Advice

Military Members Reveal What They Wish They'd Known Before Joining

Sometimes we jump into things that we don't fully understand. This pertains to many different crossroads of life. We don't always know where we'll end up, but sometimes hindsight is truly always 20/20.

u/dumbuffoon asked: Military members of reddit, what's one thing you wish that you knew before joining?


The sad truth.

It's an inhuman machine that doesn't care about you. This isn't inherently a bad thing; it just is. But what it means is that you need to look out for your own interests - the military will not.

Any attempt to guilt you out of looking out for your own interests is misguided at best and predatory at worst. The "We're all brothers in arms" creed applies to the very, very few individuals whom you trust with your life. Everyone else is part of the machine. Look out for them too as part of being a decent adult, but put your own oxygen mask on, first.

Broader advice for those joining: Save. Your. Money. Literally all of your income is disposable; your shelter, utilities, food, gym, medical, and dental are covered. This is the one time in your life when you can easily save more than half your income and still have enough to party. You can very easily save up a down payment on a house while you're in; that, a valuable job skill, and the GI Bill can set you up extremely well for success in the civilian world.

Alternatively, you can get a brand-new Mustang at 19% APR from the local dealership and throw the remainder of your paycheck at strippers. Same thing, I guess.

u/POGtastic

Interesting.

Giphy

Wait until October 1st at least to join. Don't join in September.

Why? Fiscal year starts 10/1, which is also generally when all the good jobs become available. And then get your MOS (job) put in writing in the contract.

Your recruiter is there to put butts in seats for whatever branch. If you want something, have it put in writing. He doesn't necessarily give two sh!ts about you-some do, most will straight screw you to make a quota.

u/RiflemanLax

A lot of people probably don't know that.

The recruitment process is a negotiation, and it represents the last time that you'll have all the power in your relationship with the military.

I joined and went into a high demand MOS at the height of the war on terror. Most people in my training platoon had received bonuses in the tens of thousands of dollars, and some of them picked otherwise hard to get follow-on training (such a Airborne school if you are not in combat arms) or even selected all-but-impossible to get first duty stations. I, meanwhile, received a sandwich, because I wasn't aware of the power dynamic.

On a less serious note, some portion of the people who join will do so because they have heard that "Women love a man in uniform." The more important axiom to remember is that the love for a man in uniform is inversely proportional to their proximity to a military base. This axiom is well earned and constantly reinforced.

u/EclecticDreck

OMG.

That Recruiters jobs are basically to funnel people into specific jobs that maybe they are down in numbers on... so that AMAZING job and skill-set that you are a perfect fit for with your test scores... is likely just Johnny Recruiter meeting his numbers.

u/wlane13

Good advice.

Giphy

Go. To. Medical. when things hurt. Not change your socks. Not ignore it. Tell them it's an 8+ out of 10 on the pain scale or they won't document it. Then when you get out, you can have a valid history and have accountability, versus the VA disregarding your injuries as service-related and telling you to pound sand.

u/aarontminded

Eye-opening.

The worst part of your early military service is not basic training. It's MEPS. MEPS is a domain of the damned and full of the biggest a-holes in uniform. You will face a battery of exhausting tests and paperwork and when you are the most tired, they will try to push into some or other career field that is undermanned.

Do not make a decision based on what they tell you. They are not your friend and don't give the slightest s**t, they just have boxes to fill. Pick the job you want. They might tell you "well, no openings there.. might take a while". This is often a total lie. Call them on it. Walk out the door. Wait if you have to. It's way better to wait a few months than to have a job you hate and are stuck with for years.

Great advice my recruiter gave me (believe it or not!):

At MEPS, the correct answer to most questions is "no". Ever had a speeding ticket? No. If you say yes to these questions, you still get in.. it just often means more delays and paperwork.

At basic training:

Never volunteer for anything, ever.

Be as invisible as possible; you don't want your DI/TI to know your name or anything about you as long as possible.

