The Professional Army Life

In the Army, you are never allowed to remain in one job for more than a few years. In my final 6 years of service (as a JAG officer), I held 4 distinctly different primary jobs.

While those jobs were different, there are distinct similarities shared by all Army jobs, whether at a different geographic location or different primary duty at the same geographic location.

Every assignment in the Army can be divided into three equal phases.

Phase 1: The last job you had was the worst. Ever. The people sucked. The work was tedious, and you’re extremely happy to be in this wonderful, new job. This place is great!

Phase 2: Your current job sucks. In fact, it is so terrible that Dante Alighieri didn’t have the guts to write about it. Your last job was great. Everyone knew what they were doing. At your last assignment, everyone was competent, kind, and bowed to your greatness. Now, just hell. Suicide is contemplated.

Phase 3: Your next job, which you now know of, will be the best. Ever. You can’t wait to be gone from the cesspool that is your current job. Everyone around you is inferior because they don’t have the wonderful, upcoming job opportunity that you have. You’ve forgotten about your previous assignment.

This repeats for every military assignment until retirement, separation, or death.


One thought on “The Professional Army Life

  1. If I can add the enlisted viewpoint:

    Phase 1: You don’t know what you are doing and no one expects you to. They will help you through things and be patient as long as your attitude stays ok (start bragging that you know everything and invented it to and you are s-o-l). This is a very low stress time, the job is great and you love it.

    Phase 2: You still don’t know what you are doing, but everyone expects you to. You are constantly getting corrected and yelled at and you hate everyone and your job and flipping burgers sounds better than putting up with your co-workers.

    Phase 3: You know what you are doing. You get lots of “god job” comments. The Boss asks you to show the newbie the ropes.

    Phase 4: You are the sh*t. You know how everything works and everyone who remembers you as a clueless newbie has transferred out. You are too valuable to waste on newbies or other tasks. You get difficult, interesting, and challenging assignments. Even those of higher rank give you some slack about any eccentricities. You know it all, have done it all, and effortlessly accomplish assignments that leave your fellow workers in awe. You have been at your assignment that everyone higher in rank defers to your technical expertise.

    Phase 5: You get transferred to a job that not only has nothing to do with your job description or prior experience, but everyone expects you to walk on water base on your prior experience. You hate your job, your life, and think about clock towers on a regular basis.

    Next: skip phase 1 and go directly to phase 2.

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