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What's it really like in the RNR?

When I first watched the adverts for the RN on TV, I was interested straight away. “Recruiting regulars and reserves”, it said. Bingo, that’s me. Level of certainty: 100%.

So I went to my local reserve unit. This was interesting, but gave a dual impression: first, camaraderie and companionship. Second, amateurishness. It was all a bit Dad’s Army.

So (as often happens when someone gets more facts), my level of certainty went down below 100%. Is this really what I want to do?

I ploughed on anyway. After reading Navy Net, I decided that regardless of education/whatever, I wasn’t going to shoot for a commission. I applied as a rating, passed my RT well, and now I’m through for Sift.

But increasingly I’m thinking: is this a good idea?

Maybe I’ve read too much Navy Net, but the idea I had that I’d be adventuring on the high seas, representing one of the finest British institutions, has been replaced by ideas of bureaucracy and structural issues between RN and RNR. Do more with less. Join the regulars if you want to be useful.

I don’t want to give up before I’ve even got going. Is anyone able to share a bit more about life in the RNR (obviously taking into account OPSEC) to help get my enthusiasm going again?



Specifically I’m wondering:

What actually happens on drill nights?

What’s a typical weekender away?

Is there any role for an introverted sailor?

How about one who’s not a big boozer?

Am I mad to be going in as a rating, even though I’m eligible to try as an ossifer?

Is anyone actually having fun out there?



I think if I don't rebuild my enthusiasm before my interview, my excellent AFCO contact will smell it on me and I'll be sunk.

Fully prepared for the flames that will come, but just being honest about my own feelings & shortcomings (overthinking, perhaps?).

NB that I'm quite sure the 'amateur' sailors I saw in unit were twice the man I am, would beat me in an armwrestle, run 1.5 miles in 9 minutes, etc. Just speaking out loud my first thoughts without wishing to offend.

Cheers
MWT
 
the RNR is like life, grab it with both hands, give it your all, then look at what you have and ask yourself if it is what you want.
If it falls below what you wanted, reach for the yellow and black and eject.

You cant eject from something you have never had a proper go at.

Life is (one hopes) quite long, and best not filled with regrets of "I wished I'd ........"

Choice is yours and yours alone.
 

Manny

Badgeman
In attempting to answer your questions:

What actually happens on drill nights? Mainly Naval General Training (that is to say things that apply to everyone in the RNR, irrespective of specialization)

What’s a typical weekender away? Depends what specialization you are in, but basically specialization training, this could military skills, through to leadership training

Is there any role for an introverted sailor? Definitely, albeit I am not sure what an introverted sailor looks like!

How about one who’s not a big boozer? Not a problem, there is not as much boozing as you might think.

Am I mad to be going in as a rating, even though I’m eligible to try as an ossifer? If you are not sure, start as a rating, you can always chance to being an officer at a later date. Personally I think this is a sensible thing to do, you will find you will be a better officer, having done some of the jobs a rating does.

Is anyone actually having fun out there? Definitely, lots of people. As SR says you can always eject (at anytime), and if no one was having fun, there would be no one in the RNR.
 
Thanks guys for replying to my post. I know it was a bit moany, so appreciate the serious replies.

the RNR is like life, grab it with both hands, give it your all, then look at what you have and ask yourself if it is what you want.
If it falls below what you wanted, reach for the yellow and black and eject.

You cant eject from something you have never had a proper go at.

Life is (one hopes) quite long, and best not filled with regrets of "I wished I'd ........"

Choice is yours and yours alone.

This is great advice, and just the reality check I needed.


In attempting to answer your questions:

What actually happens on drill nights? Mainly Naval General Training (that is to say things that apply to everyone in the RNR, irrespective of specialization)

What’s a typical weekender away? Depends what specialization you are in, but basically specialization training, this could military skills, through to leadership training

Is there any role for an introverted sailor? Definitely, albeit I am not sure what an introverted sailor looks like!

How about one who’s not a big boozer? Not a problem, there is not as much boozing as you might think.

Am I mad to be going in as a rating, even though I’m eligible to try as an ossifer? If you are not sure, start as a rating, you can always chance to being an officer at a later date. Personally I think this is a sensible thing to do, you will find you will be a better officer, having done some of the jobs a rating does.

Is anyone actually having fun out there? Definitely, lots of people. As SR says you can always eject (at anytime), and if no one was having fun, there would be no one in the RNR.

This is also great. Appreciate your comments, particularly on rating vs officer.
 

CmdKeen

Lantern Swinger
There are plenty of ratings in the RNR who are academically qualified for officer, many of them could pass an AIB. However being an officer involves an awful lot of admin, especially during the week. It also takes a lot longer to reach the Trained Strength let along be likely to be mobilised in role (generally).

Many people look at the offer and decide that they'd much rather have the more hands on stuff of being a rating. Even the in the regular service a large number of officers were formerly ratings, the days of "them and us" are long gone.
 
25% of Regular RN Officer Corps have served in the Lower Deck with 33% of Regular Engineering Officer Corps having served in Lower Deck.
The RNR has had several policies, and for a long time there was no Direct Officer route, all personnel had to join as a rating. This had pros and cons, and has now been rescinded. (But there are still a large number of "Pure" RNR Officers (ie not from the regulars) who believe, because they had to join the lower deck, everyone should, so standby for slightly biased posts (now there's a surprise!)
 
TheCommunicator, sorry, I can't, other than a series of long forgotten snr officers quoting them. Not ideal, but as EQG (above) indicates, it's near enough for government work.
 
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