"Enlisted Military" listed 4th worst job out of 200!
Yeah us! We're not last! We're not last!
Without looking, I'd have to guess that "Stadium Cleanup Crew in Philadelphia", "Great Dane pooper scooper" and "New York Yankee" (I kid, I kid) were the last three.....
Online job database CareerCast released its annual job rankings list on Thursday, and to nobody’s surprise, “enlisted military” came in 197th out of 200 occupations, making it the fourth-worst job in the United States. The surprising thing, however, is that the profession is slipping: Last year, it was only the fifth worst.
Not to disagree with my colleagues over there, but I'm surprised. To be honest, I loved every minute of my time in the military. Granted, the enlisted side could suck at times, but Infantry Squad Leader will always be my favorite occupation by far. But wearing ye ole Sham Shield (for SP4 rank in the Army) wasn't exactly the most demanding thing of all time.
But Task and Purpose does make some excellent points after that:
This isn’t totally surprising: a separate CareerCast analysis released in January found that enlistment ranked as the most stressful career headed into 2017 thanks to the physical demands and hazards faced on the job, like huffing it for miles weighed down by gear or, you know, dodging gunfire.
The weird thing for me about that sentence there is that among guys I served with the long road marches and the TICs (troops in contact, i.e. taking small arms fire) were among the most exciting times.
But as a veteran’s news and culture site, we have to take issue with the characterization of enlisting is the “worst” career path in the country. As with last year, many of the criteria CareerCast employs don’t account for career opportunities in a way that accurately measures success and advancement within the military. The growth standards that apply to other industries are not necessarily applicable to the armed forces.
But more importantly, the ranking doesn’t reflect the fact that joining the military isn’t just a job, but a higher calling. When you sign your name on the dotted line, you aren’t just signing a contract with someone for a wage and benefits: you’re agreeing to serve your country, and work yourself to the bone in the process.
Look, I'm not going to say that every day in the military is better than living the life of Hugh Heffner or Mark Zuckerberg, but some of the best moments of my life were spent deployed. Even when things sucked, they had a certain allure because you were enjoying the suck with friends you knew you could trust to help you along. In Bosnia I lived in a tent under a bridge, and the entire compound we had could have easily fit on half a football field. It was surrounded by land mines, we ate oatmeal every single day (to this day I see regular oatmeal without apples or brown sugar and get queesy) and it seemed like for months the only movie we had was "Dances with Wolves" which to this day I rank below Manos: Hands of Fate. (MY buddy tells me we also had the first 6 episodes of South Park.)
I remember playing the board game Axis and Alliles for days. Like, literally days. Maybe a cat nap if your country got oibliterated, but just playing games. Times with friends. That's what being enlisted
I remember one incident in particular that I think is my favorite moment ever in the Guard. I missed a drill, so I got a call from my squad leader and I had been voluntold that I would be the OPFOR (opposing force) for SEALs out of little creek. We'd go out in the woods in small groups and set up ambushes and see if we could get them before us. So out we go, and no sooner do we get to our general location and it starts raining. Undeterred we start digging fox holes, which fill with water just as fast as we dig them. For 8 hours we were at 50/50 security, half watching for the SEALs, the other half digging in. Around midnight a humvee rolls up and the driver blows the horn. This seemed weird, since we were trying to be quiet, but since it was pouring rain and there was now lightning and thunder to add to the fun, we figured whatever. A private went to see what was up. Turned out the SEALs cancelled, because they didn't want to play in a monsoon with thunder and lightning.
The LT gave us two options. We could stay out there all night, which was not great since we had no gear, or we could walk back, a trek of roughly 15 miles. All this because no one could find bus drivers to get us.
So, having spent all day building swimming pools for woodland creatures, we got to walk back, having accomplished absolutely nothing.
The thing is, to this day I think about that weekend and just start giggling.
Being an enlistedman is not for everyone, believe me I get that. But, for me at least, it was the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Compared to going to law school I think I'd rather have spent 3 weeks out in those woods digging holes.
But what say you? When you look back on your time, do you laugh and cherish the moments, or do you wish you's picked another calling?