In October 2013, I wrote a post about why I resigned my commission with 15 years of service. In that post, I discuss my reasons for resigning, which included:
- I knew I would be a staff officer for a very long time
- I knew I wouldn’t lead troops again
- I don’t believe in the wars we are fighting
- I don’t believe in the Jerry’s Kids Mentality in the Army
- I got tired of the politics
- I was born to be an entrepreneur
- I have a huge vision for my life
If you haven’t read that post yet, please take a moment and do so. It will make what you read below much easier to understand.
It’s been almost three years since I resigned my commission in the ARNG and two years since I resigned from the IRR.
People ask me all time if I regret that decision, so I figured it would be a great idea for a blog post. I’ll do my best to answer objectively and honestly.
First and foremost, I am glad that I got out when I did. I was really frustrated and angry with the way the Army was headed. I was also burnt out and very frustrated and tired.
Sure, there are days when I miss it. But, those days are few and far between. The only time I really miss it is when I watch a cool Army movie or talk to an old buddy.
On the other hand, I don’t miss having a boss, driving an hour to drill or working endless unpaid hours outside of drill weekend. I don’t miss the meetings, the politics or drama. And I don’t miss having to run an adult day care center (for certain Soldiers).
Yes, most of my Soldiers were good, but there were a few that really got my blood boiling. I’m sure you can relate.
Yes, I do miss leading Soldiers. And yes, there are times when I miss wearing the uniform and doing some of the cool “tactical” things that we did.
But the freedom and lifestyle I live now are much better than they were back then. And I am much happier.
Do I regret giving up my pension?
This really is a million dollar question. I think my wife regrets it. There are rare times when I think about what it would be like to have a pension at 60. I would have received about $2400 per month in today’s dollars, when I turn 60 in the year 2037.
Would that extra money have helped me in my retirement years? Yes. To say otherwise would be a lie.
Will I have to eat ALPO dog food in my retirement because I won’t have a military pension? Maybe. But, I doubt it.
I always envisioned my Part-Time-Commander.com being a million dollar business (right from when I launched it in 2009), and if it ever does get there, then financially speaking my decision to get out was very smart.
Part of being an entrepreneur is taking calculated risks and I don’t mind doing that.
I know most people CLING to their security, but I’ve never been security minded. I’m more OPPORTUNITY minded.
Will I go back in? About six months ago I almost went back in. I went to MEPS in Tampa and was medically cleared to go back in. I was going through some tough times financially and thought it might be my only option.
But for some reason, I couldn’t get myself to sign on the dotted line. I just remembered all the reasons that influenced me to get out in the first place, and I thought I would be a complete hypocrite to go back in, just because I needed some extra cash.
Am I embarrassed to admit this to you? Yes. But, I think it’s important for you to know.
At this point, I am 100% certain that I will not go back in. I know I could still be a valuable asset to the Army, but there would be a HUGE conflict of interest if I had this site and went back in. From the regulations I’ve read, and after speaking with some JAG professionals, I would have to either shut down or sell my website if I went back in.
Having Part-Time-Commander.com as my business AND serving in uniform would be prohibited because I would supposedly be using my rank for private gain. I don’t see it that way, but the Army does.
And I am not willing to give up my website, even if it means I can’t go back in.
What I’ve Learned
As I’ve matured during the past few years, I’ve learned some valuable lessons.
First and foremost, we are exactly where we are in life because of the decisions we’ve made in the past. In life, we always have options, even when we don’t think we do.
I’ve also learned that we can dwell on our past decisions or we can embrace those decisions and learn from them. I meet a lot of people who tell me they got out and regret it. Personally, I choose not to live that way.
Furthermore, I’ve learned that we are creatures of habit and we like to “stick to” what we know (our comfort zone), rather than embracing the unknown (even if the unknown is better).
I’ve also learned that we never really know what the future will bring. Life is VERY short and very precious. We don’t know if we will live 100 years or die tomorrow. Personally, I’d rather chase my dreams and come up short than play it safe and cross the finish line, but wonder what could have been.
Advice for You
So, if you are at the point in your career where you are considering resigning your commission, I would like to offer you some advice.
First and foremost, evaluate your options. Write down a list of things you want to accomplish in life and come up with a game plan on what it would take to accomplish those things. Write down your dreams, goals, strengths and weaknesses. Talk to other successful people you trust and admire and ask them questions.
Next, trust your instincts and gut! Your gut is seldom wrong. Deep down inside, you probably know what you want to do. If spending 40 years in the Army is your dream, please do it. If doing something else is your dream, please do it! If you have no idea about what you want to do, then stay in the Army and get your pension.
Finally, always keep the door open. If you decide to get out, consider transitioning to the IRR for a year or two until you are 100% sure what you want to do. That way, if you change your mind, you can easily transfer back to the USAR or ARNG and still pursue your pension.
And once you make a decision (whether to stay in or get out) LIVE with the decision. Don’t spend every day dwelling on your decision. If you get out, and dwell on your decision every single day, then trust your gut and go back in! Once again, your gut is always right.
In summary, I would like to thank you for reading my post about my decision to resign my commission and talking about whether I regretted my decision to get out of the Army, or not. I hope you can learn some valuable lessons from this post that you can use in your own decision making process.
Thanks for your service. Please leave a comment below to tell me what you think.