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37 with no prior service and a non-STEM masters degree...Enlist? OCS?

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
#16
I think that enlisting in the Navy over the age of 25 is generally a terrible idea. The culture, rules, and pay scale for junior enlisted personnel assume a high school graduate with little to no previous work experience. The fact that you are almost certain to be unable to relate to your peers due to age and maturity differences will make life miserable, and no you're not allowed to hang out with the LPO or LCPO because they are your age.

If you really had a burning desire to serve, you would have done it already. You're looking to the Navy as a last resort because your civilian career isn't going where you thought it would, and you think that joining the Navy will eventually fix that. I would offer you that, at your age, the military ship has sailed and you should pursue other avenues to advance your professional career.

I also don't know your family situation, but with only about $20k in liquid income you will have to ensure that you don't have a car payment and will have to sell your house if you have a mortgage since E3 bah is designed to cover a 1 BR apartment.
 
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#17
How bad is life as an E-5 six months after A school? E6 after another year in?


What rate is that?! Push-botton E-5 does not happen to anyone other than nuclear engineers, and other special communities that make it out of a two year training pipeline. Even after a sailor makes E-5 there is still a 3 year waiting period before even testing for E-6, so that is not a guarantee either.

Sounds like you got some bad scuttlebutt, shipmate.
 

RedFive

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
#18
If you really had a burning desire to serve, you would have done it already.
A little harsh. When I went through MEPS there was a 37 year old reenlisting in the Army after a long hiatus because he wanted to go kill terrorists. He was in better shape than most of the 18 year olds and certainly mature enough to take young soldiers into combat. I'll never know where he ended up or if he survived, but I still respect him. Granted, it was a reenlistment and he was not going back in as an E-1.

I am not telling this story to encourage OP to enlist, I still maintain it's a dumbass decision...but I don't think age should be any indicator of one's desire to serve. I left NASA to join the Navy because the military offered some career opportunities I wasn't going to find climbing around a wind tunnel (namely killing terrorists and free flight training). I'm in my 30s and will likely be out of the Navy in the next year, but it doesn't prevent me from wanting to continue serving through the Reserves -- somebody has to tell you guys you're all assholes once in a while. :D
 

NavyOffRec

Well-Known Member
#19
What rate is that?! Push-botton E-5 does not happen to anyone other than nuclear engineers, and other special communities that make it out of a two year training pipeline. Even after a sailor makes E-5 there is still a 3 year waiting period before even testing for E-6, so that is not a guarantee either.

Sounds like you got some bad scuttlebutt, shipmate.
There are different programs besides nuke that can move you fast, and they had the TIR waiver for EP sailors, we had an EN who put on CPO with only 7 years in!
 

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
#20
A little harsh. When I went through MEPS there was a 37 year old reenlisting in the Army after a long hiatus because he wanted to go kill terrorists. He was in better shape than most of the 18 year olds and certainly mature enough to take young soldiers into combat. I'll never know where he ended up or if he survived, but I still respect him. Granted, it was a reenlistment and he was not going back in as an E-1.

I am not telling this story to encourage OP to enlist, I still maintain it's a dumbass decision...but I don't think age should be any indicator of one's desire to serve. I left NASA to join the Navy because the military offered some career opportunities I wasn't going to find climbing around a wind tunnel (namely killing terrorists and free flight training). I'm in my 30s and will likely be out of the Navy in the next year, but it doesn't prevent me from wanting to continue serving through the Reserves -- somebody has to tell you guys you're all assholes once in a while. :D
1) Reenlisting at 37 is different than enlisting for the first time. OP has never served in the military.

2) The OP is not looking to "kill terrorists" or any other such national defense calling. 9/11 happened when OP was 19. I maintain that if he wanted to enlist for some higher calling to defend his country, he would have done so a long time ago. He's looking for an opportunity to advance his career, and so were you when you joined. Also, unless he goes SPECWAR, there is a 0.000001% chance that he directly engages a belligerent while serving in the USN.
 
#22
To add to what Brett said:

You're kind of asking the wrong questions.

Understand that if you do enlist, you are under a different judicial system (eg someone roughly your age or younger can, entirely on their own judgment, decide you're enough of a fuck up that you don't get to leave the base for 60 days).

Even if you join in a technical rating, there is lots more of the less technical work to do. You're not just going to work on your specialty.
You're going to sweep and mop.
You're going to paint shit. You're going to clean shit, literally, because it's your turn to clean the heads (communal showers/bathrooms).
You could be a waiter for the Officer's/Chiefs for a few months.
You're going to pick heavy things up and put them down somewhere else just because somebody wants them moved.
You're going to take out the trash.
You're going to wait in line for 30 minutes just to get food.
You're going to stand outside in formation waiting for 20 minutes because your "boss" is running late.
You could spend 2 days a week living on board the ship, in port. If you're not married, you get to spend every day living onboard the ship.
If you ARE married, I'm going to guess your spouse would divorce you if you go through with this, as your pay will absolutely suck for someone at 37 years old.

