Life in the military isn’t easy and it isn’t for everyone. The military is a place where, if you have a problem, you’re most likely to get told by a salty, senior NCO to “suck it up, buttercup” while whatever problem you had is kinda just brushed under the rug.
Now, don’t get this twisted: The military was one of the best things to happen in my life and the lives of many others. But there are plenty of things that seemed like minor inconveniences while in the service that would make heads roll in the civilian world. Everyone agrees that the following are objectively bad things, but they’re almost always met with a casual, “meh. It happens.”
Terrible Work Hours
This may come as a shock to many of the troops who’ve served since they were fresh out of high school but, apparently, people in the civilian world get paid something called “overtime” if they work beyond the regular eight hours. You even get paid more for working on holidays. You get paid even more if you work for over eight hours on a holiday.
The only reward you’re going to get in the military for working on a holiday is if your buddy is really desperate to get out of staff duty on Thanksgiving and he’s willing to slip you something under the table to take it for him.
Disgusting Living Accommodations
Any fault you find in your apartment in the civilian world can be brought to the attention of your landlord and they’ll send a guy to fix it. Basically, everything else is your call. Sure, it’s not recommended that you toss out beer cans without emptying them because it’ll stink up the place, but hey, that’s your choice.
The military barracks system is a sort of paradox. You’ll get your ass chewed out for how “unhygienic” your room is when you forget to dust the lint off the door frame while simultaneously being told that the black mold seeping through the walls just adds character.
Grueling Physical Effort Doesn’t Mean Extra Pay
Realistically, most jobs you do in the civilian world pay out according to the effort you put in. Not to knock office drones, but there’s a reason people working on oil rigs get paid much better. It’s a hard, dirty, disgusting job that requires you to put your entire body at risk for the company.
The military, on the other hand, works on a pay grade system. For the most part, it properly pays troops of higher ranks, rewarding them for having more time in service and more responsibilities. But if you’re busting your ass off every single day to get something done for the unit, your bank account won’t reflect your effort. You’re still making just as much as the other guys in your same pay grade — even if they just sit in an office.
Multiple Layers of Rules
Civilians have just two concise rules of law that they must follow: state laws and federal laws. You mess up and it’s a singular court system that takes you in. Making simple mistakes at work, as long as you didn’t break any of those previously mentioned laws, are met with just a reprimand from a civilian employer (or you get fired).
The military justice system, conversely, is incredibly convoluted. Obviously, you’re not exempt from any state or federal laws, but now you tack on the Uniform Code of Military Justice — which covers most of the same things but adds military-specific laws. Then, your chain of command also has its own interpretations for what constitutes “good order and discipline” and can sentence their own punishments accordingly.
A Promotion System That Never Really Made Much Sense
The civilian world is kind of built on the “biggest dog” mentality. Everyone needs to eat each other to get to the top of whatever industry they’re working in. For the most part, if you earned it — you got it.
Did you know that civilians get promoted according to their own personal merit and not some arbitrary system that determines your merit in completely unrelated fields by looking at, in part, your PT test score and your ability to shoot well? Freaking mind-blowing, man.
This article was written by Eric Milzarski and originally published on WE ARE THE MIGHTY.
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