Civilian vs Military Life

I saw on Facebook that an old friend is retiring from the military in around 100 days.  That got me to thinking about the time I left the military in 2000.   I sent around a list of things I noticed were different in civilian life at the time.  It was well received but is long forgotten.

But, in honour of my friend Steve I thought I’d list off the differences in order to help prepare him…

In the military they’re called parade squares…if you’re on one you’d better be marching.
In the civilian world they are called parking lots,  you park your cars on them…and no one cares how you walk across them.

In the military pockets are mostly just for show.
In the civilian world,  you can put your hands in your pockets…even if they aren’t cold.

In the civilian world a shirt collar is not a measuring device to see if your hair is too long.

In the civvie world if your boss tells you to do something inherently dangerous,  you can say no.
In the military doing things that would make people shoot at you is in your job description.

In the military there is a dress manual that tells you exactly what to wear and how to wear it.
In the civilian world there is sometimes things called a “dress code” that gives you a general idea of what to wear to work.

In the military you get paid what some bureaucrat thinks you should get paid.   The bureaucrat’s decision is weighed heavily on the fact that in many cases your skillset is not transferrable and its not like you can quit and go join some other military.   This generally means that you are underpaid in comparison to your skillset and willingness to sacrifice and serve.
In the civilian world your pay is based on how much the competition would pay you,   factored in with how much your employer wants to keep you.

In the military you have a fair amount of job security.
In the civilian world you could wake up employed and feeling secure in your job,   and go to bed that same night unemployed.

In the civilian world if the tailor or dry cleaner messes up your work clothes its their fault
In the military,  its yours.

In the civilian world you can tell your boss to f*** off and you’ll only get fired.
In the military,  you’ll end up wishing they’d just fired you.

In the civilian world,  when the feces hits the fan,  you pick up the phone and call for help
When you’re in the military, you answer the call.

Thanks for your service Steve,  and everyone else who continues to wear the uniform.


One thought on “Civilian vs Military Life

  1. Thanks David! This is fantastic – I am thrilled that I have been able to work with Steve, however briefly. So happy for him retiring, but so sad for us 😦

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