When I am asked why I joined the military or what I like about the army, I provide these general observations from close to 20 years of work experience in part-time and full-time capacities. I joined to learn and develop leadership and managerial skills. At the outset, I really did not have a good idea what that meant; only that it sounded very impressive and would hopefully give me a “leg-up” with respect to finding a civilian career. Over time, I found that the military offered aspects that I know I would not have gained elsewhere. I am confident in writing this because I have worked in both worlds and in part-time and full-time capacities. The military gives its people opportunities to learn through trial-and-error as well as through classical teaching environments, under very good guidance of experienced mentors. In effect, it’s like undergoing an apprenticeship. Most leaders, especially at the unit level, take great interest and pride in developing their subordinates and this attitude is prevalent throughout the military. As well, there are opportunities for travel, be it an actual deployment overseas or within the country. That is not to give the impression that by “travel”, I refer to tourism. By “travel”, I mean work-related. Regardless, the ability to experience an environment much different from where you grew up and to be placed in situations outside of your comfort zone, helps to develop your character as well as learn more about yourself and your limitations. The
ProsGenerous pay and benefits, unique life experiences
ConsLong hours, periodic re-location, "Up or Out" career path
Have been in the Army reserves for almost four years now, and overall, it has been a fantastic job experience:
- Very flexible and accommodating, especially for students (With the unit and trade I work in, I can usually pick up a few extra 'Class A' work days at my unit when I am available. Probably one of the only government employers I know that allows you to decide whether or not you want to come into work (as long as you do not miss more than 5 consecutive training days in a row)
- From a student perspective, you are offered full-time summer employment which helps you earn quite a bit of money to pay for tuition
- Fair opportunities to obtaining qualifications and furthering ones skills (first aid courses; driver courses; leadership courses; etc) A lot of these courses can be taken during the weekend or in the summer
- Training is good, and you will meet a lot of interesting people. For the most part, I have met more positive than negative / bad people
- Pay is fair, especially after the recent pay raise. Work hours vary depending on whether you are working garrison (3-8 hours a day average) or in the field (14-18 hours a day average)
- camaraderie and sense of belonging; as well, have made many friends
- you learn your limits, your strengths, your weaknesses, and what to improve on
- opportunities for deployment and other professional development for those who are dedicated and committed
- Communication can be poor and sometim
Coming strait out of high school, I would recommend joining the reserves, only if you plan on furthering your education. If not then joining the Regular Force would be the most beneficial. I joined in my final year in high school as a three credit co-op course that will also help me pay for College/University.
Aside from the pay, you do learn a lot about how far the human body can push itself before failing, and how 90% of the hardships are mental barriers that you can break if you have the will do do it. You learn very quickly whether or not the Canadian Forces is for you. Especially if your wanting to join the Infantry which I did, it is well known to be the most physically/mentally demanding careers in the Canadian Forces, let alone regular careers out side of the military.
This career should pay better than pro football players, but it doesn't. that's just the way it is. Hopefully that will change very soon.
Overall I give this job five stars not because of the pay and benefits, but because of the knowledge you gain about surviving, living fighting and how far your body can REALLY push itself above and beyond the limit you thought it had.
If you're serious about joining, make should to quit smoking if you do. You can start again if you really want to, only once you've realized how it really doesn't matter when you know it won't affect your ability to push yourself to the limits.
I don't smoke, only because it obviously does have long term effects.
ProsFree meals, transport, physical conditioning, and pretty good pay for consecutive days/weeks of work.
ConsSlave pay for harder work then any other job, and the occasional trash meal.
