Why do you want to become an Officer?

Discussion in 'Navy OCS' started by itjoew, Apr 10, 2005.


Is being an officer better than being enlisted?

  1. Yes, more money.

    6 vote(s)
  2. No, both have there benifits.

    10 vote(s)
  3. Yes, you have more say in decisions

    19 vote(s)
  4. No, more duties.

    0 vote(s)
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  1. itjoew

    itjoew New Member

    Apr 4, 2005
    I am an E-4 in the US Navy and I get asked the question all the time by other sailors "Why do you want to become an officer?" Some think it is for the money or I do not like enlisted life. For me I see it as a chance to do more and have more influence on Navy polices. Face as an E-4 I do not have much say, I just follow order. But as an officer I can make sure that my junior sailors are getting the fair treatment they deserve. I am not saying I'll change the way the Navy does things; but from being a junior enlisted myself I know some changes are needed. Just wondering why some of you decided to make the change from enlisted life to officer or to join the Navy as an officer?
  2. webmaster

    webmaster The Grass is Greener! Site Admin Contributor None

    May 4, 2000
    A good question, and while asked by your peers, you will also get asked that question during any of your interviews while putting in a commissioning package. You offer a fairly narrow selection on poll answers, and for me, none of why I was interested in becoming an officer are listed. I have known plenty of fellow mustangs that wanted the extra dollars, and I can say it doesn't hurt. But honestly, for my degree, I would be making 2 to 3 times as much right now on the outside (peers and friends from college updating me on their careers and bouncing from job to job in the IT field).

    I imagine for many others besides myself, it is the patriotism, doing jobs that none of my peers from back home will ever fully know or understand. And lately, being put in positions where all that time training has paid off.

    Very few of us will ever reach the point of creating policy, but the day to day Navy is run by its Petty Officers, Chiefs and JOs. You as an E4 may feel on the receiving end of a lot of sh!t, and question "what am I really doing?". Heck, even as a senior LT, I find myself asking that exact question. But the key is, we are all Leaders. I trust you to make sure your work party is fixing my plane (insert job), and that you are training the next group climbing the ranks. For some, the first tour is IT, maybe they learned something and enjoyed it, maybe they had a bad experience and left for CIVPAC. For others, increased responsibility, the desire to drive the ship, the plane, or eventually maybe the path to Command.

    For me, its simple. I enjoy putting on my uniform each day, the comraderie of my fellow shipmates, and the varying jobs I can expect to do throughout my career. Nothing on the outside even vaguely interests me that could equate to the same to job satisfaction.

    My two cents, others I am sure have different thoughts as they reach different points in their career/life.
    DanMa1156 likes this.
  3. KBayDog

    KBayDog Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2004
    There's a big difference between "Why Do You Want to Become an Officer" and "Is Being an Officer Better Than Being Enlisted."

    BIG difference.

    Officer vs. Enlisted is apples and oranges - neither is better or worse than the other. However, they are very different from each other.

    In any event, your reasoning for wanting to become an officer sounds solid. Mine was similar; I loved leading Marines, and wanted to lead Marines at a higher level of influence (this was long before I had the interest or the chance to earn an aviation contract, so flying was not part of the equation yet). I had no dreams of single-handedly changing the Corps - just continuing to lead Marines.
  4. Brett327

    Brett327 Well-Known Member Super Moderator None Contributor

    Dec 23, 2004
    Yeah, it's nice to have the ear of your front office and to help guide the direction that your command takes - but the extra cash isn't bad either ;)

  5. Steve Wilkins

    Steve Wilkins Teaching pigs to dance, one pig at a time. Site Admin None Contributor

    Mar 1, 1999
    I enlisted so I would have better shot at the Academy, and therefore, a commission and ultimately become a pilot. Guess I jacked that up!
  6. Pcola04/30

    Pcola04/30 Professional Michigan Hater None

    May 19, 2004
    My original reasoning was pretty similar to your current views....but I did find that as I got closer to commissioning my reasons 'evolved' for lack of a better word. I looked forward to serving my country and contributing to a service (I always felt that way just tended to focus on it more closer to getting my bars) as a way to do my small part in our pursuit of a foreign policy that is pretty unpopular from a 'world view' IMO but that I believe is the right course for our country.
  7. PropStop

    PropStop Kool-Aid free since 2001. Contributor None

    Jan 6, 2004
    the chicks...
  8. Geese

    Geese You guys are dangerous.

    Mar 15, 2005
    I'd say the definitive "what is better" would be the pay, and the responsibility/satisfaction of performing the job and accomplishing the missions.

    As a sergeant in the Army, I was pushed and a lot was asked of me compared to a solider E-4 and below. In the Army the rank structure is such that the biggest difference in the enlisted ranks is at sergeant, everything below is a "soldier" (well, everyone is a solider in the army, but in this context hopefully you can understand), and everything from E-5 to E-7 is called "sergeant" regardless of actual rank. E8/E9 is either master/first sergeants and sergeant/command sergeant majors respectively.

    So the big "gap" in the army exists between E-4 and E-5, where in the navy it seems to exist between E-6 and E-7. There's a big distinction with being a "non-commissioned officer" in the Army. Much of the physical labor stops when you become a sergeant, not that it goes away, but you are expected to lead your troops to accomplish a mission, not do it yourself. This is not an Army vs. Navy post, I don't think either rank structure is better, but they are simply different.

    What this means is that the E-5s to E-7s run the Army, are responsible for the soldiers, equipment, the mission, and a plethora of other duties. You are in charge of people and equipment, and you are expected to be a good leader. When went to leadership school in the Army and became a non-commissioned officer, my job did not get easier, it got harder. I had to perform to a higher standard, show my soldiers that they should follow my lead. I had to be a father to them in many ways, I had to discipline them when necessary. I had to counsil them, and on top of that I had to do my mission related duties. The dreaded "paperwork" also started :p . I was in charge of a battery fire direction center, and my was on my arse whether or not missles ended up at their intended targets, and if they did not, they could fall on civilians or even our own troops. Lots of responsibility, lots of satisfaction though from accomplishing the mission and making it all work.

    For my essay on why I want to be an officer, I am using similer themes. I want to take this to the next level. I know it will not be easier, it will be harder. I'll get my rear end chewed out when things don't go right and there is a problem with "the mission". I will be responsible for even more people and equipment, and I will have to mentor and lead other "leaders" who are themselves in charge of people. It's a challenge, and it's an evolution. It's a "push" that makes you perform to an even higher standard, one that you may not have thought was possible beforehand.

    So pay and benefits are hands down better, but it's not an "easy" job.

    Think about it in terms of life-after the military, a company is going to look for the best leader/manager possible, so the more responsibilities you had, the better performing your section/troops/sailors were, the higher the rank and more important the missions, the more likely they are going to want you managing their own people. In other words, I'm in this to "go as far as I can go", "do as much as I can do", and you know the last part, but I won't say it. :D
  9. KBayDog

    KBayDog Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2004
    Uh-oh...you mentioned life after the military.

    BAD SOLDIER! You are not allowed to set yourself up for success in the civilian world while you are on Uncle Sam's clock...you should know that...
  10. A4sForever

    A4sForever INTERNET BULLY Contributor None

    Dec 18, 2004
    After being assigned a head to keep clean in Officer's country one day while sporting dungarees and white hat --- I decided I would rather be the guy in Khaki's "using" rather than the guy in dungarees "cleaning".....

    [​IMG] no user manual necessary .....
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