04. July 2012 · Comments Off on Explaining to People What BJtM Is and Joining the Military the Dumb Way · Categories: Before Joining the Military Blog, Joining the Military · Tags: ,

With this site gaining a little bit of traction, I’m hearing from different people a variety of opinions why I’m wasting my time providing information about joining the military while there are people who are paid to do the same thing (i.e. recruiters). To me it seems like it’s helpful, so I have no difficulty disregarding the detractors.

I joined the military as a dumb kid. I had no idea about what was involved in joining, what happened on the inside, and sure as hell had no idea what would come after. On top of all this, I was desperate to do something that seemed substantial, useful, and noble. Ergo, the military was appealing.

Before joining, I did what research I could. But alas, the Internet was still in its early years and we had the likes of myspace, Altavista, and askJeeves. I was under the impression that the military would be something entirely different than what it turned out to be. I can’t say I had a tool of a recruiter. He was honest enough and walked the line very, very well. It’s their job to minimize the negatives of the military, and highlight (inordinately so) the positives. He did his job and I can’t fault him for that.

Looking back, the military was a great experience, but more information about what reality was like in the military would have gone a long way in making it an incredible experience.

Naturally there are questions like “what qualifies you to talk about this?”. My answer is pretty consistent: I have no idea. Other than the fact that I spent four years in it, I have no idea what ‘qualifies’ me because I have no idea what a ‘qualified’ person looks like. Looking back, I wouldn’t care about someone’s qualifications as much as the validity of the information they were giving me, if it were available back then.

At this point, I’m mostly interested in illustrating some of the details that recruiters may overlook, and questions that recruits would ask if they knew enough to ask them. The point of this site is to tear the veil as much as possible between pre military and military life and give you at least one honest look into it before making a thoughtless, mindless decision that you may later regret. If it helps, then cool. If it’s useless to you, that’s fine too.

Joining the armed forces just happened to be a good thing for me, but only in retrospect. At the time, I was immature, defiant, and unprepared for the demands of the military. The first two, well, haven’t gone anywhere, but eventually I conformed to the military’s demands as it applied to my job and general conduct, though not without a fight.