In my opinion, the quickest way to ruin your military career in the Army National Guard, Army Reserves, Active Duty, or any other service component is to do something that makes your organization or the military look bad. I’ve seen it happen many times in my military career and it is never a good thing for the Soldier involved, or the military.
What are some of the stupid things you can do that might ruin your military career?
- Domestic abuse
- Drinking and driving
- Wearing awards you aren’t authorized
- Wearing a uniform in a protest
- Speaking badly about the military on or off record
- Venting your views about the military on television, online or on the radio
- Talking politics while in uniform
- Publishing stuff on Facebook, YouTube or any social media site that brings discredit to the service
- Murder, rape, or any other type of crime
- Getting arrested for any reason
- Doing anything shameful in combat that brings shame to the military or your unit
These are just some examples.
If you ever become “disgruntled” with the organization you serve in, or the military in general, keep it to yourself. Be careful who you share your thoughts with. It almost always backfires. And you never REALLY know who you are talking to. The person you are talking with might be best buddies with the person you are talking about.
Don’t go on record to vent. EVER. Realize that there is no such thing as “off record” when you talk to the media. Don’t do, say or write ANYTHING that makes the military look bad.
If you are really disgruntled with the military, you should just resign or get out. If you hate your unit or your chain of command, get a transfer to another unit. And even if neither of these two options are available, you still need to be a professional.
As a Soldier, you must realize that you represent the government. Everything you do or say while in uniform is a direct reflection of you, your unit, military, the government and the United States of America. And trust me, people are watching you. Now that everyone has Smart Phones, access to video cameras, and social media accounts, anything you do or say can be recorded and published for the whole world to see, in a matter of seconds.
I’m not writing any of this to scare you. You don’t need to be scared. You just need to use some common sense. Whenever you put on your uniform, be a PROFESSIONAL. Take pride in what you do and lead by example. Bring CREDIT and HONOR to the uniform at all the times. If you are ever in a situation that could potentially backfire, stand the high ground and always do the right thing.
Even when you are off duty, remember that you are still a Soldier at all times. It takes years to build a successful military career and just seconds to ruin it.
What are your thoughts? What do you think is the fastest way to ruin your military career? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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