I'm 30 years old, have no kids, and am interested in joining the Army Reserves.
There's one thing, however, that's making me hesitant to join: I don't have any friends or family in the military, so I'm struggling to get any detailed, impartial information about what I'd be getting myself into. Like I don't have anyone I can have a CONVERSATION with about life in the Reserves. As a result, I can't be completely confident joining is the right move.
The thing I mostly want to talk to people about is: how hard is it going to be for me to find and hold down jobs if I join the Reserves, and there is the possibility I might have to up and leave work for 6 months at any time? Does no one in the private sector want to hire a Reservist? Or do employers seem to value (or be indifferent) to it?
Essentially, I'm asking: how much does a career in the Reserves affect and crowd out (or enhance and boost) your civilian career?
So I want to hear your testimonials, horror stories, or grand successes about job hunting while in the Reserves. Any information I can get about how being in the Reserves will affect my civilian career would be highly valuable!
(Note: I have a degree and work 9-5 office type jobs. So if your non-Reservist job is "working on and Army base" or "working under the table for my contractor uncle," your experience is not relevant to my question/thread. Same goes for students. I only want to hear from office workers/professionals - social workers, managers, bankers, accountants, teachers, etc.)
I am active-duty Army but I spent ten years in the Reserves and Guard and you are protected by law to not lose your job due to military service; regardless if its two weeks in the summer or activated for a deployment.
I was in an admin job when I was in the Army National Guard and we still went to the field. We packed up our tents and moved them out to the woods; setup and conducted operations from a field environment.
Why are you concerned about job-hunting when you already have a job? I switched civilian jobs four times when I was in the reserve components and never had issues. This was prior to and after 9/11. I suggest you talk to a Army Reserves recruiter soon. With your degree, look at the OCS program in the Reserves and Guard for Army Officer opportunities.
I have spent my entire 12 1/2 years in the Army in the Reserves. Of those 12 1/2 years, I have been involuntarily mobilized for 5 of them. When I joined, I worked for a large beverage company. They offered me a promotion and more money to not join the Army but I declined. After my first mobilization of 15 months, they caused a lot of problems for me and I had to contact USERRA to assist. I left shortly afterward to work for a defense contractor. Our contract changed 2 years ago only a few weeks before my last mobilization began. The new company(a much larger defense contractor) hired me into the same position with a pay increase knowing I was going to be gone for more than a year. My current company hires a lot of military and pays us the difference of our salary and our military base pay while we are mobilized. They have been extremely supportive of my service in the Reserves.
I have looked for promotions and federal jobs and I am convinced that my service in the Reserves has hindered this. No employer says they do not want to hire someone who may be deployed but they definitely think about it. Today with the drawdown in the Middle East and budgets being cut, the likelihood of a deployment is much less.
I highly encourage you to join the Reserves. Pick an MOS that you would want to do, or currently do, in the civilian world. The benefits far outweigh the negative aspects.
Remember, do not call a Soldier in the Reserves a "Reservist" because you would not call a Soldier in the Active component an "activist".
Posts: 131 | Location: Los Angeles, CA | Registered: 25 July 2011