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Working at U.S. Army — Reviews by Employees

Learn what employees have to say about U.S. Army pay, work/life balance, care potential, job security, and much more by reading our anonymous employee reviews.

Reviews of Jobs at U.S. Army

3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect2
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth4
Location2
Co-Workers4
Work Environment3

From Fort Stewart, GA — 09/16/2010

It's the Army. Aside from going off to war, being stationed at a far away base, and getting paid very little, you're going to be surrounded by people who frustrate you to no end. If you don't have mental toughness, don't even bother. The people who have the biggest problem with the Army are people who lack mental toughness, discipline, or who didn't think it through.

Being in the military, and especially the Army, you will be doing things you don't want to do. All the time. I was a Cavalry Scout, I did 13 months in Iraq and another 2 years at Fort Stewart in an Admin job and then in a Supply job. If you enlist, there's a very good chance you'll do nothing in your MOS. That's just how it works. And yes, you'll be surrounded by people your normally would never interact with. Your social support structures (friends, family) will not be around, and you'll have to make new friends with people you thought you'd never be able to stand. And yes, it seems like everybody in the Army is dumb.

Far too many people think the Army is just about shooting guns and doing push ups. The opposite is true. It's about being adaptable, and being able to take a beating with a smile. If you are mature, have a desire to succeed, and some discipline, then you'll go far. If you want to act like you're still in high school, are lazy, and think “I'm too smart for this” on a regular basis, then you'll crash and burn until you either leave or turn into the soldier they're looking for. I came in with a monumental chip on my shoulder. It hurt a lot, but once I dropped the attitude, all of the sudden the hardest job in the world became really, really easy.

Think of it this way. They control every aspect of your life. But that also means they've done all the thinking for you. Just show up at the right place, the right time, and wearing the right uniform, work hard, and you're golden. Don't try to make sense of it, don't try to outsmart the system. Just shut up and do what you're told, and you'll be great.

I know it sounds mostly negative at this point, and that's because the Army can really be a negative experience if you're not ready for it. But if you can take it, you can get a lot out of it. First off, they're willing to train you for just about anything. Most of the enlisted MOS's require no education beyond a high school degree, so if you've always wanted to be a cop or a mechanic, you can be an 18 year old cop or an 18 year old mechanic, which absolutely would never happen in the civilian world. If you work the system right, you can get out 4 years later in your early 20's and have marketable experience and certifications, something that your civilian counterparts won't have.

Additionally, the pay isn't terrible. As an E-4, I had my own house, and a brand new car sitting in the driveway, along with a slew of expensive hobbies. And all the while I was putting money away. If you're married, you either get a free house (on base) or you get a pay bump to cover your house. Your food is paid for, you and your family automatically have health insurance, and for $20 a month you can get $400k of life insurance. If you can make it work, college while you're in is free, and when you get out, the GI Bill is beautiful.

And really, the major point for me is the experience I got in the Army. I'm 24 years old now, I've been to war, and I've been in charge of myself and other people. Most of my friends from high school are struggling to make use of their degree, to get their first real job so they can eventually move out of their parent's house. I've done more in the past 4 years then I have in the 20 years prior, and in the end, that's why I have to recommend the Army to anybody who can deal with it.
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3.6Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect3
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth5
Location2
Co-Workers3
Work Environment3

From Fort Polk, LA — 05/27/2010

Location is a no brainer for those who have been to JRTC and the surrounding area. I don't blame the Army for this but just being honest to all that might come to Fort Polk.

After reading some of the reviews about the Army... I must admit that I'm a little ashamed of a lot of the negativity. There isn't a perfect job out there in the world. You will still have crazy people you'll have to work with.. locations that suck.. and so on. But half the problem in the Army currently is the quality of soldiers coming in now! This isn't the Army that it was when I joined 12 years ago! Although I blame the soldiers for 50% of the issues they cause.. I blame their leadership (past and present) as well as their parents or guardians for the other half.

Do the right thing always! Be competitive but not "cut throat-ish". Look at the big picture for each mission. Plan for what will and can happen before it happens... and use the Army for everything its worth (benefits)!
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3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth4
Location2
Co-Workers2
Work Environment3

From Fort Benning, GA — 04/14/2010

The military is socialism, plain and simple. You can't get fired unless you want to, and even then you have to jump through a lot of hoops. The medical treatment is very bizaare. I went into an ER on the army post and waited 3-4 hours to hear a doctor tell me I need motrine. When that didn't work, I went to a civilian ER that same night and was seen in a matter of minutes, given shot, and I was all better right away. If you have zero skills and scared to try, the army is the place to hide. They'll train ya, give you some money and keep you from being homeless.
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5.0Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From WIlson,NC — 02/10/2010

I don't know about the sorry ass ex soldiers on this website, but I have enjoyed the Army, Yeah I agree it is a thankless job, but most of the shitbags on this site proabably couldn't handle it in the first place. The Army is no worse then every coporate job outthere. Every organization has there sorry ass people to include the Army. Remember there are those who strive to succeed and the ones that fail and post negative bullshit on websites.

