You could be thinking of joining the Military because of these difficult economic times, or possibly it’s your career choice out of high school. I will tell you what I wish I knew when I joined and what to expect during the recruitment process. I’ll tell you about basic training to the best of my knowledge, as I joined the Navy so I can’t really speak to the Marines or Army’s basic training as they are much more rigorous.
Your first step is to find a Recruiter if he or she hasn’t already found you. Your parents or friends may tell you that you need to be wary of the Recruiter. This is not really the case. Your Recruiter, if they do their job correctly is your best friend. They want you to have a positive experience so that you can tell all your friends that the military is the way to go and who they can contact. Another reason they are your best friend is because at any point you can change your mind, they want to keep you focused on joining.
Next you will take an ASVAB test which is a long test. The test is designed to gauge your proficiency and qualify you for a job in the military. You need to do as best you can here because nobody wants to chip paint for a living. I think it would be best to know what job you want before you take this test but some might disagree. Those that would disagree would say that you should take the test and see what you qualify for. I say take the test once you know what you want so that your Recruiter and Detailer don’t make your mind up for you.
Sometimes there are incentives for joining like a bonus or a promotion to E2 or E3 after Boot Camp. Ask your Recruiter about these because you want to take advantage of them. For me it was a promotion to E2 out of Boot Camp if I passed the physical training exam before I even shipped out, which I did.
Next you will go to MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) located in your nearest city. You will undergo many physical exams by doctors and be asked several questions. This is the part where you feel like some kind of alien. This process will take an entire day. At the end of this day once you’ve passed all those exams then you will be called in to see a Detailer.
Once you are called in to see your Detailer (this is the person that will place you in a job) you need to be prepared for this person. This person is not your friend and he or she will lie to you and withhold information in order to fill a job that they need filled. This person is who gives your Recruiter a bad name. You need to have your stuff in order and you better know what you want before you walk in. Don’t let him tell you anything. Remember you hold all the cards because you can still walk out. Also be prepared to walk out. This person is like a used car salesman and you need to treat him like such. If you fold or you take what he gave you rather than making him give you what you want then you will spend the next 4 years, or however long your contract is, regretting this very day. I’m not telling you to yell or be impolite so please don’t misunderstand. You should be polite even though you are probably aggravated after all the exams. The two things you need to know before you even walk into this office are what you want to do for a job, and what you qualify for. Because they are not below telling you that you don’t qualify for a position when you do. Ask to see a written list of all jobs that you qualify for. Also it would be helpful to know the most undesirable jobs. The reason this would be helpful is because your Detailer will do everything he can to place you in them, it’s more than likely his area of most need.
After this fun process you are sworn in and off to the airport you go to catch a plane to wherever your Boot Camp is located. For me it was Chicago. Once you arrive be ready because they start as soon as you get off the plane right there in the airport. Listen carefully to everything they say because they are looking for that one person who misunderstood so they can drop them. By “drop them” I mean in pushup position they won’t hit you, at least I don’t think they will I’ve never seen anyone give them a reason to. You will wish you slept on the plane because you will get none on this first night. Of all the forms you fill out and sign pay attention to one called the Montgomery GI Bill Application. This will give you a lot of money for college. Possibly pay your entire tuition. You want this trust me.
The key to get through Boot Camp is to put your pride on the back burner keep your mouth shut and do what you’re told to the best of your ability. Once you do that it’s kind of fun. Your RDC’s (Recruit Division Commander is what we called them) are typically hilarious. For me it was one of the hardest things not to laugh while getting yelled at for “summer creases” on my uniform (“some are here and some are there”). Also remember the Military is not like Boot Camp. Once it’s over you will have great stories to tell your friends at home and others who have experienced the same thing. All I ask is that if you’ve made up your mind to join, serve honorably and you will never regret the decision. Of all the things I’ve done and regret, joining the Navy was not one of them.
It never ceases to amaze me how little people understand dogs. Some of these people are even dog owners. I don’t claim to be a dog expert. However, one thing I know is that dogs want to be with their owners.
By saying that dogs want to be with their owners I’m not just saying that dogs want to run happily alongside their master. Sure, a dog will do that. What I mean is that a dog will be with their master in situations where a person would think the dog wouldn’t want to go; in fact, the dog will happily go into what it might perceive as an unpleasant situation just to be with its owner.
