Considering Joining the Army Reserves

Temujiin's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,167

Are any of you in the Army Reserves, and if so, do you recommend it? I am graduating this Spring and have already accepted a job that will begin in July where I anticipated I will be working 40-50 hours/week. I am considering joining the Army Reserves, preferably as an Officer since I will have a degree. I would really appreciate some insight into what the Reserves is like, how difficult it is to balance it with a full-time job, and the process to become an Officer.

Comments (25)

Feb 14, 2018

It'll be one weekend of training a month and a full week every 6 months or some shit. What's your reason for wanting to join? Money? Resume? Patriotism? How do you feel about how the U.S. utilizes its military currently? What kind of officer would you want to be? Infantry is a lot different from engineering which is different from clerical. You might do some disaster relief. That might be cool. I have some tenants who just deployed to Costa Rica for 30 days.

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

    • 1
Feb 14, 2018

I have four main reasons. I want to serve my country in some way. Extra money, along with help repaying loans would be helpful. I want structured leadership training and there is no better place to get that than the military. It could be easy to get out of shape while working full time, so this could help make sure I stay in shape.

I think the most likely spot would be the Financial Manager officer role, since I studied Finance in college. The only other roles I think would appeal to me would be the Civil Affairs Officer, Counterintelligence Agent, and Firefighter roles.

Additionally, I learned about the length of Basic Combat Training (10 weeks), and the length of time for required training for most roles which is typically another 10 weeks. If this is the case for all of the roles then I don't see how I would be able to do it.

Feb 15, 2018

Man honestly, you want to do super super part time pog work. I don't see how it will help you with any of your goals. Doing 17 pushups and shuffling papers once a month will not keep you in shape. And the money isn't that good compared to finance work. For an officer, it's like $400 a month? And debt repayment doesn't start until 6 years in. Sounds like what you really want is discipline. Give this a read. You can read it in like 3 hours:

a

heister:

Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

https://arthuxtable.com/

    • 3
Feb 14, 2019

Hey man unfortunately (and I can only speak for the National Guard not the reserves, may want to look into that as well) you can not become a Financial Manager until you reach the Captain level. I'm currently about to complete my transition into an Officer in the Guard and may be able to answer a lot of questions you may have.

Oct 15, 2019
Temujiin:

I have four main reasons. I want to serve my country in some way. Extra money, along with help repaying loans would be helpful. I want structured leadership training and there is no better place to get that than the military. It could be easy to get out of shape while working full time, so this could help make sure I stay in shape.

I think the most likely spot would be the Financial Manager officer role, since I studied Finance in college. The only other roles I think would appeal to me would be the Civil Affairs Officer, Counterintelligence Agent, and Firefighter roles.

Additionally, I learned about the length of Basic Combat Training (10 weeks), and the length of time for required training for most roles which is typically another 10 weeks. If this is the case for all of the roles then I don't see how I would be able to do it.

If you want a desk job with the military, maybe Air Force is a better bet. The facilities are nicer, bases are better, sleeping facilities are better and people aren't all hooah about dumb stuff.

If you want to go infantry or Green Beret or Ranger or something, fine, go Army.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 2
Feb 15, 2018

Entirely possible to combine reserve service with a demanding finance job, as long as you're not absolutely required to be trading every day the market's open.

Becoming an officer sounds as if it might be a better deal, but actually it probably wouldn't be in your circumstances. Enlisted = 13 weeks of basic training/AIT for combat arms, maybe longer for some technical MOSes. Officer = need to do a commissioning program (you already missed out on ROTC) which can be several months or longer, then branch school which is more months. Also it's more competitive to get promoted. Bottom line is, enlisted status would be much less of a time suck, interfering with your job less.

Forget about going into IT, firefighting or some other pogue MOS. In the Army, you should be a trigger puller -- infantry, cav scout, tanks, arty. That's where the fun is. The rest are just part time jobs with often unpleasant working conditions.

Find a unit you want to belong to, ask to tag along on a weekend drill or two, BEFORE you talk to the recruiter. Remember a recruiter's word is worthless unless it's in writing.

Also keep in mind you can expect to be deployed at some point during your service and most reserve/ANG units are on a 5-year cycle currently. If you join a unit which last deployed 4.5 years ago you could emerge from training right into deployment without even a day off. I've seen it happen. Your employer will probably be decent about it, but if you're gone from your job 18 months - 2 years soon after getting hired it's not exactly a career booster. (Although an employer is required by law to keep your job warm for up to 2 years while you're training or deployed.) So pick your unit intelligently.

One more thing: Don't be a finance officer unless you have a death wish. A good buddy who was a cav sgt. like me switched to finance, he's now a major but has been deployed to Afghanistan twice, & while there a friend of his signed for a pallet of $100 bills which then disappeared, The poor sod is now in a cell at Leavenworth.

    • 4
Oct 17, 2019

What do the companies do when this happens? I have a feeling that if I decided to do reserves there would be so much bad blood between me and the company if I did this within a year of joining and if the team is small. Do they hire someone while you go to basic and whatever additional school you attend? What about when you deploy?

Don't quit!
Best Response
Feb 16, 2018

Active duty Marine officer here. Still in training and obviously different service, but hopefully I can add something to the conversation...

Reserves as an officer, from what I've heard, could be more work than just a weekend-a-month / two-weeks-in-summer responsibility. The military views your responsibility as a leader at both a personal and professional level. You're expected to know what's going on with your subordinates' personal lives to ensure they can function appropriately in combat or otherwise. That said, I've been told Army National Guard (ANG) reservist officers don't work much more the minimum weekend-a-month, just know if something happens to your subordinates, you might pull more hours than expected.

