Should I stay or should I go now?

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Forum topic by ZiggyZ posted 12-19-2012 02:22 AM 1240 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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65 posts in 2623 days

12-19-2012 02:22 AM

Hey everyone. I’m struggling with a major career (and family) decision. I’m trying to get some unbiased advice and was hoping some of you could shed some light.

Here goes. I’m currently in the US Navy Seabees and am a Chief (e-7). I have 9 years in and my current enlistment ends in 7 months. I’m considering getting out of the Navy and pursuing a new career. I’ve done 9 deployments (6 to Afghanistan and 2 to Iraq). Frankly, I’m worn out and unsure if I really want to potentially repeat the last 9 years again. I have a part time carpentry business that I make new tool money with right now :)

I was considering getting out and going to school full time to finish my college degree. During that time the G.I. Bill gives me a monthly stipend to cover housing expenses. My main concern is finding a job that provides adequate health insurance after I get out and decent pay. The Navy has been good to me over the years and I do not have any regrets. I’m just not sure that staying in is worth the deployments and stress in order to get the retirement benefits, which would be awesome to have however.

Many people I talk to say to stay in and get the retirement benefits. Many of these people however, are older people who did not serve during a time of war and I take their advice with a grain of salt. ( not that that belittles their service, just different circumstances).

My question for you all is this:

Should I suck up the next 10 years and shoot for the retirement benefits or should I take my chances now and get out, finish my degree and try the job market or my own business?

Thanks for any advice you can send me.

18 replies so far

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2615 days

#1 posted 12-19-2012 02:33 AM

I think you already know the answer.
For me, when I no longer looking for going into work, getting excited about projects/assignments or just shows up to wait for the time go by, it is definitely time to move on.

Best of luck to you and thank you for serving our country.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2845 posts in 3675 days

#2 posted 12-19-2012 02:40 AM

Another consideration is a wife and kids. If you’ve got them then you need something reliable. If not then you can spread your wings and see what wind they pick up. The only person effected is you.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View JoeinGa's profile


7740 posts in 2245 days

#3 posted 12-19-2012 02:41 AM

I cant offer advise because I have no dog in this fight… But I do want to say Thank You For Youe Service!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3190 days

#4 posted 12-19-2012 02:44 AM

Ziggy, I was in your shoes 12 years ago. I had nine and a half years in and just finished a crappy assignment (recruiting) when I decided I would stay until the duration. I now have almost 22 years in and will retire in about a year. I am glad I toughed it out as I have a piece of financial security for the rest of my life.

I remember a common topic of conversation when I was recruiting spoken to me by several veterans I met in my daily travels. These were guys who did three or four years and then got out. Each and every one of them all said the same thing: they wished they had stayed in. All of them. They said that if they stayed in, they would, at that time, have been collecting a pension and moving on to something else. I have a friend now who did about seven years, got out, and became pretty successful. Even he wishes he had stayed in and made a career out of it. Lots of regrets from veterans.

The war is winding down. Deployments are going to taper off. Your next 11 or so years should not look like the previous ones. Additionally, should you get out and, like some other guys I know, decide you made a bad choice and want to get back in, you will find it difficult to do so. Prior service guys (especially E-7s) have a hard time getting back in. With cut backs and each service trimming ranks, you can bet on that.

If I had ten more years at this point, I would still stay in. I have deployed less times than you (31 months total in Iraq and Afghanistan and a whole bunch of shorter tours), but I still know where you are coming from. Personally, I joined to serve and deploy. It was tough, sure, but it is what I wanted and still enjoyed it. I believe in hindsight, especially with you approaching the magic hump of the ten year mark, you would have lots of regret when you hit the point in your life where you would retire.

Make sure you arm yourself with all information. If you decide to get out, make sure it is for the right reason(s). Make sure you will not look back and wonder “What if…?”

-- Mike

View Don W's profile

Don W

19045 posts in 2805 days

#5 posted 12-19-2012 02:48 AM

First, thank you for the last 9 years.