I would never have believed the extent an animal would do this until I saw our Chihuahua start to make her jump. Thank God I caught her in time! This is how it all happened:
You have to understand that my dog just can’t stand to not be with me. I’ve tried to break her of that by not giving in to her whimpering. I had to go into the hospital one time, and she didn’t eat the entire time I was there. Well, we can’t have that! She’s little enough already – if I’d stayed in the hospital much longer, there wouldn’t have been any dog left! So I decided she had to learn to be more independent.
This did not set well with the dog. Chihuahuas, by their nature, are rather clingy to their masters. I think my dog is even more clingy than usual because she was a rescue dog.
Now, I didn’t ignore the dog all the time. I couldn’t have done that – I love my dog! But I picked a few times of the day where I wouldn’t spend any time with her so that she would develop the ability to go off and entertain herself. One of the times I decided to do this would be when I was in the pool.
I had taught my dog to hate the pool by splashing her. She hates to get wet, so when she’d get close we’d grab her and bring her in the pool with us. We never dunked her – we didn’t want to totally freak her out – but we did get her scared enough of the pool to stay away from the edge. Or so we thought.
So, there I was, congratulating myself that I had broken my dog of being such a momma’s baby. My friend and I got in the pool. We were relaxing and everything was great. And then I felt something on my back. It was my dog! She had jumped from the edge of the pool onto my back! She was so determined to be with me that she was willing to brave the water of the pool, the water she feared, in order to be with me. Thank God I caught her before she slipped off my back!
My friend and I laughed about it, petted the dog, and put her back safely on the concrete. Wait a minute, the dog said to herself, you mean I did that for nothing? Persistence is my middle name!
We got out a lightweight raft. I was just about to get on it when Ker-Plunk! On it jumps my dog! I can’t believe her nails didn’t puncture the thing. This was one of those .99-cent rafts after all!
That was it. She won. We had to let her stay. So now, when we get in the pool, the dog goes too. She still hates the pool. The queen must have the raft, thank you! She isn’t about to get wet!
Dogs want to be with their masters. All the time. Whether the master wants to be with them or not. So you might as well let them do what they want because they’re going to do it anyway. Take it from me. I know!
I’ve heard a lot of different theories about how the CIA recruits new CIA agents and employees. Most of these theories are probably developed from watching bad spy films. I once had a friend tell me that the CIA tried to recruit him as an agent. His story was exactly the same as that Collin Farrell movie about him and Al Pacino working for the CIA. Despite all of the speculation, this information is not very hard to come across if you do a little research. Here’s what it takes to work for the CIA.
First of all, there are a lot of other jobs at the CIA other than being a spy. Yes, being a spy is probably the coolest CIA job, but it’s certainly not the only one. The CIA is often hiring computer scientists, engineers, computer programmers, technology experts, translators, psychologists, economists, and even secretaries. You don’t have to have ten years of hand-to-hand combat experience, or know how to disarm explosives to work for the CIA. The most important thing, is that your smart and well educated.
This might seem overly obvious, but to apply for a job at the CIA all you have to do is go to their website (www.cia.gov) and submit your resume. Yeah, seriously, that’s it. I know, it’s a little disappointing. Anyways, before you decide to apply for a job at the CIA, you should know what to expect. You have to be drug free for at least 12 months, you have to undergo a medical examination, you have to take a polygraph test, you have to be an expert in your field, you have to be a U.S. citizen, and you have to be at least 18 years old. That’s it. About 10% of the people who apply to work for the CIA end up getting a job offer and making it through all of the testing.
Although working for the CIA may seem like one of the coolest jobs in the world, it actually has a lot of drawbacks. The CIA is a government agency, so the pay is not that great. Believing that you will make six figures a year working for the CIA is false assumption, to say the least. The CIA does not disclose the salaries of their employees, but you could expect to start out somewhere around $30,000 – $40,000 depending on what position you apply for. On the bright side, they will pay for most of your work related expenses. Another downside to working for the CIA, is that you can’t ever talk about what you do at work. It must be pretty tough to work for an agency like the CIA and never be able to tell anyone what you do. You will most likely be required to move to Virginia. That is where the CIA headquarters are located. So, if you’re pretty attached to where you live, you might want to reconsider working for the CIA.
Becoming a “spy” for the CIA is a bit more difficult than landing one of the more common positions. If you want to become a spy, you will be required to have at least a BA or Masters degree, you have to be younger than 35 years old, and you have to be completely fluent in a foreign language. Nevertheless, you can still apply for a position as a spy for the CIA by submitting your resume directly to the CIA. However, when you submit your resume, don’t say that you’re applying to be a “spy.” The official job title is “Field Operations Officer.” Knowing all of this really makes those spy movies look far-fetched, doesn’t it?
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