The Army is a great place to work if you need direction, lack advanced education or are looking for a challenge. It is not like the movies or video games which depict constant combat and violence. It is a sub culture which is a mirror image of society which makes it less of an employer and more of a lifestyle. You must remember that it is a volunteer organisation that expects a commitment. Once you have signed up you cannot leave until stipulated in your contract. It has a separate justice system, which is open and fair but does have nuances meant to maintain discipline. The army rewards loyalty and commitment, you will progress and be given more opportunities if you are willing to commit. A lot of skills you will learn are not transferable. there is not a huge demand for some of the hard combat skills, but the Army does teach leadership. The pay is average, you are expected to belong to professional organisations and groups which have fees attached. You will also be expected to move if you want to progress. You may not like where you are going to and may not have a huge choice, often you are given two locations and must pick one. You will spend a lot of time away from home (200/365 on average) and key family events are not the army's problem (I missed my wife's birthday and each valentines day for twenty years). You will always be feed, and often fed well, but do not expect five star hotels. You will spend time living in very austere environments and often in d
ProsIndependent specialised medical and dental care covered, four weeks vacation to start, PLD for certain locations
A great place to learn personal discipline, leadership and developing a tough mental attitude
A typical day while on course starts with a five mile run at 0530 hrs followed by an inspection at 0800 hrs. After completing the run standing orders are that all candidates will eat breakfast, shower, and prepare quarters for inspection (usually white glove). Needless to say being organized and developing outstanding teamwork are neccessary. Following inspection, and corrective actions (I will leave this to the readers imagination), classroom instruction takes the rest of the day until 1700 hrs. The rest of the evening you prepare coursework, most do additional runs of ten miles, and spit shine boots, and shine brass. This will take you to lights out at 2300 hrs. Tomorrow we do it again.
Course work involves such topics as military code of justice, The Queens Regulations and Orders, as well as drill and deportment, Physical Education (on top of the running) and leadership roles and conduct reviews. For three one week periods we are away from the classroom to practice leadership skills on exercise in the field where if you can get 1 to 3 hours of sleep a day consider yourself lucky. When you think you have made it through there is a two day escape and evasion exercise where you are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have to traverse some 30 to 50 kms while being hunted by military and civilian authorities. You enter the exercise wearing coveralls and boots, it's December you will be cold and there is no sleep. If captured you will spend the duration of the exercise in
Prosself discovery, find personal limits, find personal strengths, learn behavior, discipline, honesty, obedience, integrity
Typical Day of Work:
Consisted chronologically of physical training, events and press brief, message returning, morning press concept/delivery, lunch, message returning, evening press concept/delivery, end day forecast.
Skills Learned: The importance of discipline and hierarchy, differentiation of labor and the true meaning of competitive advantage. The careful wording and consideration of any and all things released based on the inherent controversial nature of National Defense in society. Public Relations concept planning and implementation strategies and training and experience in press releases and interviews.
Management: Traditional military hierarchy. Series of officers running the office (including myself) with non-commissioned members aiding in the operation of the office. Management was divided roughly in 3 with the Senior Officers serving as the executive officers, the junior officers (where I was located) to shape and implement overall policies and the non-commissioned members operating under the supervision of the junior officers to complete the literal production of the work.
Coworkers: Varied, some permanent some temporary, fluent transfers made for an office full of variables, all worked together great.
Hardest Part of the Job: Maintaining the cold and definitively necessary emotional austerity that comes with Public Affairs for such realms as Policing and National Defense, given the fatal nature of the news on less than infrequent occasions.
•Assist the Officer Commanding (OC) in his command responsibilities so that the squadron (Sqn) achieves the operational and training objectives as tasked by the Commanding Officer (CO) 41 Combat Engineer Regiment.
•Advise and assist in the design, planning, resource and construction of various trg construction venues. This included defenses, observation posts, targets, accommodation buildings and compounds.
•Supervise the improvement of training area roads and combat road construction to include drainage and culverts.
•Coordinate all disciplinary matters concerning the Non Commissioned Members (NCM) of the Sqn. The SSM will prepare disciplinary files and organize Summary Trials at the Sqn level.
•Monitor daily routine of the Sqn to ensure Sqn NCMs are efficiently trained, lead and administered.
•Assist the Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) in developing the Warrant Officers (WOs) and Senior NCMs by recommending challenging positions consistent with their developmental needs and Sqn requirements. The SSM will conduct professional development training as tasked or required to either the Sqn or the Regiment (Regt). The SSM will keep the SQN OC apprised of all matters concerning NCM development.
•Mentor Sqn WOs and NCOs with emphasis on the Troop WOs.
