From jacksonville, fl — 10/21/2009
Great pay when you consider the added benefit of what is not taxed and the ability to establish a home of record which does not deduct state income taxes. I was an officer, and I was very satisfied with the pay. You'll read a lot of gripes from enlisted that the pay is pathetic. MOST young enlisted possess a high school diploma as their highest education...let's be honest, you wouldn't be making as much in the outside world without a college degree. Additionally, for most of these folks, this is their first big paycheck out of high school (relatively speaking), and they don't know how to handle it. If you sit outside the gate, you'll notice a lot of young kids driving high-end SUV's with all the whiz bang trash inside it. I couldn't afford that, and I made 3-4 times what that kid made. Unfortunately, this is one of many life lessons you have to teach your enlisted personnel because their parents didn't do their job of preparing their sons and daughters for the outside world.
Definitely more respect if you are an officer amongst the enlisted ranks, but you've got to prove your worth to your peers and CoC to earn the respect of your fellow O's. I was always taught to live by the golden rule, treat others they way you want to be treated...this is preached by every CO I've ever had, but few of which have actually carried out in practice. Your satisfaction with your superiors boils down to the character of the person behind the uniform, but something strange happens to people when they are given authority over others. Same on the enlisted side.
You will not find a better benefits package anywhere. The Health Insurance alone is outstanding for your family. Unfortunately for you the service member, you have to go to the Naval Hospital/Branch clinic before an outside referral for non-emergent care. My advice to you, don't get sick. One of my favorite stories during a physical. "Sir, your blood pressure is a little high." The corpsmen proceeds to ask his 2nd class supervisor what to do. Supervisor says, "Sir, do you drink coffee or smoke?" "Yeah, I drink coffee." Supe to 3rd class "Just subtract fifteen." Nice. I guess in the Navy we're only trained to kill others, not repair them.
Don't do any of the following:
Kill someone, Commit espionage, Fail a drug test, or fail the PRT 3 times in a row...follow these 4 simple rules and you have a guaranteed retirement after 20 years. If that isn't job security, I don't know what is. Notice I didn't put get a DUI, crash an aircraft, run a ship aground...those will get you transferred elsewhere in the Navy. Actually, let me correct myself, a DUI for an officer is a show-stopper as well, but I've actually seen a guy get a 25K severance as a result of being separated due to a DUI, and opt out of a remaining 4 year comittment, AND still receive an honorable discharge...I'm embarrassed for the leadership that let that occur.
My personal opinion is this topic is more of a threat to the Navy's future than an enemy ship or submarine will ever be. It is very hard to be administratively separated from the Navy unless you have documentation a nautical mile long to document your piss-poor attitude/performance. The bottom-feeders of today's Navy are very much aware of this fact, and exploit it by showing up on time, doing the bare minimum, and straining their co-workers as a result of their lack of drive and incompetence.
You will do sea/shore rotations throughout your career, but you can definitely be tagged for sea to sea assignments. Shore rotations are essentially a normal day job with watches(you will always stand watch) unless you're the CO/XO, and every command mans a watch 24/7. Family life is somewhat normal on shore duty. When you are on sea duty, you are a cog in the unit's wheel. Not a big deal, it's what you signed up for. If you can't handle being away from home, and at the mercy of your command in a moment's notice, this is not for you. Especially if you have a family. I'm of the belief the Navy is a single man's profession. Lots of married guys stay in and put their family after the needs of the Navy...they just:
a) don't stay married very long, or
b) don't know a thing about their kids...but in either case,
they know everything about the NAVY. Me, I'll go with the kids.
Very cryptic career mentoring on the officer side. The rules to get ahead are always changing depending upon who you ask. If you are competent and dependable, you will make LCDR or 1st class as an enlisted. CDR or Chief is when promotion becomes tight, as it becomes performance based, but like anywhere, people fall through the cracks. And while we're on the CDR-Chief topic, I'm not ashamed to say it, but as they say, "Ask the Chief." An Officer can't touch the leadership skills of a good Chief Petty Officer. We can however, beat you in a spelling bee, political correctness, or ANY O's-Chief's sporting competition. We'll give you the mustache award. Chief's love the mustache...whatever, I don't get it.
You'll be near an ocean, a strip club, a pawn shop, and a slew of car dealerships. Boy, you are living the dream now son! Go out and get that $50,000 Escalade you can't afford.
I don't want to belabor this point, but this is a HUGE problem in the Navy. You think an aircraft carrier is huge, you have no idea. It's like this:
a) Those who wanted to join the Navy/serve their country/motivation/have some f-ing personal pride: These are the backbone of the Navy. If they are not good at their specialty, they possess the traits above to unf*k the problem and become the best at their trade.
b) Those who joined the Navy because it's a steady paycheck with job security: They are anchors. The ship will never move forward. The earlier post of the guy praising FTS is an anchor.