Almost nothing that happens at basic training (apart from learning basic stuff) matters for your career. Nobody cares about honors, you will probably never see any of those people again.

It's a very short amount of time, really. Don't get invested, don't get upset at the idiots in your group.. remember it'll be over soon. Knuckle down and do what you have to get by.

u/bad_apiarist

Sound advice.

If you want a specific job, DO NOT sign the contract until your recruiter gets that job for you.

I wanted a cyber job in the Air Force and my recruiter told me to go in open electrical and hope I get cyber because it would be too long of a wait to be guaranteed that job. I ended up with a job I hated instead.

The military will take whatever it wants from you, so make sure you get all you possibly can from it.

u/pacopdpp

The real world.

Giphy

That the day to day work is a lot less Full Metal Jacket and a lot more Office Space.

u/Backlog_Overflow

Unsurprising.

That it isn't an exception to other government organizations.

Minimal budget with maximum paperwork hurdles.

Somehow planes and missiles and bombs get bought daily and often recklessly, but it you want a paperclip you'll have to cry your eyes out only to hear that the allotted budget for office supplies has run out... in May.

u/Prophet086

That should probably be expected.

Run, do push ups, and do sit ups, even if you're going into the Air Force.

u/TooMad

Have you ever found yourself in an argument so stupid and/or pointless that you were sure you were being punked? Like you keep looking away from the other person to check your surroundings for places Ashton Kutcher and a camera crew could come popping out of?

You're not the only one.

u/Anti-hollowkid asked: What is the dumbest argument you've ever been in?

Brace yourselves, folks. Some of these arguments are breathtakingly bonkers. The sheer number of people who are willing to argue with someone over provable facts and what that other person likes or doesn't like is just ... stunning. It's stunning, you guys. Just not in a good way.

I Know What I Like

Giphy

My wife and I once argued over whether or not I liked mustard on my hot dog. I was for me liking mustard, she was against me liking mustard.

The argument lasted way longer that you could ever imagine it would.

- AardvarkAndy

A Stair Step

My brother and I argued if our staircase had 13 or 14 steps, based on an argument about if the floor of the second floor counts as a stair-step or not. We still have no solution.

- RazerWolf04

My dad is a stairbuilder and I spent many summers working at his warehouse, so I can clear this up. 14.

- Apples9308

Saturdays

My husband and I have this thing where we only say "I love you" on Saturdays. Every other day it's "I love you, but only on Saturdays." I don't know how it started, but it's been going for 11 years now.

We're both shiftworkers, so sometimes we have to stop and think what day it actually is. We had an argument recently over whether it was Saturday or not. I said it was Saturday, he said it was Friday. It was Monday.

- FormalMango

Iraq

I remember when I was about 13 my parents had an hour-long shouting match that ended with them almost getting divorced. The issue? Whether or not the nation of Iraq has a coastline.

My mother arguing that Iraq had a coastline, while my stepdad argued that it did not. This was back in 2004, and they are still quite happily married to this day. That incident is something they look back on and laugh about, and both of them admit it was really a pretty stupid thing to argue over.

- dontcryformegiratina

$40

With an ex:

"I owe you $80 for the bills of ours that you pay, and you owe me $40 for the bills of ours that I paid. Here's $40 in cash; we're even."

She did not understand this.

I literally had to go get another $40 out of the ATM, and hand the $80 to her. Then I had her hand me the $40 she owed me.

"Now how much do you have in your hand?"

She still didn't understand.

She somehow has a college degree.

- Speedly

Mini Wheats

When we were kids my brother and I got in a physical fight because he said I like mini wheats and I insisted I didn't. His argument was that I always sang the mini wheats song and I was deeply offended that he wasn't aware that it was just stuck in my head but I hated the cereal. I actually did like the cereal I'm not sure why I was arguing with him about it but I remember how genuinely angry I was.

- shicole3

Crayons

Giphy

I'll tell you about the only legal trouble I've ever been in, the fight that got me arrested. It started over whether we should return a box of crayons or not, and to this day I don't have any idea how it escalated to the point of the cops being called, but they were and I was the one taken in.