As was mentioned, you need to consider how training will fit with your current job. Since you're done with college, you'd go to Officer Candidate School (OCS). That's 3 months of training. Then, depending on your military occupational specialty (MOS) -- let's say you get infantry -- that's another four months of training, so seven months total away from your normal job. Other MOS's may have shorter or longer schools. The key thing here is to also recognize that MOS schools are scheduled for specific cycles. If you complete OCS, you may have to wait a significant amount of time (read: months) between then and MOS school. They legally have to keep your job for you, but I would assume such repeated absences will not ingratiate you with your employer.

Also, not sure how MOS's work for officers in the Army Reserves or ANG, but from what I understand, as an active duty Army officer, your MOS is assigned to you, not chosen by you. This is the same for Marines, whether active or reservist -- we can give our "dream sheets" to our superiors, but ultimately you will be what Uncle Sam needs you to be. The only way to dictate what MOS you get is to enlist. Also, I've been told there's not a lot of combat arms MOS's for reservists besides infantry.

Finally, I would point out that some of your reasoning to join might have to be revisited. Reservist pay is probably not going to be move the dial much. You can arguably spend your time in a more financially profitable job (read: don't join for the money). Second, unless the Army is drastically different, there's not going to be structured leadership training. You will get leadership experience, but whatever leadership you have when you join, is generally the same leadership skills you'll have when you leave unless you work on it yourself. That's why there are tons of shitbag leaders in the military -- some people just suck at leading. Leadership is a conscious, personal effort to become better. The military is a good place to practice, but it's not the only place. Third, think of physical fitness the same way. If you can't get up every day and workout while working full-time, who's to say you will do that when you add additional weekend responsibilities on top of that? This was one of my reasons for joining, and I found out quickly that, especially as an officer, physical fitness is your own personal responsibility. No one will make you "drop and give me 20" unless you're at basic training or OCS. I don't say all this to demean your desire to join, but when I joined, it became clear that some of my reasoning was flawed. I'd have appreciated if someone was candid with me that some of my logic was bullshit.

If you have more specific questions, PM me though obviously my knowledge is geared towards the Marine Corps.

Oct 17, 2019

As an older male in my later 20's ive been thinking about whether itd be dumb for me to join. I've had roomates and they are nasty as shit in the common areas and the restrooms, I figure I'd have to deal with the same shit, no pun intended, on a more massive scale during basic.

Can you speak to any of this?

Don't quit!
Oct 17, 2019

Hahahahahaha funny you mention that. I consider myself a very clean, neat person. At the time I joined, I also was still very much used to my ~$10 pour over coffees and Italian leather. In Officer Candidate School, the no-stall-door toilets, ~1 minute nut-to-butt "wagon-wheel" group showers (and better yet the baby wipe "baths" in the field), filling canteens / CamelBaks from garden hoses and shower heads, etc. etc. was probably the biggest culture shock to my prissy ass. I remember at one point an older, prior enlisted officer candidate had to gather the platoon around and tell everyone the importance of trimming your toenails and changing your socks.

Because of the nature of the initial training (compressed timelines, constant lack of sleep, lots of physical exertion, poor decision-making, and people from all walks of life), hygiene will be bad, and you most certainly will get sick. I got acute bronchitis and a ~104 fever at week 4 and got loaded with antibiotics. Most of the ten weeks I was wheezing and coughing out phlegm. It's all part of the game, and it will only be a few weeks. Suck it up, and take it chow to chow. It's not that bad.

EDIT: I'm not on here much anymore. PM or reply to a comment, and I'll try to get to it when I can.

Feb 16, 2018

Better to join full time and then go to the reserves after. Joining directly into the reserves will be a horrible experience. You simply won't know anything and are a real liability when you deploy if you don't have active time. Also, if you think working in finance in the military as a reserve officer will lend you experience, think again. The military, and government at large, is one of the most poorly managed entities in the world when it comes to money. Think - how well can you manage part of a large organization when you show up to work a few times a year?

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Feb 16, 2018

One thing that's kind of obvious, but I'll mention anyway. You should be considering this because you want to serve, and not because of some illusions that it may help your career. To be honest, it will likely hurt it. It's one thing to have a veteran advantage in recruiting and another to have reserves on the resume. Former active duty army officer here, and getting into BB was pretty straight forward as a vet. However, after getting some banking experience I joined the reserves for a little more balance. Now, a few years of top BB (GS/MS/JPM) experience in the front office of S&T with an MBA (and Ivy), I'm trying to lateral to banking and can't even get an interview. It's hard not to think it doesn't have something to do with my reserve commitment on my resume. I know it's not in line with the law, but what type of manager would want to pick up someone that may get pulled off the team? I'm still glad I'm serving, but its not without a cost to my career. So consider that piece as well.

Feb 17, 2018

Bump!

How is my grammar? Drop me a note with any errors you see!

Feb 17, 2018

What country are you in? I'd be more concerned about the prospect of getting an internship AFTER graduation.....that's not how it works. You should be applying for a full time role.

Feb 17, 2018

Have you done any military stuff or are you just on the list? I don't see how that would affect your chances unless the recruiter is sentimental towards the military cause.

Absolute truths don't exist... celebrated opinions do.

Feb 17, 2018

I'd quit starting threads on WSO every 5 minutes and go talk to some human beings in real life, i.e. your boss/family/etc.

Feb 17, 2018
the_stig:

I'd quit starting threads on WSO every 5 minutes and go talk to some human beings in real life, i.e. your boss/family/etc.

Input from anonymous strangers is good shit.