I'm having a really hard time deciding what to do right now, and whether anyone comments on this or not I just wanted to write it all down and put it out there.
I work as a Contract Specialist/Contracting Officer, AFSC 6C051. Basically I write contracts for the Air Force in order to purchase supplies, services and construction. I've been in the Air Force 6 years now. I reenlisted in 2009 for 4 more years and got a 50,000 dollar bonus. 20,000 of that is now locked away in an investment account. I have no debt, but also no savings outside of that 20,000. I have two years left on my enlistment with the Air Force, after which I'd have to reenlist for four more years and possibly get a more hefty 70/80,000 dollar bonus.
My issue is that I dont love the job. It's mostly boring, menial and time consuming. I dont feel rewarded most of the time. The only time I do is when I'm deployed. Our opstemp is high, were in blocks of six months deployed, six months at home station. That's a LONG time to be deployed, you know? It's not 100% for sure that I'd go every time, but it's damn close right now. I would be gone again for the second time in three years if I hadnt hurt my shoulder and gotten surgery.
I have an Associates Degree with the Community College of the Air Force, and an APDP Level 1 certification. Of course I have free education while I'm in. I also have the GI bill if I get out.
If I stay in, I deal with the deployments and possibly losing my girlfriend due to distance (this would be the fourth one lost due to distance). I'd also keep all of the benefits of the military like health insurance and such, as well as the travel opportunities. I dont hate the Air Force, and I do enjoy being "in the club". Its hard to describe the feeling of being a part of something bigger, but I do enjoy that no matter what I'm on a team.
If I get out, I understand that contracting jobs are always available. I'm going to start applying to places now to see if I get any leads, maybe if I can nail something down I can get out with a job waiting for me. Or maybe I can make some insider friends to get me hired at a great place like Microsoft or Google. I'd get out in a heartbeat if I could work for one of those companies. I'd work in contracting, but I'd be working with something I enjoy, technology. As well as being paid much, much better. I currently make 26,000 dollars a year thereabouts in the military, food and housing provided. My starting salary, from what I gather, will be around 80,000 or possibly more if I can get my 4 year degree. The reenlistment bonus of 80,000 dollars for 4 years of my life doesnt look as good when I'll be making 45,000 dollars more per year. I'd just need to work a year and change to make up for the difference.
It's scary leaving the security of the military, having all of your life provided for you and everything laid out in black and white. I'm feeling extremely insecure about everything and I was wondering what others in my situation have done? I'm sure some other PA Forum members have been in my situation. I wonder what made you decide one way or the other?