- CorrectionalChard

That's Unfair

My boyfriend insisted that when two people are in an argument and one makes a point so reasonable and logical the other one can't disagree with it - it's unfair. I tried, logically and reasonably, to explain several times why that is just winning the argument, proving your point thoroughly and is completely fair.

His answer was that I was being unfair.

- ShyAcorn

Pure Masochism

How the ch in masochism is pronounced. My friend caught me saying "masoKism" while he would say "masoSYism."

To be fair, he grew up speaking French, in which the ch in masochism is pronounced in "his" way. But he insisted that I was the wrong one here and that was just infuriating.

- argofire

Emailing NASA

A woman was adamant that looking at the big solar eclipse on the television was unsafe unless you were wearing glasses. She wouldn't believe us and insisted on emailing NASA to check.

- derawin07

A Non-Standard Ruler? 

I worked for a company that made signs. We had a customer ask for signs that were 7mm wide that were to go on a door. Our sign makers figured the order meant inches because 7mm is pretty small, so made them 7 inches. I got a phone call from the customer who went mad at me for making them the wrong size. So I put a reorder through for 7 mm.

Argued with the sign makers over it but they eventually agreed to do it after I shown them the order in writing. I even had the customer put her complaint in writing, reiterating the size they wanted.

7mm signs went out and a day later I get the customer on the phone literally screaming at me.

Cue the dumb argument - we ended up having an argument over how big a millimetre is, and obviously everyone in the office were laughing, but this customer just wouldn't accept it and said we must be using a non-standard ruler to measure.

Ended up being escalating to the sales department manager who refused to issue a refund. We still don't know what they actually meant.

- Lovelocke

This Unusual Vegan Argument

Was in a pub with a few friends, and some random Dude dropped an ear, and somehow figured I'm vegan. Well, people like him are the reason I usually avoid mentioning it. He came up to me and insisted on starting a discussion about veganism. He claimed that by the end of it, I would be eating meat again.

He listed some stupid arguments, I told him I was not convinced and then tried to keep on drinking beer with my friends. He followed me, and wanted me to "try to convert him to a vegan." I stupidly listed some of my reasons thinking it would make him go away. He told me he still was not convinced, so I was like whatever. Again, I really just wanted to drink beer with my friends.

That dude followed me all night and expected me to try make him vegan. Doesn't matter what I said, and all the reasons that for me are obviously good enough to be vegan. He'd be just like "No, that doesn't convince me, therefore your argument and how you life is stupid."

Didn't matter how often I told him that I honestly don't care; 5 minutes later he would come up to me again "I'm still not vegan, so veganism is stupid, all your arguments were stupid, now give me a good reason to become vegan!" At one point, I was literally yelling at him that I don't give a single flying f about what he eats and why, that it's in no way my responsibility to "turn somebody vegan" and in no way his business what I eat.

Honestly, for that dude, I would have bought a whole ham, just to shove it up his stupid annoying face.

- onlytruebertos

Monty Python

In college my roommate and I argued about a line in Monty Python & the Holy Grail. The scene with the Black Knight where the line "Alright, we'll call it a draw" is uttered. We argued about who said that line, whether it was King Arthur or the Black Knight.

It went on for hours longer than it should have because I was stubborn and refused to admit I was wrong.

- Skrivus

Albert or Arnold

Giphy

Whether Albert Einstein or Arnold Schwarzenegger would be more useful to have around during a Zombie apocalypse. How on earth would Albert Einstein come in handy!?

- Gerrard1995

Below Sea Level

I live on an island and when you go upland and you look out the sea looks like it's higher than or on the same level as the land. It's just a weird perspective thing because of the horizon. One day some kid says that it's because the island is under sea level.


I'm like wtf bro all of us would be with the fishes. He argues that no that's not true and if I just go upland I'll see. We then spend a good 5 minutes of my time arguing about it until I decided to leave this kid in his stupidity. He even said we shouldn't believe everything adults tell us and sometimes we need to think for ourselves.