It's very important that you understand that it doesn't end with boot camp or A school. Your life is going to consist of being lumped in with people recently out of high school for quite a few years of your life. As a 37 year old with work experience and a Master's.

And if you don't like how things are, you don't get to walk away from your enlistment.

The system is designed to pay off for kids joining out of High School who have no special skills, don't come from money, and could maybe use some structure. It simply is NOT designed for you...if you aren't going to be OK with that, you should stop.
If you're looking to simply change career fields to something more technical, I get that, but at this point in your life working in Finance, you should have enough money to simply go to school and pick up the needed skills much more quickly and efficiently.

JLew You need to read this BigRed post multiple times and believe every word of it. You do not want to enlist at 37.
 

DanMa1156

Land of the Milk and Honey.
pilot
Contributor
#26
AW,

Thanks for all the good feedback!

I have a lot to consider. Some of it makes the point of why I think it's important to work through the ranks in order to lead with the full respect of the crew, really become a specialist in the field. My enlisted recruiter has mentioned how getting certain pins requires detailed knowledge about how to do someone else's job (he gave the old drop of water through the ship analogy). Is it still true that Warrant Officers basically run the show? Despite all the privileges of each rate, which type of Officers are the most helpful/useful for the day-to-day life in the Navy? How bad is life as an E-5 six months after A school? E6 after another year in?

Yes, there's nothing more annoying to me than someone who bosses me around, is paid more, but cannot do my task or even advise on how to do my task more easily/efficiently...so I can go learn something more interesting. I definitely don't care for making some idiot look good at my expense. I've heard this could happen and then the same idiot could block timely advancement since he now has a stud under his command. Still a true story?

However, it seems like the enlisted route could follow a logical progression of advancement due to accumulated skillsets to earn rank. Is that accurate? If so, I wouldn't mind someone younger, less experience/educated as a boss, because I'd expect them to actually help me get better at my rate quickly. Is that a fair assessment? That sort of structure would be ideal for me going into a heavy learning environment. Is that the same type of environment for COs? I need to read up on life as a CO, because that still is a black box for me... Could it be a more glorified version of the enlisted experience with better pay, sleeping arrangements, meals and liberties? How much of a specialist would I really become at anything new? Are the perks enough to offset the additional stress/boredom of potential admin work or arbitrary managerial decisions being dictated by a superior?

I understand that your rate is what you make of it. I could be successful regardless of the route chosen. I obviously don't know much about military life, so forgive my over-generalizations. I would like to get past the stereotypes and really understand the pros/cons and what a rewarding career looks like for my personal circumstances.

My dad (and his dad) both left as E-5s...and I bet the Navy is where my dad picked up his classic "life isn't fair" mantra; his enlisted experience being the reason why he didn't want his son to join (and squash all that potential). He was even offered NESEP at the time, but did not re-enlist. It's funny how the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

Thanks again,
Future Sailor
Dear Future Sailor,
I wasn't going to chime in on this thread until reading this. Again, as has been said before in this thread, do not enlist at 37 years old. I had a brand new 31 year old Sailor in my first division, and while he enjoyed his 3 years or so in the Navy, he was thrilled to leave it too. He also went into a technical specialty and I assume had the same ideas as you - gain specialty technical skills and advance quickly.
I've run one division and one department (filled in for a missing LCDR for 9 months) and not once did my Sailors seem to care about how much technical knowledge I had for them. In fact, I think they'd be perturbed if I tried to "get in their chili." Instead, I appointed good LPOs who really knew what they were doing, chose wisely for my shift supervisors, and recommended people selectively for their qualifications. They seemed to care more that their evals were in time, I had a presence in the shop, was always available for them - which - after a few answered phone calls after midnight and recommending fair punishments (separate error from malice, right?) after dumb moves, I earned the respect of my Sailors. I can confidently say that I did as I reenlisted 11 of them in 3 years, and I just had one call me up the other day who left the Navy and is coming back and asked me to swear him in. My first division's Senior Chief recently asked me to do his retirement speech as a Master Chief. I think I did my Sailors right. I have zero enlisted time.
Making E-5 in one year after A school seems nearly impossible to me in most rates. Understand there are quotas for each rate that change each promotion cycle. E-6 a year after E-5 I think would require your Skipper specifically choosing you to promote (which they only have a limited number they can do that to) and in my experience, he/she probably won't choose someone who promoted within the past year.
There isn't a logical progression from E-1 to O-10. There is one from E-1 to E-9 and O-1 to O-10. There are those that make the jump, but that is rare and more difficult, especially at your age.
I can't stand when I hear "Chiefs/Warrants" run the Navy. Understand that your perspective from your enlisted recruiter is probably that of a mid to junior level Sailor and in their world, it may have felt like that. A better way to say it is that "Chiefs/Warrants make the Navy run." They don't set policy, they execute it.
 
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