Staff Sergeant US Army
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3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay3
Respect3
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth3
Location3
Co-Workers3
Work Environment3

From Ft. Hood, TX — 01/12/2010

2.3 years, 1st Cav., Ft. Hood, TX E-4, SPC, 1998-2000. Like most things, I have mixed feelings. As far as benefits and job security, it is by far the best you'll have. Who else is going to give a 19 year old with no skills 30 days paid vacation annually? Its the only job I ever had that offered me any paid vacation. Its also the one job that does not want to get rid of you!!! They will twist your arm and tell you all kinds of nonsense to get you to reenlist. I was once told 'not just anyone can work at McDonalds these days' when my chain of command was desperate to get people to re-up, which very few in their right mind did. Things everyone must consider before joining: 1.) If joining for 2 years, it is a 28 month commitment and your recruiter may wait until the last second to pull a 'oh by the way...' on you. Do not forget the 8 year contract either, though I was never called up again anyway. 2.) While the economy and job market are awful, and businesses are getting worse and worse with benefits and working conditions, less people are enjoying work, etc., the Army may be very tempting and for some people, their best decision while for others their worse. Regardless of your friends/relatives' success stories with the army, your situation, your needs, etc., you must remember that warfare, big business interests and expansion of our government's control, is the only purpose of this organization. Expect to be sent to a sh*thole. You will also always have someone telling you what to do and when to do it. 3.) Not to mention, your coworkers will include many many people who will not last a day at any civilian job and who are misfits otherwise, coming from bad upbringings, slums and outhouses. If you're afraid of people outside your hometown or don't understand anyone outside of your hood, you will be in for a shock. The past few years they also started letting in criminals and psychos who they never would have let in before. While you may be 'squared away' and good at everything, don't be suprised when you find yourself paying for the mistakes of others. One person's screwup is seen as everyone's screw up. The Army's definition of teamwork. 4.) You may not always do 'your job.' Some soldiers do their entire first term without ever doing their MOS. For example, my MOS was a cannon crewmember. At my duty station, I drove an ammo truck the whole time. You will also be put on duties and do janitorial work a lot. Remember, Infantry is everyone's secondary job, so don't be shocked if pulled off a desk and put on patrol. If you can not live with the 4 points I mentioned, then stay out or you will be miserable and counting the days til when you seperate. That is a fact. If all of it is old news to you and you are still convinced you want to join, know the facts first. If you are educated, look into being an officer as you'll be treated with respect that you won't if you just enlist. Knowing whats going on there, knowing why you're joining and knowing what you'll gain and lose, are most important to be researched and determined before signing and swearing in. Going in eyes wide shut and leaving it all upto the recruiters is just plain stupid. The last of those currently serving you want to talk to, are recruiters. Don't see them unless you already made up your mind and its you convincing them, not them trying to convince you. Also talk with recently seperated veterans. Whether or not you join, make it a smart decision, not a desperate one.
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth4
Location1
Co-Workers2
Work Environment3

From Killeen, Texas — 09/13/2009

This is based on the current duty station in which I am located at which is Fort Hood, Texas. Most of the time, if not all, this is based on personal opinions and the way the factors of the organization work for one, treat one, and usually motivate a person. Typically, if you are a Texan, you will love it in Texas; however, the military here and most of the others stateside are not professional. They are more dictatorial; seeing that this 'new' Army is moving to the way of the Corporate Enterprise.
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3.7Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth4
Location3
Co-Workers3
Work Environment3

From Fort Lewis, WA — 05/11/2009

I've read a lot of negative things on here about people's jobs in the Army. I can assure you, even though you may hate your job, not everyone does. Your individual experience depends on your MOS and the unit you're in. But more importantly, it depends on your attitude and level of motivation. Some people rate the Army low on "respect." Well, what have you done to earn that respect? If you're a junior enlisted Soldier, of course you're not going to get the respect you think you deserve. But respect is earned. You don't come into the Army instantly entitled to respect. Even the lowest ranking Soldier can earn the respect of his/her superiors and subordinates by having a positive attitude and motivation. I know it sounds cliche, but you get out of it what you put into it. I've learned that a blend of humility and confidence will get you far.

That said, some people just aren't cut out for the Army lifestyle. If getting up early to do PT in the cold isn't your thing, why would join in the first place? If you can't handle deploying to a combat zone to live for a year to 18 months, then this isn't the job for you. Don't tell me about your recruiter and what he/she may or may not have told you. You were a grown-up when you signed that legally-binding contract with the US Government, so sooner or later you'll need to act like one.

All jobs, both military and civilian, have their share of idiots. The key is to differentiate yourself from them. Use their example to learn what kind of leader you're NOT going to become. You may hate the unit you're in now. That's fine. But understand that things will change. You're not going to be in that unit forever. The people you hate are not going to be in that unit forever. Hate your job? Then reclass as soon as you get a chance. And if the Army still isn't for you, then get out.

