Military professionals possess important duties, and the qualities they bring forth as individuals determine their successes or failures. Spanning the gamut of various military careers, these leaders often receive a good degree of training and instruction to aid in their success. However, many qualities necessary for a thriving career are innate. Some of the most important qualities that must be possessed by a military professional include self-discipline, physical fitness, commitment, leadership, and ambition.
Self-discipline, if not naturally possessed, is quite a challenge to develop. However, it is one of the most important skills for an officer or other leader. George Washington once said, "Nothing is more harmful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army superiority over another." Not only does an army or militia need discipline, but its members must be able to make themselves answer to a more pressing obligation or goal. Self-discipline involves extreme willpower, sacrifice, and dedication to a goal or objective valued more than free will. It is through self-discipline that a soldier is able to commit to strenuous, regimented schedules and life strategies to better himself and his country.
A soldier who hopes to become a military professional must be physically fit. Not only must his brain be toned and disciplined, but his body must be, as well. It is not enough to have a healthy Body Mass Index or to have a six-pack stomach with sculpted abdominal muscles. Physical fitness ensures the ability to run long distances, beat an opponent in short distances, succeed in activities which make the heart race, and perform general fitness routines at or above standardized levels. Fitness tests are administered regularly to soldiers, and sit-ups, push-ups, and long-distance runs form part of the testing.
When you first sign up for the military, you make a very serious commitment for the next several years, especially depending on whether or not you participate in any specialized training. However, it's not just the commitment of time for the next few years that's integral to one's success as a military professional. True success requires a commitment of mind, body, and soul. Many successful military leaders make the military the most important commitment in their lives. Anytime a person makes a true commitment, sacrifices must follow. Additionally, one's family and friends must partake in these sacrifices, too.
Leadership ability is one of the characteristics that separate a good military professional from a great one. While leadership skills may be enhanced through teaching, it is widely believed that basic leadership traits are innate. People are often found to naturally possess the charisma and the confidence that inspires others to join them in completing their ideas and objectives. "A leader is a dealer in hope," said Napoleon Bonaparte. Such is true, as effective leaders have an uncanny ability to attract followers and fans wherever they go. True leaders exercise patience, good decision-making abilities, and integrity that encourage others' faith in them. One cannot be a successful military professional without possessing the abilities of a leader.
To become a successful professional in any military career, one must also possess ambition. Without ambition, a person lacks the motivation to strive to not only be better, but to be the very best. Ambition is often accompanied by the ability to envision a long-term goal. Those who can see past the initial objective to something bigger and better will go on to careers that promise to not only challenge them, but to inspire them. However, without that ambition, a soldier becomes complacent and oblivious to opportunities around him.
If one wants an outstanding military career, he must be prepared to exhibit qualities that will make him an accomplished military professional. Ambition to be the best, physical fitness, full commitment, leadership capabilities, and self-discipline will help one achieve this goal.
Advantages of Military Careers
When looking to the future, it's sometimes very difficult to settle on a career path. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that an individual may change jobs up to ten times between the ages of 18 and 38. This number includes changing employers or completely switching career fields. If you're looking for a bit more stability than the career choices you find in the civilian world, you may find the advantages you're looking for with the wide selection of military careers.
One of the most attractive advantages of a military career is the possibility of acquiring funding for your schooling. It's common knowledge that college, university, and technical school costs are increasing. While many graduates leave school with degrees and experience that hold great promise for them, they also face significant debt due to student loans. By entering the military and establishing your career through your chosen branch of service, you will save yourself this trouble and worry upon graduation.
Anyone currently serving in the military will tell you that military careers offer exciting, rewarding work experiences. In a civilian job, you rarely get the opportunity to travel and reach out to other cultures like military careers allow you to do. In the military, you often get to see first-hand the positive influence and impact you have on a community or its residents. Additionally, military careers allow you to work with the most up-to-date technology and equipment preferred within your career choice, an opportunity which many civilian careers do not encounter.
Military careers do not just give you a job. They offer you the opportunity to develop important life skills and to gain experience as a leader. Typically not just a 9-to-5 job, a military career gives you the chance to test yourself and learn more about the world around you. As a result, you gain knowledge by living the experiences, not by sitting and watching them. You will gain abilities you didn't even know you had, such as better communication skills, decision-making skills, and enhanced analysis.
Within military careers, you are guaranteed job security. As long as you are committed to your branch of service, you have a job. That varies greatly from the civilian workforce. In the recent economic downturn, job security is one of the most coveted aspects of employment. With corporate lay-offs rampant across the United States, a military career looks more and more desirable when you know that your job is secure.
With its many advantages, a military career makes increasing sense to someone looking to position himself for success in the future. Not only can military careers offer exciting work, but they can also provide economic security.
Disadvantages of Military Careers
While it may be hard to outweigh the advantages experienced from military careers, there are some disadvantages to listing Uncle Sam as your employer. The military requires an unwavering commitment from its members and, as a result, from their families. Military careers often require individuals to serve in locations that are a long distance from home and in dangerous environments. Someone who has a military career may not be able to take engage opportunities available in the private sector due to long-term commitments made to serve in the military. Before signing on the dotted line, you should consider the disadvantages to a military career.
When serving in the military, you and your family must be prepared to make sacrifices. Sometimes these sacrifices are small and minor disruptions to everyday life. However, sometimes these involve picking up one's family and moving to a far-away location, as well as irregular and long hours. High expectations are placed on the officer and his or her family, including their children. These aspects can become very demanding and cause a lot of stress.
The strong possibility exists that anyone with military career will serve away from home for a long period of time. Deployments of up to two or three years are very common. If you have a family or are interested in starting one, this may cause you to miss a lot of important moments like children's milestone moments, birthdays, school programs, and other important details of everyday life. Your relationship with your spouse may suffer, as well, due to being separated by miles. It's tough to work away from your family.
When you're employed by the military, you have certain time obligations and commitments you must fulfill. These contracts are nearly impossible to negotiate or opt out of. Because of specialized training or other negotiations you made as you entered the military, you are obligated to serve your full term regardless if you're homesick or have been offered the opportunity of a lifetime with a job in the private sector. You must honor your commitment to the military.
It is also very likely your military career will subject you to violence or a violent environment. The U.S. military sends its soldiers to war and other missions that are likely to erupt in dangerous situations. Not only does this threaten your life, but it also puts extra stress on you and your family. It's relatively difficult to go about day-to-day activities when you're wondering if you or your loved one is going to make it home safely.
While the military offers numerous benefits with its choice of careers, there are also deterrents to joining any branch of the service. The disadvantages may not be worth it to you.
Last Updated: 02/27/2013