever you talk to anyone that left before serving their full contract, very few state they wish they had never joined. Most, looking back, state they enjoyed it mostly although they'll admit there was good and bad. Many claim they wish they'd never left and it wasn't until they did that they realised how good it was in relation to the job they are doing now as a civilian.

    From an AFCO, one of 57 in UK, at this present moment in time, we're processing 33 "re-joins", which is pretty typical - people think the grass is greener and leave. Some find it is - but lots come back and rejoin. How many people that you know leave a job because they "hate it/it's crap" but go back to their employer and request they're re-employed?
  5. Thanks for your thoughts, yes I understand everyone does like to have a moan about their job, I admit I do myself sometimes. I do like the thought of being able to get promoted and see the world and make new friends, in my industry there isn't many people my age they are a lot older than me. I have actually had conversations though where people have said "do not join the navy" and they are still in service, although then that makes me ask the question if its so bad why are they still in? Even my parents are asking me not to join.. To be honest I was a bit upset when I told them I wanted to join, they originally didn't seem bothered about what I would say is a big decision but now they say they don't want me to, I have been told its a small navy these days, and people are handing their notice in a lot, but is it really as bad as people say? Actually having officers tell me not to join??
    I have another meeting with my CO in January so I will be asking questions then too.
  6. Blackrat

    Blackrat War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Dr Samuel Johnson once said;

    "Every man thinks meanly of himself for not being a soldier or not having been at sea"

    He was spot on.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Here's a list of some of the good/bad bits you may wish to consider:


    • Kudos & self worth
    • Pensionable job (non-contributory pension)
    • Guaranteed employment contract for 18 years or to 40, if you want it.
    • Free gym membership
    • Free medical/dental health care
    • Word travel
    • Camaraderie
    • £220 per week NET starting pay pay -instead of £30 EMA (for example, if eligible)
    • £14,145 annual starting pay (Other ranks) £24,618 starting pay (Officers)
    • 6 weeks paid leave per year
    • Concessionary rail travel
    • Cheap married quarter accommodation
    • Free food & accommodation when deployed, or on a ship.
    • Transferable skills
    • Additional training when you leave to prepare you for specific jobs
    • The opportunity to take further GCSEs, A Levels through service funded Enhanced learning Credits.
    • World class training to make you best prepared to serve in a hostile or a life-threatening environment.
    • Free uniform clothing
    • Life experience
    • Management Experience
    • Adventurous Training opportunities wordlwide. (Diving in Cyprus, parachuting in Florida etc)
    • Disciplined lifestyle with defined structure
    • A well structured career structure with the ability to advance yourself through promotion.
    • Assisted house purchase scheme.
    • Forces Discount Scheme- over 500 companies offer service people discount. From Holidays to hirecars to spectacles to solicitors.
    • The Regular Forces Employment Agency are a free job agency for all individuals who have served- they help you find a job suited to you.
    • Automatic training for civilian driving licence (up to HGV standard) after completing Recruit Training.
    • Free Welfare Service to help you look after your family whilst you are away.
    • Lifetime Families support network
    • Non Contributory Pension More:

    • Separation/Homesickness.
    • Disciplined lifestyle
    • High potential to serve in a hostile or a life-threatening environment with risk of injury/death
    • Worry/anxiety for your Family & Partner
    • The potential to be deployed at minimal notice, thus making it difficult to plan ahead with utter certainty.
    • The potential to lack independence/become institutionalised.
    • Menial aspects of job: painting, cleaning, "sentry" (security) duties.
    • Like Like x 5
  8. Blackrat

    Blackrat War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    As you see from Ninja's list, there are more pro's than cons.

    Go for it. At least you have a trade to fall back on if it all goes bandy. Don't listen to people cobbing, that's normal for the Military.
  9. Haha thank you very much guys, well like I say I can't wait to start my training, and your right I shouldn't listen to others opinions, I think you get out what you put in, maybe they just haven't put as much in?? The pros list does look amazing, the only other thing that gets me is the waiting list?? The afco told me I should be going to Raleigh next September, just wish it would hurry up! I go to the gym most nights here on base and like to keep fit, I have even volunteered to help the sea cadets so I can improve on my knowledge a bit before I start and also to teach them how to sail! I do really like the sound of the navy, in my opinion it's the best of all the armed forces, I just wanted to have a bit more reassurance as only a few people I know have said I should go for it and the majority have said keep away,

  10. tiddlyoggy

    tiddlyoggy War Hero Book Reviewer

    "I have actually had conversations though where people have said "do not join the navy" and they are still in service, although then that makes me ask the question if its so bad why are they still in?" Sparky, you've answered your own question fella.
  11. wal

    wal Badgeman

    Go for it. I'd do it all again even the bad bits. As NS has shown there are more good than bad. You'll also make some good and close oppos. Some of which I have still forty years later.
  12. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Exactly. It's not conscription. Don't like it - do one, but don't stay and moan about your decision or dissuade others.

    Your life, your choice. Info for your parents:

    Commissioned Officers advising you not to join? - Interesting, are they leaving themselves I wonder?

    Yes, people are leaving (and joining, and rejoining) every single day - they are contractually at liberty to leave in the first 6 months or serve a minimum of around 4-5 years (to recoup the cost of training). Most serve longer than the minimum period - those that wish can serve up to 18 years or up to age 40 if they want. The average matelot serves about 6 years - that's why recruiting is ongoing. Think about how long your average civilian holds down a job before moving on when they're aged 16 until their mid-twenties.

    The job isn't for everyone, it has to be said. The wages aren't fantastic, there are menial aspects and everyone feels "seen off" at some point. On balance however the good bits outweigh the bad.

    The thing to remember above everything else is that it's a job - not a youth entertainment scheme.
  13. Blackrat

    Blackrat War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Oh, you can add this to Ninja's list;

    "No matter how ugly you are, you will become a vaginal lodestone".
  14. sgtpepperband

    sgtpepperband War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    Even if you're a male. Apparently.
  15. Sounds like you have a very good attitude and willing to put yourself out. Thats exactly what the job's all about. Well done. With this ethos you could go far.

    Follow your own instincts, gut feelings and be your own man. Have met many lads who have said you don't want to be doing this and that. Jealous types, no hopers, who want to drag people down to their level.

    By and large this country loves service mean and women. It's a job that will set you up for life. During this time you will meet many people who will say "I wish I did that", no doubt others will back me up here.

    Nows your chance, you already have a foot in the door (AFCO), grasp the nettle before you know it 2013 and September will soon be here.......
  16. Hahaha vaginal loadstone, that has made my day! Thanks also for the info for my parents, hopefully I can reassure them. I told them its the safer than the army I'm inside a big metal box!! I am really looking forward to meeting new people, and I'm sure I will make some really good mates, that alone is something that attracted me to join as well as the many other benifits you mentioned. One day I might even get to serve on this ship I'm helping build!!
  17. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Yeah, reminds me of my Dad's words when I wanted to join-up. "You're not joining the Army" he said, "You'll get blown-up in Northern Ireland"

    So, I joined the Navy, completed training, joined my first ship and sailed straight into the Falklands conflict & got blown-up there instead.
    • Like Like x 5
  18. Blackrat

    Blackrat War Hero Moderator Book Reviewer

    There it is.

    I blame Jimmy Savile. I wrote to the ****** when i was around 8 asking him to fix it for me to drive a tank. He didn't. I had to join up to do that. Mind you, it saved me being used as a DJ's plaything i suppose.

  19. Oh is that a bad thing then?
    Can I sue?
  20. I was slightly confused what the meaning of loadstone meant....
    Got a bit of a surprise haha!!

    Urban Dictionary

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