Now, to address benefits... Most people who say they hate the Army simply need some perspective. I'm no recruiter, but if I were, here's how I would roll it up:

First, there are the financial Benefits:

- Steady paycheck. It hits account on the 1st & 15th like clockwork
- Extra money for serving away from family
- Extra money for serving in combat zones
- Extra money for attending schools
- Extra money annually to pay for uniforms
- Depending on MOS, re-enlistment bonuses are available
- Discounted merchandise, gas, groceries, w/ no sales tax.
- Commissary provides approximately 30% savings vs. typical grocery stores.
- Job security: You can't get laid off based on the whims of corporate CEO's or the instability of the stock market.

Housing:

- How would you like to live in a gated community protected by armed guards?
- How would you like your employer to pay all rent and utilities?
- Even if on-post housing isn’t acceptable to Soldiers w/ dependents, the military gives you money for rent on the economy
It would certainly be hard to find a civilian employer who would cover your rent!

Medical Benefits:

No other employer on earth can compete w/ the military’s medical benefits. I'll speak from my own experience, since everyone's medical situation is different.
- We had four children completely free
- I had two different abdominal operations, plus got my wisdom teeth removed and had cavities filled... that's right: all for free.
- Eye exams and glasses are all covered.
- The Army also provides free laser eye surgery to those who qualify.
- In many cases, personnel & families can be treated by civilian doctors.

Physical Fitness:

- Free access to gyms & state-of-the-art workout equipment. Health club memberships are expensive.
Not only do you not have to pay, but we’re paid to be physically fit. It’s part of the job.

Education:

Many people get out of the Army just for the sake of getting out, and have no prospects lined up.
- GI Bill: A big pile of money for college that sadly, most people don't even use.
- Tuition Assistance: Because of this, most people don’t have to touch their GI Bill until after they’ve left the military.
- Military prepares you for life as a civilian.

Myth: the military is all about killing people and blowing things up.
Reality: 81% of military jobs are non-combat occupations.
Reality: 88% of Military jobs have direct civilian counterparts.

Even when you do eventually get out, the military still takes care of you: The Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP) helps Soldiers transition to civilian life by providing civilian job training, job fairs with civilian employers, and they even help you prepare your resume.

So in conclusion, you could get out of the Army. But I’d like to see you walk into a job interview and ask for all the benefits you currently have. Here’s how it might go:

“I’d like a free place to live, free work clothing, and free health care… And by the way, I also want a gym membership, and you’ll need to pay for my education. And if I decide to leave your company, I’ll need you to help me find a new job.”

Try that, and you’ll be laughed out of the interview.
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3.5Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth5
Location2
Co-Workers3
Work Environment4

From Little Rock, AR — 03/03/2009

I've been in the US Army Reserves for 10 years. Things are different for reservists, I understand, but I love job in the Army. (I loathe my civilian job.)
The pay actually isn't that bad, givem that it's not dependent on how much you produce or sell or that you are even improving yourself. I'm actually in a position now where I'd be making more on active duty than I do at my regular job. How bad is that?
There is some issue with earning respect, however, rank must always be respected. (and just like any other job, there will always be some idiot that's got more rank than you.) As long as you are doing the right thing, the respect will eventually come.
The benefits are probably some of the best when it comes to education. Also, you have to consider that in most cases many expenses (even incidentals) are covered. Think about how much a gym membership would cost you- there are plenty of free places to work out on any military post. Not to mention discounted rates on mortgages, and other military related discounts- even shopping at the PX or commissary!
Assuming that the president does not decide to downsize the military (like we've done in the past)- there will almost always be job security in the military.
For a reservist, the balance between work and your home life/civilian job can be (and usually is) tenuous.
The growth potential in the military in unlimited. As long as an individual is constantly improving themselves personally and professionally- no one can stop you from becoming general. I really believe that.
I'm neutral on the co-worker competence bit. Just like any other job, you've got your slackers. But I have found that the motivated folks in the Army are even more motivated than folks I've met on the outside.
The work environment for the Army can be such a broad range of things- sometimes very exciting and sometimes just plain crappy. The trick is being able to enjoy the exciting and laugh about the crappy.
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5.0Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers5
Work Environment5

From NJ — 02/19/2009

I love it. I have been in the Army for 6 years and I think that there is no better job than this one. Do not listen to others who probably are a group of haters. The Army is great.
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4.5Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From MD, AK, VA, many others — 01/21/2009

If you can play Guitar, bass, Piano, drums, or a brass or woodwind instrument well then you should join the Army Band. By far the best job in the Army. The best paying professional gig with a pension plan, the US Army funds the largest number of musicians of any employer. Yes, some bands get deployed and its tough, but most are not and the job satisfaction is top notch. More than 50% of band members have college degrees in something. The people I work with are smart, sensible and make good choices overall. it's a great way to pay for college or pay off your college loans. I finished my BS degree while on Active duty, the band commanders invariably support Soldier education.
I wake up every morning convinced I have the best job ever.
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