A few years back when we lived in New Jersey my husband had to preform a job for the Army that he did not sign up to do. He was a detailed recruiter. This means he was selected by the Department of the Army to become a recruiter. He did not apply for recruiting duty or change his MOS (job), they wanted him to be a recruiter. This is not a job that my husband and many other soldiers would pick for themselves but it is a job that needs to be done. What better way to recruit new soldiers than use those doing the job already? Whether they want to be there or not.
In our case my husband came down on orders after several back to back deployments. It later came out that it was to give him and many other soldiers in the same situation a break. It wasn’t until after and several Army recruiter suicides that it came out that hey maybe this isn’t such a good idea. Recruiting is a high stress and demanding job but it is a different kind of stress than soldiers have while deployed especially when you have factors such as PTSD and TBI added into the equation.
Our first year in recruiting was tough. There were long hours, working on the weekend, all of that fun stuff. On my end my thought was, at least he is home. Years two and three were easier after changes were made, changes that I hope are still in effect today. Recruiting isn’t easy. There are many factors that can make it suck but at the same time there was good that came with the job. My husband succeeded at recruiting in a tough market, none the less. He was offered to become a career recruiter, a job he had no desire for and turned down repeatedly. My husband may have been a good recruiter but it was not a job he loved. For myself, while out in recruiting land I was also given the opportunity and began advocating for military families. Recruiting duty was 3 years of our lives I wouldn’t change.
Leaving the recruiting world we were excited to get back to the “real Army”. Something I didn’t expect after we left were all the recruiters are bad, recruiters lie and other comments I would hear. Maybe this is something that is always there and is just heightened after you have been exposed to it. To this day I stick up for Army recruiters and recruiters in general. While yes, there are some bad recruiters out there, the greater majority are good and just trying to do their jobs. Plus anyways recruiters get no love and are blamed for everything even things completely out of their control.
You didn’t get the job you wanted, it is the recruiters fault. You didn’t get the location you wanted, it’s the recruiters fault. Your recruiter didn’t tell you ever minuscule possible detail about your job, so he lied to you. Here is the thing though, it is time to be an adult and put on your big boy and girl underwear. It’s human nature to want to blame someone but many times the person to blame is yourself. Joining the military is a major lifestyle change that should not be taken lightly and all too many people do.
If you want to join the military the first thing you should do is research. Research everything and go in informed and have questions! In todays times the information is out there on the internet. Have at least an idea of the job you want to do and a back up. You will be tested and even if you do qualify for a job there may be some sort of reason why it is not available at the time. It is the military, things are always changing! Then remember there is going to be training after basic for most MOS’s, this is AIT. Your AIT depends on the needs of your MOS. Some are long, some are short. If you choose a MOS because you don’t want to be stuck in a long school learning a trade or what not that is on you. It is a choice you made.
When you go to do your contract get everything you want in your contract. This includes any special schools. Just be realistic. Yes, being airborne is cool but if it is not needed for the MOS you want there is a good possibility you won’t get airborne school.
At least when my husband was a recruiter they did not promise future duty stations. You did not fill out a dream sheet. Yes, a recruiter can tell you where the different MOS’s are commonly stationed but that is about it. You eventually find out that info in Basic. Want to know a secret, my family has never gotten a location on our dream sheet but that is ok. We would have never picked to live in New Jersey or El Paso but both places grew on us and we liked for different reasons. Your duty station is what you make of it! Get out and explore what is there! You have to bloom where you are planted (and yes things do grow and bloom in the desert!)
Being the military all jobs have the possibility of deployment, it is the military after all. Some jobs just don’t deploy as much. I don’t know about you but I think that is a given. If you don’t want to possibly deploy, don’t join the military.
Yes, recruiters have quotas but even with that said my husband only every put in one soldier in his MOS. Think about it, eventually the majority of detailed recruiters have to go back to the regular Army. That guy they recruited may end up being their new soldiers. I don’t know about you but i’d be picky about who may have my back in a firefight. True story, the guy my husband recruited in his MOS ended up in his company at Fort Bliss. Those my recruiter did this or that aren’t so interesting when your recruiter ends up being your boss.
The recruiter will tell you about the military life and how great it is. They aren’t going to tell you about all the parts that suck like burning poop and pulling weeds (true stories!). I know i’ve had several jobs where I did things that were not in my “job description”. The military isn’t different, like any job it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. You are going to find things that suck.
For a future military spouse things are hit or miss as to how each recruiting station/company/battalion does things. The primary concern is on the future soldier not you. Sorry, that is just the way it is. That said there are some things that need to be done on the homefront as well. I have helped a spouse set up her DEERs and Tricare. I have taught Army life 101 to new families and answered questions to the best of my ability. Not all places do that though. When your husband is away at basic you can call the recruiter but they may not necessarily be able to help you. It depends on the problem and sometimes they just can’t because what you are wanting to know is something that is out of their hands. Yes, it is easy to get mad at them but don’t blame them. Adjusting to this life can be difficult, it takes time.
Lastly, for those who decide that the military was not for them and get out after 4 years. Remember picking out your job. Don’t complain about the lack of opportunity when you get out. There are corresponding jobs out there for every MOS. Opportunities are out there! Plus during your time in the Army you can also work on college. Yes, you have your GI bill that you earn but while active but you can use tuition assistance and work on a college degree. My husband has earned his bachelors and is currently working on his MBA. Part of being a grown up is looking at your future and planning for it.
These are just a few of the many things i’ve heard over the years. It always amazes me when I hear people complaining about recruiters. With a dash of common sense so many issues and complaints could be avoided. Choosing the military shouldn’t be an easy decision. It should be one that is well thought out and researched. It takes some adjusting to the lifestyle in the beginning and there will be bumps in the road along the way but those bumps are not the recruiters fault so please, stop blaming them.