There is no job that can give you as much fulfilment, satisfaction and pride as a career in the armed forces. As an officer, one can derive immense sense of pride by rendering our services to the nation. The adventurous life one leads is another draw for those who want to serve the nation. If money is not the be-all, end-all in your life, you must consider a career in the armed forces. This doesn’t imply that money in the armed forces is inadequate, but if you seek more (than money) in your professional life, the Army can be your calling.
Offering a multi-faceted experience, the armed forces shape you as a person. The Army way of life is still revered and the selection procedure for it is considered among the best in the country. One has seen in the past how people often flaunt their selection certificates in their resumes while seeking jobs.
Though this is not an ethical practice, it still reflects how revered the selection process for the Army is.
As far as learning goes, that happens at various levels. Be it managing people, leading a project, meeting new people, or being in situations that require incredible courage, a career in the armed forces grooms you for all kinds of situations. With such variety, there is never a dull moment in the forces. Life here is full of adventure. From climbing mountains, crossing rivers, to handling sophisticated equipment, an officer works at multiple levels, honing his/her skills and contributing to the country’s security. Besides the learning, officers are showered with a lot of appreciation and love by society.
The armed forces are an exacting service with no room for lethargy. Army life is synonymous with a life of precision. Discipline in what you do and how you do it is an extremely important quality. There have been times when I have had to take decisions that could have cost my men their lives, but it is a part of our job and it gives you tremendous satisfaction when your plans pan out the way you want them to – without any casualties.
Apart from that, mannerisms, looking impressive and displaying proper conduct come naturally as one adapts to the Army way of life.
Today, life in the Army is much different from what it was 42 years back (when I joined). Earlier, one could find people from only a certain section of society joining the forces. But now, you see people from diverse sections of society making inroads into the forces. When I joined the army, we had people from well-off quarters of society joining the army. This was because the basic pay the time was about R380 and we had the option of falling back on our family support as a back-up. But gradually, as the pay has increased, one can find more and more enthusiastic people joining the services. One can’t say that money is the attracting factor and fresh recruits lack the sentiment we had back then. They are equally charged and enthusiastic about serving the country as we were.
Now is the best time to join the forces if you want to give wings to your dreams and do things you have always wanted to do. Especially after (our success at) Kargil, there is increased awareness among people about what life in the Army is like, but you need to experience it to be able to live it.