Take the Tough Army Jobs No One Else Wants

One of the best career tips I ever learned was to take the tough Army jobs that no one else wants. Seek out Army jobs that are challenging, time consuming and difficult.

When you study most people in the Army, you will see they do the complete opposite.  They play it safe.  They stick to what they know and are comfortable with.  They don’t put themselves out there, because they don’t want to fail!

On the other hand, when you study the top brass and top enlisted Soldiers, you will see that they had the tough jobs MOST of their career.

And what are the tough jobs?

If I had to boil it down to one sentence, it would be LEADERSHIP JOBS IN DEPLOYABLE UNITS.

Look for leadership jobs in deployable, MTOE units.

For officers, this would be Platoon Leader, Company XO, Company Commander, Battalion S3, Battalion XO, Battalion Commander, etc.

For enlisted, this would be Team Leader, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant and Command Sergeant Major.

On a side note, I’m not saying that other jobs aren’t important.  Every job is important, but not all jobs are tough or career enhancing.

And I do know that when your packet goes before a job interview, a promotion board or a command board, not all jobs are created equal!

Speaking from personal experience, the people sitting on these boards are going to look at what type of units you were in and what types of jobs you had during your career!  And if you’ve played it safe your whole career, you will not get selected over someone who has had tough jobs their entire career.

Once again, I’m not saying this is right, but it is a reality!

Good luck getting a job as a Platoon Sergeant if you’ve never been a Team Leader or Squad Leader.

Good luck being a Battalion Commander of a MTOE unit if you’ve never been a PL, CO, BN XO or BN S3 in a MTOE unit!

Does that make sense?

I want to tell you a short story to put all of this in perspective.

When I was a young Lieutenant, I served in the 64th Forward Support Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado.  I was in a Maintenance Company.

While I was there, we had the Maintenance Control Sergeant Job open up.  This was one of the toughest jobs in the battalion.  It required long hours, high stress, lots of meetings and tons of interaction with senior leaders.

It was a job for an E-7 and I remember that MOST of the E-7’s in the battalion didn’t want the job, because of what I just mentioned.

But someone stepped up to the plate!

The guy did a great job and got promoted to E-8 shortly after finishing his time in the position.

Hopefully, you can learn something from this lesson.

Don’t be a slacker.  Don’t play it safe.  Don’t hide in TDA units, the school house, or non-deployable units!

Spend as much time as you can in the line!  Lead Soldiers.  That’s what being a Soldier is really about.

Determine which jobs will give you the best opportunity for career advancement and seek out those jobs.

Take the tough Army jobs no one else wants and do well in those jobs.  Showcase your talents and you will be amazed at what opportunities will be presented to you.

What do you think?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

*** This is part of a mini-series.  Read the original post.

6 thoughts on “Take the Tough Army Jobs No One Else Wants”

  1. I agree with Greg, that this advice is applicable to all aspects of life, and certainly in the business arena. The only way to earn the respect of others is to work hard, and what could be harder than doing the jobs that no one else seems to want. We all want a tested leader, one who succeeded in spite of adversity.

  2. You are so right about not all jobs being equal! And I agree wholeheartedly that in order to get any better or succeed you have to push yourself! People take notice when someone steps up to the plate. They’ll either hold you in high regard or think you are one step from Section 8. In either case you are a force to be reckoned with because you take those challenges, embrace responsibility and willing to be waist deep in the suck. Like firemen, police and soldiers – they hold the line or advance where mere mortals run away.

  3. So is all of life. This is not only true in the military, but in all facets of life. There are those people who play it safe all through life and never have worthwhile experiences.

    Personally, I have always believed in stepping out and taking chances. Taking the tough jobs that others don’t want makes you stand out and will gain you a lot of respect.

    This was an excellent post. I think it should be mandatory reading for all humans.

  4. Candace Ginestar

    Chuck, this seems like a no brainer to me. The tough jobs sound bad, and like they will suck, but you’ll usually meet more people, get more knowledge, and come out a better leader on the other side. Unfortunately people look for the easy way out.

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