•Be the Combat Engineering technical expert in the Sqn and have a sound understanding for the detail of engineer task execution, equipment employment and resource requirements at the Sqn level.
•Command the Sqn Echelon as requ
A typical day at my work consists of overseeing the implementation of a number of recommendations made by the SSAV Report (2017) as it pertains to the selection, training, and employment of the training wing personnel charged with overseeing the development of the Officer Cadets attending the Royal Military College Kingston. In addition, I am also overseeing the review and implementation of new rules, regulations, and procedures affecting the day to day life of the Officer Cadets as well as their Professional Development. I meet regularly with Senior Leadership of the College but am afforded the latitude to manage my work day/week on my own. As the implementation of the 59+ recommendations requires a lot of coordination, I routinely meet with College personnel of all ranks, military as well as civilian academics (including the Commandant and the Principal) to confirm direction, seek input, and ensure a smooth transition. .
Over 35 years of service, I have learned that I will get out of my work as much as I put into it - RMC is no different. My experience with management is that the vast majority of military leaders and senior public servants are highly dedicated and focused people. I have learned to adapt to my superiors' style as well as the conditions (security, safety, resource constraints, etc). The Canadian Armed Forces are a great place to work. It is a culture of learning where one can reach his or her full potential. The hardest part of the job (military career) is
Recently a day at work for me consisted of managing up to 40 Troops at any given time, as I have been in a mamagement position for the past few years. I learned a great deal on how to deal with personnel problems with the troops and how to bring them all together as a team to work effeciently. As being in a management position I was responsible for making Command decisions on a daily basics and writing up quartely and yearly assessments on the troops. My co-workers ranged from the age of 21 to 60 years old. For the most part they were all pretty responsible and I gained their respect as I was concerned about their well being. The hardest part of my job is keeping up with all the changes in the daily tasks as some details seemed to changed by the hour. No matter what the changes were I always seemed to be able to keep up with it and get the job done in a safe and effective manner. By far the most enjoyable part of my job was accompolishing all the tasks and deploying overseas on 5 different missions and accepting the new changelles that go with that. It a great feeling coming back from a tour and feeling as if you helped a nation out in anyway at all even if you played a small part in it. Also getting the opportunity to operate all types of heavy equipment including Tractor trailer and highway cruiser is a highlight in my career. Most of all driving tractor trailer accident free on a daily basics in Afghanistan and Haiti over the very heavily congested roads and mountainous te
Prosgreat work environment, free clothing, some meals paid
Consvery long hours especially while overseas, worked 6 months with only 1 day off
I've had a handful of different positions at DND and each one was a unique experience. I have been in my current position for the longest (coming up 4 years this Aug). I am a scheduler of base duty watch/patrol in the Jr ranks barracks. As a civilian, I get to see the military side of things and that makes it very interesting. In a typical day, I am continuously working on the master schedule which gets published/updated every two weeks and they are a regulatory order for all military members. I also make changes regularly to the current schedule which can become tiresome but I do enjoy the challenge. I am often on the phone contacting members and/or their supervisors because they did not confirm their duty watch with me within the allocated time as required. These members are then given extra duty watches or for repeat offenders, charged in a court martial. The hardest part of my job is enforcing the "Base Standing Orders", and ensuring that all of the members on base understand and interpret them correctly. I work directly for the Base Chief and at times there are discrepancies where he/she is needed to get involved, but for the vast majority of the time, I am able to conduct my work independantly and solve any issues which may arise. My job is largely independant but I have one co-worker who works on a different portion of the duty watch. I enjoy the challenges of my work because it has taught me to think outside of the box, as well as remain confident and professional dur
ProsFree gym facilities, lots of (free) parking, good people
As a Medical Technician:
- serve the Army, Airforce and Navy, in various countries,environments and tasks, when and where required.
- disaster/emergency response/mass casualty training, on ship/land
- training and education of ship’s emergency medical responders
- triage and treatment of patients in hectic ship and clinical settings
- providing patient care and advice, to post-hospital treatment/surgical
patients, including directed rehab.