I’m going to agree HHHOPKS. 10 years is a long time to not enjoy your time. Do whatever it takes to enjoy your time.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Gary's profile


9386 posts in 3671 days

#6 posted 12-19-2012 02:57 AM

Wow…what a question. You have lots to consider. Jobs aren’t all that easy to come by that will pay well, and the insurance issue is getting more serious all the time. One thing I would consider is cross-training. As a vet – war vet…Vite Nam, I’d rather see you cross-train and stay in to secure your health benefits. If you could find and MOS or AFSC, or what ever the Navy calls it – that you enjoy, you would be better off. I guess you should also understand that I am hinting at finding a career move that you enjoy and does not have high deployment rates. I hope you give it some serious thought before leaving. The next 11 years will really make a difference in how you retire. Best of luck

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 2892 days

#7 posted 12-19-2012 02:58 AM


Thank you for your service. Here is what I did. I served 10 years active duty in the Coast Guard (E-7). I then went into the active reserves for another 13 years and retired in 2000. When I went into active reserves, I was able to pursue a short career in the computer industry. I worked for a company called EDS for 7.5 years and then Microsoft for almost 7 years. I retired from the Coast Guard and left Microsoft in 2000 to start my own wood working business. Sometimes I wish I had stayed in for 20 but I was facing family issues at the time and being home was a requirement to keep everyone happy. I was notified for activation during Desert Storm but the final activation orders never came through.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3209 days

#8 posted 12-19-2012 02:58 AM

- One of my sons is in the Air Force and is in a slightly different position from yours because he will have been in for 20 years next August. But, he has said for the last three years he could not wait till he got his 20 years in so he could get out. So, in that respect you both share a desire to move on to something else.

- However, in just the last few months he has been seeing what a wreck the job situation is in and has just about decided to sign up for 5 more years. It will almost double his retirement and there is a possibility in five more years we may be getting over the hangover of 8 wasted years of BHO.

- Do you have to stay in for 10 more? Don’t you have the option for 4 or 5 years at a time? Also, do you not have the possibility to serve in a safer location or in rhe reserves? I don’t know, that’s why I pose these comments as questions. I know things are different from one service to another.

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2655 days

#9 posted 12-19-2012 03:12 AM

I wouldn’t spend the next ten years of my life doing something I don’t want to do—especially if I had the opportuniy of receiving some sort of financial help while learning a new career that would be fun.

Retirement benefits are great, but forfeiting a fun and enjoyable ten years ???

I’m guessing that after finishing college you will still have twenty years to build towards retirement. Maybe I’m wrong in guessing your age.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2615 days

#10 posted 12-19-2012 03:28 AM

If you decided to get out, do take advantage of the benefits that you have earned.
Education is well worth the investment.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 2599 days

#11 posted 12-19-2012 03:29 AM

Stay in! It’s a helluvalot better than you’ll find on the outside.

Thanks for your service.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3396 days

#12 posted 12-19-2012 03:46 AM

All I know is I regret having never served and I greatly admire those who do.

-- jay,

View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 3484 days

#13 posted 12-19-2012 04:15 AM

I served ten, then got out to care for my sick mom.

Can you actually live on your retirement pay or is it just beer money? Is medical care still on a space available for retirees? The job market may be better in ten years, but you most likely won’t have a degree. And then the whole age discrimination thing just starts kicking in pretty quick. But if you get out, you don’t get all those cool USN retired ballcaps and bragging rights : ) Just a few more things to consider.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18423 posts in 3914 days

#14 posted 12-19-2012 04:30 AM

Good jobs paid 2 or 3 x gov’t jobs in pay and benefits 30 yrs ago. Today, gov’t jobs are looking pretty good. Private sector has seen total stagnation and losses since Reaganomics stated trickling down.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2384 days

#15 posted 12-19-2012 04:32 AM

I served 6 years active duty and 2 years reserves in the Army, and wanted nothing to do with re-enlisting when that was done. It does occasionally occur to me that if I’d stayed in, this year would have been my 20 and I could be retired. I used my college fund to get a degree in computer science, which has given me a well-paying career, even if I don’t enjoy it much. There are elements of the civilian job market that suck right now, but if you get the right degree, it’s not bad at all. I get multiple job contacts every week, and I’m not even looking.

I would not bank on things winding down and deployments decreasing all that much in the next decade. The middle east is still filled with people who hate us. China is feeling its oats. South America isn’t too fond of us either. It’s still a dangerous world. My wife’s cousin was a scout in the Marines and did 4 deployments to Afghanistan and 1 to Iraq. He came back with terrible PTSD that he’s only just now getting under control 2 years later.

I wish you luck in life. Hopefully you make the best decision for you and your family. God bless.


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