“Look Before You Leap” into a Military Career
DO YOU WANT TO JOIN THE DEFENCE SERVICES…?
1. The generic term “MILITARY” includes all the three Armed Forces — Army, Navy and Air Force
2. The generic word “Fauj” refers to all arms of the Military (Army, Navy, Air Force) and the term “Fauji” or “Soldier” refers to all military personnel in uniform of the Army, Navy and Air Force (Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen)]
CAREER ADVICE — LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP
Story of a Boy who wanted to “Appear to be a Naval Officer”
There is a difference between actually being a “fauji” and to appear to be a “fauji”.
I am sure the same holds true for civilian professions as well.
Here is the story of one such officer who wanted to “appear to be a Naval Officer” — rather than — “be a true Naval Officer”.
STORY OF A BOY WHO WANTED TO “APPEAR TO BE A NAVAL OFFICER”
Long back — around 33 years ago — a young boy — accompanied by his parents came to see me at my home in Pune where I was spending my annual leave.
The boy — 15 years old — was studying in the 11th Standard (Class).
He wanted to join the Navy.
His parents — who lived nearby — were from a business background.
I talked to the boy.
I talked to his parents.
Then — from what I had learnt the hard way from my own experience — I advised the boy not to join the Navy.
His parents were angry with me — and they said: “Why are you saying so? Is our son not fit to join the Navy? Our son is very good — look at his personality, his physical fitness, his intelligence, his smartness. Don’t you feel that our son has the aptitude to be selected for the Navy?”
“Of course — he has the APTITUDE…”I commented, “but — does he have the right ATTITUDE…?”
At first — the boy and his parents seemed confused at what I had said.
Then — the parents looked at me angrily — and it seemed that they were getting upset.
Before the parents could react — I said:
“Well — I feel that your son does not have the appropriate attitude for the Navy…”
I saw that the furious parents now felt that I was demeaning their son.
They were in no mood to listen to any further explanations — so I kept quiet.
Their ego was hurt.
I could see that now the boy was even more determined than ever to join the Navy just to prove me wrong — as if it were a prestige issue.
The boy cleared the UPSC Exam.
Then — he sailed through the SSB.
Of course — in the Services Selection Boards (SSBs) — they assess “aptitude” — but I wonder if they evaluate “attitude”.
In due course — the smart young boy joined the academy as a cadet for basic training.
I lost track of the boy as I was busy with my own Navy career.
10 YEARS LATER
Ten years later — the same boy — looking smart in his spotless white uniform of a Navy Lieutenant — was sitting in my office in Mumbai.
He had come to ask me a favour.
He desperately wanted to get out of the Navy.
And — he was wondering — if I could help him out to get out of the Navy
“But why do you want to quit the Navy…?” I asked him with surprise, “You are just beginning your career in the Navy — and you have such a bright future ahead.”
“I just don’t like it over here — I just can’t tolerate my life being controlled all the time — the bloody rules, regulations — and all the bullshit — I can’t stand it anymore,” he complained bitterly.
“So — you don’t like the regimentation — the Navy way of life…?” I asked.
“Yes. I remember what you said 10 years ago when we had come over to your place in Pune. You said that I did not have the right attitude for the Navy. You were right. I should have listened to you…” he said, quite contrite.
Of course — then he went on to list many reasons why he wanted to quit — family pressures (his father was not keeping well and wanted him to look after their family business) — a matrimonial alliance (the girl did not want to marry a defence officer) — and so many other reasons.
But — the crux of the issue was the Attitudinal Mismatch problem.
I frankly told him that it would be very difficult for him to leave the Navy since he was a permanent commission cadet entry officer.
I advised him that now that he had joined the Navy — it was best for him to continue serving in the Navy — as he had a bright career ahead.
But — I saw that the young Lieutenant sitting in front of me was in no mood to listen to my platitudinous advice.
He had not listened to my advice when I told him not to join the Navy.
Now — again — he did not listen to me when I told him to continue serving in the navy.
I politely told him that I could not help him out in this matter — and that it was best he continue in the Navy at least till he completed 20 years pensionable service.
But — the young Lieutenant was adamant on quitting the navy.
He kept submitting his resignation again and again — giving different pretexts each time — and — he made his own life miserable — and — he made everyone else’s life miserable too.
Later — I learnt that his perseverance to quit the Navy had paid off.
He had finally managed to get out of the Navy after a struggle of nearly 3 years — relentlessly pushing his papers — pulling strings — using connections — begging and pleading his case.
13 years of his productive life were wasted — both to him and to the Navy — and finally — he left the Navy with a feeling of bitterness.
MORAL OF THE STORY
During my long Navy career I have seen many such cases of officers who realised that they were misfits in the Navy — and — sadly — they wasted many frustrated years of their lives in misery trying to get out of the Navy.