- providing community health direction to ship’s crews and preventive
medicine advice as required, for risk /environmental issues, including
crew habitation cleanliness and sanitization inspection /rounds of the
ship (galley, mess, sleeping quarters, wash rooms, food storage etc.).
- maintaining high levels of fitness, with emphasis on strength and endurance, as you may be required to quickly move/carry heavy patients or supply loads over significant distances, over difficult terrain and/or unsafe areas of operation (war / disaster zones)
- mental/wellness checks, of self and crew/team members, especially during long operations, long duty periods without sleep or adequate food/rest
- maintaining and advancing medical training/knowledge through self study and Unit courses
Management is responsible for the overall Unit or operation and has little time deal with your personal or petty issues. There is a clear "chain of command" and you learn to respect it. You learn when/whom to ask for ass
ProsGood friends and camaraderie in some units, free medical, dental, physiotherapy, eye care, mental health.
ConsAway from home a lot, away no notice at any time and possibly for extended periods, family/marriage strain, career progression is slow.
Awesome place to meet lifeling friends in very exciteing jobs.
I retired from the Army where I made many many friends that still in contact now. I have been retired now for 23 years, The job of "Army" was the best time of my life, I regret having to retire and leaving my military family. I watch M.A.S.H. sometimes and am reminded every time how my job had a lot in common with Radar. Mostly because I could scrounge anything, LOL. I even managed to get a .223 rifle... completely off the record... bayonet and all. Several wanted to know how I did that. They still don't know.. I'll never tell. LOL. It was a really fun stage of my life I'll die relishing and thankful I did my time.
My friends and I get together at times now and talk about the fun things we did. Work was never mentioned because that was just a job in a uniform. Although we enjoyed the female attention when in uniform. I know how to make explosives from scratch which is cool.
I detinated a pipe bomb to blow up a beaver dam a while back. Worked like a charm. The days always started with all of us in the coffee room having the morning coffee and the odd card game all ready started. Work was the same as civilian work wearing a uniform.
I learned how to operate all sorts of vehivles like busses, tractor trailers, dozers, graders, Loaders,Armoured personal carriers, gravel trucks, Cargo trucks, all the way down to a compact car.
The management there were once doing your job so they know what you are doing every day, They rarely come out to where we work so it was easy to join in on
Prosmeeting lifelong friends, no worries medically.
Conssome people are non desiresbles and can make life difficult.
Questions and answers about National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces
How long does it take to get hired from start to finish at National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces? What are the steps along the way?
Asked Apr 6, 2017
Varies, i got lucky and knew someone who knew the recruiter so i got in quick, however if you don't and the trade you're applying for is highly competitive then it can take upwards of a year.
Answered Jul 13, 2022
Answered Jan 17, 2022
What tips or advice would you give to someone interviewing at National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces?
Asked Jan 25, 2019
Just remember: the standards are not that high! I've worked with people who only have their grade 10, people with criminal records etc and they are trying to push to be able to recruit non-citizens to fill the recruitment gap.... they need you more than you need them.
Answered Nov 11, 2022
They are very nice
Answered Nov 8, 2022
How are the working hours at National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces?
Asked Jan 9, 2018
Over-worked, underpaid, no overtime.
Answered Nov 23, 2022
Work hours were very good.
Answered Oct 26, 2022
Can you join if you have a criminal record?
Asked Nov 27, 2017
Yes. If you have a conviction under the Criminal Code of Canada or the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, you may still apply to the Forces, as long as you have served your sentence and no longer have any legal obligations. --- SAYS right on their website.. o.o
Answered Aug 24, 2020
Yes you can join with a criminal record as long as you dont have a weapons ban. They dont care what youve done they mould you into a soldier and if they cant you will be gone before BMQ is done.
Answered Oct 19, 2019
On average, how many hours do you work a day at National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces?
Asked Jan 10, 2019
Depending on management, some people seem to get away with making their own hours, taking golf trips and playing hockey on work time while others end up staying late and coming in on unpaid days off to do all the work.
Answered Nov 11, 2022
Hours where varied, depending on whether you were in the field or at the base. Long hours where the usual.