5 Reasons NOT to Go AGR

Recently, Part-Time Commander posted an article about why you should go AGR (or at least give a list of PROs in support of it).  As you can remember, SSG Smith gave some great insight as our AGR Training NCO.  However, I must be fair and present the opposite perspective.  In this article I will present 5 Reasons Not to Go AGR.  Enjoy!

#5. Extremely Overworked.  Many of the AGR staffers I talk to express their frustration with being pulled 1000 different ways by 100 different people.  For example, our Readiness NCO answers to our Company Commander, Battalion Staff Officers and ultimately our Battalion Commander.  While that is expected, it is also a bit much for some men.  Now, our Readiness NCO is one exceptional Soldier…but I do not see many NCOs ever being able to fill his boots.

#4. Limited Career Progression. AGR locks you into a certain position.  Once you are AGR, it is often difficult to progress career wise within your unit and within the AGR structure.  Personally, I know an E-5 training NCO for a detachment who is at the top of the E-6 list and should be promoted.  He would make one excellent VC (Vehicle Commander) within his line unit, but because of his AGR position, he is unable to do so.  To some, that is important.  To others, not so much.  I suppose that’s up for you to decide.

#3. Limited Mobility. Coupled with the limitations for career progression is the limitation on physical mobility.  For example, an AGR position that is secured in one state may not be available in another state.  Suppose the difference between you advancing career wise meant leaving your state.  If you make that move, there’s no guarantee that you would be granted an AGR job in that state…which could be extremely problematic if you do not have a civilian job.  Also, what if your spouse moves for their job?  Same restrictions…

#2. Compensation.  Now, this one may or may not jive with you. For me, I would never go AGR because my civilian job pays too much.  Granted, a 1LT with 8 years does pretty well (especially with BAH, etc.) but it just does not add up to the money I make as an engineer.  However, this may be different for most people.  Another perspective is the money vs. the hours.  For example, I know our AGR staff often stays extremely late and come in very early.  When you break down your pay per hour, it may not seem so attractive.  Some people are paid by the hour, including overtime, and would never sacrifice that.

#1. Keep Drill Separate from Civilian Life.  Now, even though I do a boatload of work outside of drill, the last thing I want to do after a drill weekend is walk right back into the Armory on Monday.  I enjoy my M-Day job, going to schools from time to time, being on TDY, but for me I would just rather keep it at this (at least at this point in my life…that could always change).  I think a lot of Soldiers feel that way.  They enjoy their civilian lives and jobs and would just rather not deal with it on a full-time basis…

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts about not going AGR?  Leave a comment and let us know.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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8 thoughts on “5 Reasons NOT to Go AGR”

  1. (OT for Officers) Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin as it relates to career progression: In our state we publish the EPS lists. A quick survey for the E8 to E9 list shows: Top 100 = 63 AGRs or Technicians; 37 MDAY even though MDAY makes up 53% of the total list. At the SR Enlisted level, you’ll take a hit being MDAY and career progression can stall. I agree that being MDAY is a better COA, but, MDAY can make you anonymous within the ARNG/ANG, hence, it’s not what you know … (finish the rest).

    1. Mike,

      Those are some really neat stats that validate your perspective. I guess each state is different. The bottom line is that it is an individual decision. Sometimes going AGR can really launch your career and in other cases it can really slow down career progression.

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.


  2. I often hear debates on this very topic, and the roadblock to career advancement and promotion is the number one reason given every time for not going AGR. I know of a few soldiers who chose it because it was a better option than their civilian jobs, and they wanted the job security, but they are definitely in the minority. AGR’s seem to get the less desirable duties, and, like you said, Justin, they are overworked. The stress doesn’t seem to be worth it, in my opinion, but if you really need the full time work and security, I suppose it’s a good option. Might be better than working at the gas station.

    1. I guess it’s like any job with good and bad things. I know the 20 year retirement is good, but AGRs put in some serious hours and don’t make much money per hour when you break it down.

  3. Great article, Justin.

    Personally, I think serving on AGR puts you in a huge disadvantage over your M-Day counterparts. Yes, you might have a steady paycheck, but when it comes to promotions the process is much slower, especially for controlled grade positions. I’ve seen AGR Soldiers who were # 1 on STAP and still couldn’t get promoted. Plus, there are far fewer “full-time slots” so sometimes the AGR Staff have to wait until someone dies, gets promoted or retires before they can move up to the next rank.

    Plus, the number of hours AGR Soldiers work, even ones with a four day workweek are borderline crazy. Most AGRs are always on call and work 60 to 70 or more hours per week, if not more.

    Just my thoughts.


    1. That is my primary reason for not going AGR (the hours). Granted Officers make a decent pay check but it does not even touch what I make as an engineer. Also, I get paid hourly so the Guard could never match that. I have, however, considered taking an ADOS job to get some full-time exposure, expand my network and see how things operate at different levels (i.e. working at Division Level on ADOS…) Who knows, I am still young and working on mastering my professions…

  4. Candace Ginestar

    I completely, 100% agree with this! I possibly would be willing to be an AGR as an officer, but even then, I am not sure. I loved being a federal technician, especially because my particular position was non dual-status, so I could do whatever I wanted in my military career and keep my job.
    Enlisted AGRs have my respect, I would never be willing to do any of what they put up with and for how much they are paid. Their jobs aren’t difficult, but their time is always taken up with something.

    The only thing really holding me back from being an AGR, is if I wanted to do more than 20 years of active service. A lot of people I know are held back from getting promoted to the rank they always wanted to achieve, because they will hit 20 years before they are able. A lot of them would have met their goals had they stayed in the regular Army, too.

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