I am sure you will find similar examples in other professions as well — but — in the civilian world — it is easy to quit your job — and change over to something else.
That is why — before you take up a career — especially a military career — make sure you have the right attitude suitable for that career — LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP.
“MILITARY” CAREER IN A NUTSHELL
Many youngsters keep asking me about life and career prospects in the Armed Forces (Defence Services) — Army, Navy and Air Force.
So — here are the salient aspects of a Military Career in a Nutshell.
12 UNIQUE ATTRIBUTES OF A MILITARY CAREER IN THE DEFENCE FORCES
Tips from a Military Veteran
(The generic term “MILITARY” includes all the three Armed Forces — Army, Navy and Air Force)
A career in the Defence Services or Armed Forces like the Army, Navy and Air Force is different from most other civilian careers.
The unique attributes of a military career entail a distinctive “way of life” that makes a career in the Armed Forces totally different as compared to a career in the civilian world.
Many young persons join the defence services without fully understanding the unique aspects of a Military career and then they feel out of place, mismatched, frustrated and regretful.
During my long Naval career I have seen so many officers who realised that they were misfits in the navy and wasted many frustrated years of their lives in misery trying to get out of the navy.
Please do not let that happen to you.
Do join the Army, Navy and Air Force — but do so with due diligence — with your eyes open and with full awareness.
It may prove foolhardy to join on a sudden impulse or in a wave of jingoism.
You must be realistic about choosing your career — whether in the Defence Services or elsewhere — because your career is probably the most important part of your life.
If you have the right attitude and compatible mindset — then a Military career is very satisfying and fulfilling.
But if your attitude in not in sync with the military way of life — then you may get frustrated and your life may become miserable.
That is why — before you join the defence services — make sure you have the right attitude suitable for a career in the armed forces.
“MILITARY” LIFE IN A NUTSHELL
To put “Military” Life in a nutshell — here is a list of 12 Unique Attributes that characterize a Military Career in the Armed Forces (Army Navy or Air Force):
1. HOLISTIC ORIENTATION
2. LIFETIME EMPLOYMENT
4. TOUGH DANGEROUS CHALLENGING WORK
5. MODERATE COMPENSATION PACKAGE
6. MODEST CAREER PROSPECTS
7. NON-SPECIALIZED CAREER PATH
8. CONFORMIST ORGANISATIONAL CULTURE
9. RIGID RANK BASED HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE
10. INFLEXIBLE HR POLICIES
11. UNSTABLE NOMADIC FAMILY LIFE
12 EARLY RETIREMENT AGE
If you planning to join the Armed Forces you must ask yourself whether you have the right attitude and compatible mindset to match all these 12 military attributes.
I am sure you understand each of the 12 points mentioned above which are self-explanatory — but — nevertheless — I shall try and elaborate on each point later in my blog.
In fact — I have already written articles/stories based on most of the above 12 attributes.
Also — it is always a good idea to talk to young officers of your age group to get a first-hand view of life in the respective Defence Service — as serving officers will be more updated and current in this matter.
Remember the Story of the Boy who wanted to “Appear to be a Naval Officer” — and — ask yourself:
Do you want to be a “fauji” — or — do you want to appear to be a “fauji”…?
All the Best.
To be continued in Do You Want to Join the Defence Services…? — Part 2
Copyright © Vikram Karve
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
- These tips are based on my own experience and represent my personal views which may not be universal in nature and may not apply to you. You must make your own career decisions with due diligence.
- This story narrated in the blog post is a fictional spoof, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
- All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.
Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)
Link to my source blog post in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2019/08/do-you-want-to-join-military-defence.html
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
This is an abridged extract from a series of career counselling articles written by me Vikram Karve more than 11 years ago in the year 2010 as a part of my career guidance lectures and I have Earlier Posted this article in my Academic and Creative Writing Blog more than 8 years ago in the year 2013 at urls: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/career-guidance-tips-do-you-want-to.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2014/08/army-life-in-nutshell.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/career-guidance-tips-do-you-want-to_9.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/07/career-guidance-tips-do-you-want-to_4735.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/03/fauji-life-in-nutshell-12-attributes-of.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/05/a-military-career-in-navy-attitude.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2013/11/story-of-boy-who-wanted-to-appear-to-be.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2015/08/career-adivice-look-before-you-leap.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/03/military-career-in-nutshell.html and https://karve.wordpress.com/2020/08/27/do-you-want-to-join-the-defence-services-part-1-12-unique-military-attributes/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/06/12/20512/ and https://karve.wordpress.com/2021/11/28/do-you-want-to-join-the-defence-services-part-1-12-unique-military-attributes-2/ etc
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.