This kid was older than me and was going to a good school. Lost my respect for him ever since then.

- -justforclout-

Tomash

Someone tried to fight with me over how to spell my name.

Now, my name is in a lot of languages with slightly different spellings. I would have accepted any of those spellings, but this one was just... Not even close. It didn't make any logical sense.


An analogous example is if my name was Thomas and someone was insisting it was spelled Tomash. And not just the name Thomas in general, but that me specifically, on my birth certificate, was named Tomash. I know how to spell my own name.

I swear to god, it went on for like an hour.

- TK-DuVeraun

Whales Are Mammals

I was in an online chat room one day, and we were talking about whales. I commented on how whales are mammals and the next thing you know, someone was arguing with me and trying to convince me that a whale was a fish.

- kawaii_psycho451

Microwaves

Stupid microwaves. Having a man child talk down to me about how microwaves work only for him to google it and prove me right. He slept on the sofa that night.

- sun_phobic

Shower Schedule

My friend keeps telling me that the norm is that a person should shower once a week. This has been going on for years. I'm almost convinced he's trolling me.

- LibrarianGovernment

No Balloons For Grandma

My cousin and I argued over a balloon going to Heaven. We were at his big sisters prom send off and he let a balloon go and it went high into the sky.

He then said this balloon will go up past space and go to Heaven and reach grandma (God rest her soul). And I was like no it's not and it's probably not even gonna reach space. Releasing balloons is terrible for the environment and kills/harms so much wildlife.

He got really mad and defensive and started telling me to google it and do my research and I'm like I don't have to google it you idiot. He was mad at me for a good week.

- Dskee02

Spontaneous Dolphin Existence

Giphy

How dolphins reproduced. It took me a few solid minutes of explaining to her that dolphins have reproductive organs and that they did not just pop into existence. The argument began with her saying she wanted to work with sea creatures.

Personally, I hope she was messing with me cause I lost a little faith in humanity that day.

- thebeststory

Male Chickens

I repeatedly had the argument with a friend over whether roosters were chickens. She was convinced that only the females were chickens (hens). We were 18 at the time.

- bee_zah

Lightning McQueen

Me and my friend were drinking underage, we ended up in an argument of whether lightning McQueen's eyes were blue or green. Somehow throughout the whole thing both of us never thought to straight up google a picture.

- 23071115

But ... Ice Floats

Waiter/Host here.

Woman wanted ice on the bottom of her drink.

Now read that sentence again and try to imagine arguing with that particular brand of stupid.

- FarWoods

Time Zones Exist

Coworker claimed that it was the same time of day and the same season on the whole globe. Had to get 4 coworkers to confirm to him that time zones do in fact exist.

- JustARegularToaster

Colorblind

My brother is colorblind. And he CONSTANTLY tries to correct me on what color things are.

"Hey could you hand me that red _____?"

"that's orange"

"no, it's red"

"orange"

"YOU CANT EVEN KNOW"

It is the base of our most common and heated arguments.

- droneb2hive

Andre 2000?

Giphy

I'm late, but I saw this question and instantly remembered that I was booted from a Facebook group because I called someone out on a lie that was not only bull, but extremely pointless. She was friends with the moderator and they made the case that my argument over such a little lie was more of a problem than the lie itself (though they didn't refer to it as a lie.)


The woman said that she used to babysit for Andre 3000 and that his name was Andre 2000 - but he changed it after the year 2000 had passed. This was so easily disproven it was ridiculous. Their debut album came out in 1994 and he was already going by Andre 3000 at that time.

The argument wasn't a huge long drawn out thing, but the fact that either of us were on Facebook at separate times meant that the responses were over a long period of time so this argument lasted a few days.

It was stupid.

