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Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

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  • Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

    I was wondering if any officers could provide some insight into how their work as an officer affects their life outside of their drill weekend. To clarify, I am talking about whether you need to work a lot outside of your drill weekend to prepare for the upcoming drill or after a drill. If so, is it stressful to balance your duties with your social life and civilian job to get any type of work done before or after a drill? I have heard that it is more difficult to be in the National Guard as an officer then it is to do it as an Active Duty officer. I was curious to what extent this is true.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Re: Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

    Sure, I'll let you know my insight, just keep in mind every unit is different!
    For an idea, say we just had drill this past weekend. I can expect to have a conference call tomorrow(friday) night for an AAR where I'm expected to discuss what went right and wrong for my PLT and for whatever i was in charge of(like an OIC for the range or something). That will last an hour or so. Then the following wed there's command and staff for high ranking officers and XO's(so I'm there as well). Then there's a week or so off until the week of drill again. That monday before drill is my units meeting to discuss who is in charge of what and what everyone will be doing as well as plan out the timeline for drill. Then the rest of that week I'll be planning my unit transportation and all that good stuff. Then comes drill, which is the fun stuff. Some officers do their planning during drill, which is ok, saves them time when they are home... But on drill weekend I'd rather be with my guys so I do it on my off time. Different strokes.
    Anything else you're curious about?

    **EDIT**
    As you can see, at my civilian job, I have access to a computer so that helps my situation lol

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

      I'll give you my answer from a non-officer perspective... It has nothing to do with being an officer specifically, it has more to do with your position and your drive to be a good leader.

      Though many are, not all officers are in a position to have a lot of non-drill weekend work to do. I may be wrong here, but more often than not your day to day BN staff officers are full-time, it's usually your Company level leaders that are not full-time.

      As far as being a good leader goes, I've had many platoon leaders, some take on every task possible and do a lot of planning between drill weekends and some just show up when they have to and that works fine as well.

      As far as what I said about it having nothing to do with being an officer, I say this because I as a Platoon SGT or squad leader I have always been there for my 'guys' between drill weekends. I reinforce that activation is real and you can't just see it as something that will never happen, so always be prepared for this to be your full-time job. I make sure I let them know that if they contact me for assistance with just about anything I'll do my best to help, whether it be pay problems, education benefits, finding a better job, not being able to attend drill. Something as simple as being a good member of the chain of command can be time intensive regardless of your rank as an officer or enlisted.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

        yep, it all depends. many years ago, my dad was a high-ranking(O-5) chemical officer, he was lucky in that his civilian job was right across the highway from Camp Mabry, Austin TX. He said he used to spend most of his lunch time on the phone or making quick trips across the highway to get ready for drill. It was his choice, he wanted to be with his men. He had a small section, I got the impression he had a blast. There were definitely some characters in his section. I met them once. Oh, and this was before computers so that's probably why he made so many trips.

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        • #5
          Re: Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

          I'm not quite an officer yet, but being in the Traditional OCS program, I've gotten a little taste so far of what it will be like, I think. One of the stong points of the Traditional course vs. the Accellerated course is that it helps prepare you in that way for becoming a National Guard Officer. Right now, I know I have to spend lots of time outside of drill preparing for the next drill (more likely the next few drills). I know that it will be that way once I commission as well.

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          • #6
            Re: Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

            Hello. This is my first post here. I have been browsing for a bit. I have been heavily considering signing up as 09S to go BCT then traditional OCS. I live in Austin, close enough to Mabry. I have a daughter I see on weekends, and a full time job I would like to keep.

            For those of you in the traditional program, would you find it feasible to still be able to keep your full time job in Austin and attend traditional OCS as well as still visit your daughter on the other non-drill weekends?

            Thank you

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

              I didn't have a problem balancing my full-time civilain job along with attending the traditional OCS program in Texas, and I live in the Dallas area. You should also be fine to see your daughter on non-drill weekends.

              The OCS program takes place at Camp Swift, between Bastop and Elgin, and not at Mabry, though.

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              • #8
                Re: Balancing Civilian Life/Career with National Guard Duties

                I remember a TAC (AGR) asking an OC during first formation, "Isn't this the most important thing going on in your life right now?" OC said, "No. Drill pay doesn't put food on the table."

                If you are an M-day soldier and your Reserve obligation is the most important thing going on in your life, then you probably have a lackluster civilian career.

                There are M-day officers out there working 60+ hours a week and banking 120+k/year while still fulfilling their responsibilities and still maxing their PT tests.

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