Thursday, January 05, 2006

“This is my blog, so I will rant like I want to” Post No. 4536

I guess it’s a perfectly honest question, but it always manages to rub me the wrong way. After learning that my boyfriend is in the military and deployed, and making the obligatory slightly pained face, some people will ask: “So how many more years does he have in?”

The question is reasonable, because, yes, my boyfriend DOES have a contract with the military. He signed an agreement between himself and his employer agreeing to a certain duration of employment. When that contract expires, he will have the option of ratifying another contract with his employer.

Many employees have jobs with contracts, that expire. Sometimes they are six months, one year, five years, etc.

But rarely does someone ask them with a smirk: “So how many years do you have left?”

Most people working for companies would like to renew their contracts with their employers when the contracts expire. If someone says, my contract is expiring at ABC and Co., but I would like to renew it, most people nod in agreement. But if a soldier wants to do that, instead of that decision being respected as one having been made after considering all the options, it is usually met with disbelief, because they assume that most people want to get out of the military as soon as they can.

Comments like: “well, I guess they are a little brainwashed*” are not uncommon. (*Someone actually said that to me recently about my boyfriend when I said he wasn’t in a hurry to leave the military.)

A decision to stay in the military isn’t seen as one made based on consideration of the benefits, pride in one’s job (which by the way includes more than “just” Iraq and Afghanistan…the first major help after the tsunami, the earthquake in Pakistan, and Katrina came from the military…they are the world’s first responders), sense of community and camaraderie, etc. I.e. all the factors one would weigh when considering employment.

I just wish people would respect that a job in the military is just that, a job choice like many others. It’s not the contractual servitude that many would like to portray it as.

Rant over.


Blogger HOOKERPILOT said...

Best "rant" I ever heard! Keep it up!

1:23 PM  
Blogger ThatBeeGirl said...

Wow, someone actually said he was brainwashed?! That's a bit much!

(I liked the rant, btw) :)

3:23 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I read your comment on another site and decided to visit yours -- I LOVE your site, it's definitely getting bookmarked (and I love your dessert table, PS). Your rant is right on the mark. My husband has only been through 3 months of a 18 month deployment, and already I'm getting sick of the stereotype that he was an unfortunate kid without much chance for a future, so he signed up for the Army and ended up in the war. I have also received the brainwashed comment. But in the end, it all makes me laugh inside and I wonder if I sound as rediculous to other people sometimes. Cheers to you -- Emily

4:07 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

These people are all stuck in the past... in other words the "draft" mindset of the 60's. Since being drafted meant that they "had" to serve a certain amount of time... that became the question as soon as someone got a draft notice. (some people prefered to enlist for a longer period of time in another service rather than do the 2 year Army stint)

So, the answer to such a question is... "don't you think it's time you entered the 21st century. The Army is his career - he'll be in as long as he wants to do the job".

As for the "brainwashed" comment...the correct answer to that is "yes you are aren't you".

Very nice rant. *grin*

6:56 PM  
Blogger airforcewife said...

That was an excellent rant. Rant away. Come and rant for me sometime.

7:23 PM  
Blogger Katie :) said...

ughh I am sorry thaty they say such dumb things too you. My finacee was in the USMC for 4 years,i got dumb remarks like that too. now he works for the fed govt indc and i hear even worse ones...about who he works for/with now.... just know that they are ignorant people...and I wanted to say thank you to you and your hunny for keeping us all safe ..i dont think the girlfriends, fiancees andwives here thank you enough.


7:36 PM  
Blogger LinkedInUSAF Founder said...

Ahh, the tireless negativity of those that have never served. It amazes me how much, distaste, these people have for those that have served or are serving now.

Why is it that a person's choice to protect our country is seen as - servitude? Servitude is being placed into a position where you have not made the conscious decision to be involved. When we _VOLUNTEER_ we are making a _VERY_ conscious decision.

Everyone that has signed on that line knows the drill. OK, well, we also learn "drill" in basic training/boot camp! :)

Thank you very much for posting this for all to read! I am glad that he has re-upped because that means there is one more person on that wall keeping my family safe!

(and, you didn't rant - it was _VERY_ clear! i loved it!)

8:57 PM  
Blogger Steverino said...

After I got out of the Air Force, where I flew as a navigator/weapon systems officer on F-4E Phantom fighters, I got an MBA and looked for jobs through recruiting firms. One twentysomething headhunter was explaining the details of a job for which she was lining me up to interview, saying that it would involve managing a crew of union employees. Had I done any managing, she asked. Yes, I said, I managed small teams in the Air Force. Oh, she says, then you are used to managing unmotivated people.

There was a pregnant pause at this point.

I gently explained that jobs in the fighter world are competitive, that you have to work pretty hard to snag one, and that pretty much every person was highly motivated. She looked at me like I was the biggest liar in the world. Maybe she knew better from watching reruns of Gomer Pyle.

Virtually every interview in a big company involved meeting a twentysomething HR chick in a screening interview. When you told them about your military service, most of them looked at you like you had just claimed to have landed in a spaceship from Mars. They had no common point of reference with you.

Most civilians are clueless about the military and they are getting dumber every day as fewer people serve in the miliary and return to the civilian world to educate them. Most civilians think that their itty-bitty paper-shuffling job is more important and requires infinitely more brainpower than any job in the military, which in their view is where you go when you can't get a real job. Civilians think that intellectually the military is something like football with guns.

That's the bad news. The worse news is that American civilians have historically had a poor opinion of the military throughout our history, except during the WWII era. Don't expect it to improve.

However, the good news is that this allows you many opportunities to slyly boil civilians in their own ignorance when they display an ignorant contempt for the military.


9:12 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...



You tell em girl!

9:31 PM  
Blogger claudia said...

You go girl, say it how it is!!

3:14 AM  
Blogger kbug said...

You tell 'em, girl...I've almost given up trying to explain how I feel to my friends...they just don't get it, and they never will. They always ask, "Aren't you worried about having sons in the military?" The answer is yes and no...of course I worry about them, but not any more than when they drive to and from their bases...but I'm damn proud of them, too. They're doing something they like, and not everyone can say that. And they've both re-upped once already. So, you just keep on ranting, and I will too...maybe someday someone will finally understand.

5:45 AM  
Blogger Fermina Daza said...


- hfs

8:20 AM  
Blogger Household6 said...

At least it wasn't your MIL telling your spouse to just "get out" the moment the word deployment crossed his lips. She actually said he should just get out and get a job near them. Mind you she is married to a retired soldier herself.


8:44 AM  
Blogger SGT Lori said...


Virtually every great job I snagged as a civilian was offered by veteran who KNEW what great training I had. More and more of us everyday!

BTW I had one comment from a civilian engineer who asked me if I had training on obsolete equipment. I asked him where he thought all the state of the art technology originates? DUH, military research. I said "how do you think they land an aircraft on a floating landing strip smaller than a football field?? Yeah, right obsolete equipment."

7:16 PM  

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