- P1ST0L_Wh1PP3D

Stars Like Our Sun

I was arguing with my grandpa about stars he didn't believe that there are other stars like our sun. Basically he thought there is only the sun, the moon and the earth.

fox_boi2

Richard Nixon

I have a degree in history. I mostly focused on nationalism. Wrote a 50 page paper on it and Richard Nixon with around 50 100 sources. Looked at micro film for hours on end. Part of the paper focused on how Nixon being chair of the house committee of Unamerican Activities was used as a powerful weapon to use against political enemies. It also inspired Joe McCarthy. Have had people tell me I was wrong and Nixon was never elected to a position besides the president and Joe McCarthy came before Nixon. I stopped trying to talk history to people.


I also know quite a bit about the history of the Balkans its amazing how many Serbs refuse to believe Tito did anything wrong.

Wrote 100 page paper on nationalism in Israel. Its frustrating to talk about because for some reason a lot of people think Palestinian firing rockets randomly into Israel is ok but if Israel retaliates the people get up in arms over a targeted air strike that kills 3 people.

grumblecakes1

Balloon to Heaven

My cousin and I argued over a balloon going to Heaven. We were at his big sisters prom send off and he let a balloon go and it went high into the sky. He then said this balloon will go up past space and go to Heaven and reach grandma (God rest her soul). And I was like no it's not and it's probably not even gonna reach space.

And he got really mad and defensive and started telling me to google it and do my research and I'm like I don't have to google it you idiot. He was mad at me for a good week.

Dskee02

Binder Clips

I got into an argument with a co-worker over how we were attaching two pages of a letter together: small binder clips or paper clips.

He felt that paper clips would leave a "dent" in the paper when removed, but binder clips won't. He refused to staple them together. I felt that binder clips would also leave a "dent", so we might as well just use the paper clips.

It ended with him saying: "Do what you want [me], I don't care!" and storming off.

justantherredditgirl

Jewish

Once got accused of faking being Jewish. Why? I have no clue. We argued over the course of a month, any time I'd bring it up and she heard about it, she'd begin going after me for "faking it".

My mother's side is ethnically Jewish. Grandparents were practicing.

Aslkurloz

Nutella

Giphy

3 friends and I once got into an argument about how to pronounce Nutella. It lasted for about 3-4 months. It was hilarious how serious we took it, it'd get heated but never for real serious.

I think someone even called the company that made it to check, or that may have been for the Cheetos company. We were really bored in high school.

vault_tec_redditor

Lingerie Boxes

Late to the party, but there it is.

I'm a manager at a small store. We're only 4 working there, so my team and I grew very close and we joke around a lot. Once during a slow shift, my employee and I had an argument because we were looking at the lingerie boxes, and I thought that two specific boxes had the same woman on it, but she was 100% positive they weren't the same person.

Looking back, I don't know why it was such a big deal to us at the time, but we even called another employee who lives across the street to come and tell us what the heck was up with that. Turns out I was right, and she was pretty salty about it. It was a great night.

Meh75

Wicked Witch of the West

I almost got into an argument with an old girlfriend over Glinda the good witch from Oz. She insisted that Glinda was manipulating Dorothy to assassinate the Wicked Witch of the West and convince the Wizard to leave to create a political void she could fill.

I conceded the issue when I heard the whole premise because I thought it was too damn stupid to get worked up over.

weirdatwork2017

Keep Your Hands to Yourself

Just the other day I legit got in an argument with my co-workers on why I don't like my butt being grabbed by anyone (I'm a guy). Seriously.

They went on about "I don't mind it. Mike and I do it all the time and we don't care." Yeah, that's nice dude, but I'm not you, and there's something called "Keep your hands to yourself" (which was taught to a good portion of us growing up). Just like how Karen wouldn't like it if I touched her boobs or her grabbing your crotch or frankly ANY area you wouldn't like being grabbed, keep away. In general, you should not be touching me in any areas after I've told you not to several times before.

So unless you're sleeping me or dating me, keep your damn hands off my toosh.

Frisby2007

Telekinesis

My best friend and I argued over whether or not telekinesis was possible. Her argument was that humans don't yet know what the human brain at 100% usage was capable of, and that telekinesis was inside the possibilities.

