Friday, December 02, 2005

Just my experience

When you get to be a middle aged mom you hope to have some wisdom under your belt. You hear yourself repeating things your mom told you to your kids.
Don't go out with a wet head, you'll catch cold.
Don't cross your eyes or they'll freeze that way.
Do you think your socks are going to pick themselves up?
Don't put that in your mouth, you don't know where it's been.
Don't sit too close to the television, it'll ruin your eyes.
Eat your vegetables, they're good for you.
What goes around, comes around.
Ugly is as ugly does.
I brought you into this world, and I can take you right back out!

You get to be my age and you have seen a few things.
Really bad people do well and prosper.
Older women with a good education and career sleeping with a 13 year old boy.
People winning the lottery only to be bankrupt a year later.
The couple you never thought would divorce; does.
Children your parents predicted would be worthless succeed in life.
Children your parents predicted would succeed, fail.
Ugly men with beautiful women.
Worse: Beautiful men with ugly women!

I was raised an Army Brat and lived all over the world. I went to college for a short while and quit (got kicked out). I spent a few years being worthless, drugged up and drunk. I was nearly homeless and flat broke. I joined the Navy and served 8 years. I got a good education in the Service. I got out and became a Field Service Engineer. I made a good living. I have been around the block a few times and back again.

Once I landed a really good job with an industrial printing company. They paid really well, had great benefits. In my position I was entitled to a company car, with an expense account. I had to work hard, and I traveled a lot but it was a great job! I noticed that the other engineers displayed what I call spoiled brat syndrome. They were so used to the nice job they forgot what it was like to not have a nice job. Yeah, we were called on to work hard difficult tasks, but we were well compensated. We had brand new Dodge vans to drive but they griped because it wasn't a Chevy Blazer. We had every expense paid for when we traveled but some complained because it wasn't first class.

Then I married my wonderful adoring gorgeous husband the Chiropractor. He is a wonderful man. He works very hard. He is in business for himself and we have made huge sacrifices for him to succeed. I have learned that being your own boss is no picnic. It is a 24 an hour a day job. We have no benefits that we don't have to pay for ourselves. We live on a very tight budget as we don't know what his earnings will be next month, much less next week. It has been a long hard struggle.

Since coming back into the service to finish my career I have been observing some things. I am noticing there are a few cry babies. Seems they left mama's breast and need a "sugar tit" now in the service. I hear whining about pay and benefits etc. I am astonished. How much do they think they can earn on the outside? And at what price. When I look at my pay in the service (E-5, over 8. You can go look it up) plus the benefits, plus, bonuses.... it is a good job.

I look at some of these junior enlisted and I wonder what sort of career they left to come into the Army? McDonalds? Oh excuse me, you had a GREAT job at the Video store! Excuse my sarcasm, but I am astonished. The basic pay alone is more than these kids can earn with no education and experience.

Add to that the Military is the only "business" that will take you in, pay you while you train, give you first rate benefits, give you EXTRA money when you marry and add to your family. Not to mention that retirement benefit in the civilian community is all but gone.

My sister has a MBA and a CPA. She works for a great company. She makes $75K a year. With my bonuses, my educational benefits, my FREE benefits along with my housing allowance etc, I make close to what she earns as an E-5!! Once I start making rank that will really close the gap.

You don't think you earn enough? Quit yer whining and make rank. In the mean while suck it up.

In my husband's office we get a lot of "old timers" as patients. Inevitably, the conversation turns to our times in the Service. I joke that I will be 80 years old and saying "I remember when I was in the Service..." To the last one, they each speak fondly of their time serving their country. To the last one, they each speak of their experience in a postive manner. And, always, without exception when I ask "If you had to do it over again..." they finish with "I'd a never got out!" Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20.


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