I said the brain does use 100%, just at different times.

We didn't speak to each other for four days.

dude_bizarro

Ghosts

How dolphins reproduced and whether or not ghost existed (back to back with the same person). It took me a few solid minutes of explaining to her that dolphins have reproductive organs and that they did not just pop into existence (the argument began with her saying she wanted to work with sea creatures).


How it shifted to the existence of ghosts is a solid and reasonable question to ask (I don't remember why). I had to then proceed to tell her that ghost hunting TV shows do not constitute as undeniable evidence.

Personally, I hope she was messing with me cause I lost a little faith in humanity that day. This was in high school SO... hopefully she was kidding.

thebeststory

Dogs and Chocolate

Giphy

I told this stupid woman that chocolate is toxic to dogs. She went on to tell me how a little bit will just make them hyper and then they will calm down. I told her to google it. Her and her bf shut right up. Now they have a kid. Good luck, Jeremy and Andrea. morons.

I should also add that this argument started because Jeremy was giving his tiny dog chocolate and I told him it was toxic.

KlutzyHedgehog

Is water wet?

My roommate and I have a recurring argument over whether or not water is wet l, and whether or not a person is considered wet underwater.

For the record, it is no to both questions.

SFCopperhead

Mission Trip

A kid a church telling me about the mission trip I went on. Not only was I not on that trip, but I had never been on any mission trip. We were good friends, so it's not like he would've mistaken someone else for me.

He insisted I was there as if an entire week long trip would just fall out of my memory. He even had stories of things we'd done together. I'm not sure if he thought I was lying, joking, stupid, or crazy, but I was pretty sure he was some combination thereof.

SirRogers

Dragon Tales

One time I got into a shouting match with my mom and little brother in the car. The issue? The names of the two-headed dragon from the PBS kids afternoon show Dragon Tales. I swore it was Zack and Macie.

It was actually Zak and Wheezie. I don't even remember why we were yelling about it.

MistalQueensglaive

Green Or Yellow?

When I was about 15 or so my mother and I spent about 20-30 minutes arguing about the color of a shirt. We agreed it was blue/green, but to me it was just a shade more blue, while to her it was just a bit more green.

Turns out, your eyeballs yellow as you age and hers were 24 years yellower than mine, so I think that skewed her color vision.

BugsRatty

Stars In Their Multitude

Giphy

I once got in an argument over whether or not a line from the song "Stars" in Les Mis says "...but mine is the way of the lord" or "mine is the way of the law".

I didn't even really care what he thought but he was so adamant and cocky that it got me heated. By the end of it we were shouting at each other and I had to apologize, which I think is what he wanted the whole time.

theedjman

Colorblind

My brother is colorblind. And he CONSTANTLY tries to correct me on what color things are.

"Hey could you hand me that red _____?" "that's orange" "no, it's red" "orange" "YOU CANT EVEN KNOW".

It is the base of our most common and heated arguments.

droneb2hive

Hot Water

About five years ago, my girlfriend (now wife) once had a very intense argument about whether or not hot water cleaned things better than cold water.

She genuinely believed that water temperature didn't matter. This is someone who has not one, but two masters degrees.

We argued for something like 2 hours, and we seriously almost broke up over the whole thing.

moniker5000

Biology Class

I had an argument with a girl IN THE MIDDLE OF A BIOLOGY CLASS in high school about how humans are not mammals. She thought a human was a human and we are not mammals because "mammals are animals and humans are not animals"

I tried explaining to her the difference between reptiles and mammals and how humans fall under the mammal category to try and educate her... but she just wouldn't listen.

I still have no idea why the BIOLOGY teacher did not get involved...

10d4plus8

Solid Or Liquid?

Some classmates and I got into a heated debate as to whether or not the human body could count as a soup, salad, or sandwich. The teacher got mad at us, but hey! All we were doing was watching a movie.

For the record, my logic lays with soup- Liquid contained within a solid, at a hot temperature.

ScreamingPotoo