In today's world of instant gratification many seem to think that they are entitled to all. The decision to become a Marine Corps officer is one that life should make for you and you should not strive to become one just because you want to be one.
👉A four year college degree simply means you are academically eligible to try to become an officer and it does not mean you are cut out to be an officer. Not everyone is a leader and not everyone can become one. Our personality dictates who we are and not our levels of education. Honesty about oneself is crucial here. In many cases those with Marine Corps officer potential will stick out during the high school years and it's not hard to see the difference between those who can serve as officers and those who are a better fit for the enlisted side.
It's important to point out that not having what it takes to become a USMC officer should not be viewed as a bad thing. And becoming an officer does not mean you are better than the enlisted Marines. Each role is equally important and respected.
An easier way to view this decision is this: If you were going to work at Wal-Mart, would you be applying for a job as a "regular" worker (cashier, greeter, stocker, etc etc) like we see when we go into a Wal-Mart, or would you be applying for a job in management such as store managers or supervisors who we rarely see and who work in the Wal-Mart offices and answer to much more important people. My point here is that very few of us have the skills needed to run things or to be the one in charge despite wanting to serve in these positions.
Think about this: Even if you didn't need a college degree to become an officer, most people couldn't handle the type of duties and responsibilities that officers have to deal with and they wouldn't want to do that type of work. This is just the way it is.
👉Whether you are leading your Marines into battle or are in charge of your work office, a Marine Corps officer has a responsibility that not all of us can handle or want to handle. It is important that you clearly understand that the role of an officer is 100 percent different than that of an enlisted Marine. Do not make the mistake of thinking that when you enlist, you have the option of becoming an officer or enlisted as if both roles are more or less the same. It is important you figure out where you naturally fit into and to not force yourself into a position you have no business being in.
👉Officer qualities: Open minded, well organized, self-disciplined, self-motivated, confident, stern, quick thinkers, responsible, honest, loyal, professional, and understanding. These are just a few of the traits an officer must possess. An officer will earn the respect of his Marines by setting the example. Leadership by example is essential to an officer's success and it is you who must earn it.
👉Examine who you are: And make your decision only after you have been completely honest with yourself. Again, never assume that a college degree equals leadership abilities and never assume that you are so flexible that you can become both enlisted and officer. There are reasons the majority of people become enlisted which is why it is not common that someone can do both with great effect. The facts of life are that if you fit into one role, then you most likely will not fit into the other. This same concept applies to life. Not everyone can just apply to a job and expect to be the one in charge. Those who lead and assume the most responsibility are those who are clearly separated from the masses because of natural talent in most cases. Self-evaluation is the key to determining where you best fit into and just be honest with yourself.
👉A college degree is a powerful weapon in life: But on the battlefield being book smart can get Marines killed. And in the office it can lead to micro management and just overall bad leadership skills that will leave the unit with mixed thoughts about their leader. “All brains and no common sense equals no concept of reality.” I say again, officers are not better than enlisted, they simply have a very difficult mission which is nothing like the mission of the enlisted Marine. If you want to be an officer because you get paid more or do not work as hard physically, or live in better quarters/housing, then I suggest to you to seek employment elsewhere.
👉If you have the idea of enlisting first to become an officer, then stop and think about everything that must happen for this to come true:
❶You must enlist into the Marine Corps
❷You must pass boot camp
❸You must get into an acceptable college
❹You must earn your four year degree
❺You must get accepted into one of the programs to become an officer
❻You must pass this program
**The proper path to become an officer does not begin by going enlisted first. When a Marine serves as an enlisted Marine for a few years and then becomes an officer, in many of these cases the Marine didn't start his USMC career with this plan. What happens many times is while an enlisted Marine is serving, his leaders and or he will notice officer type qualities in him or her and then recommend to that Marine that they try to earn a commission. This is very very different than a future Marine creating the idea in his mind that he will enlist first and while serving he will bang out his college degree and then he will become an officer.
***Be very careful when thinking you can enlist first and eventually become an officer or when your main goal is to become an officer but you are being pressured to go enlisted first. Keep in mind that shit happens in life. You can deploy and this will delay your college. The USMC may change their rules and you may not be allowed to try to become an officer. You may not like the USMC or you may realize you are not officer material. You may start a family and not want to live this life. Death in the family can cause you to change. Who knows. Just make sure you are looking at this with an open mind and don't assume that becoming an officer is as simple as getting a degree and then applying.
👉Officers are people just like you and I and just like enlisted Marines. Some will be more fair than others. So don’t expect to have the perfect officer in charge of you all the time and if you become one, don’t expect everyone to greet you with open arms. You go through several officers in your enlistment as a Marine. Officers are rotated in and out of units. Like any work place there will be some good ones and some bad ones. And being a brand new boot officer is just like being a brand new boot enlisted Marine. You have to learn the ropes from those who have experience.
--Officer candidates do not go through boot camp like enlisted Marines go through. They have their own training program that is much harder and unlike boot camp, they will fail you if you do not perform to their standards. Enlisted boot camp is a cake walk compared to trying to become an officer and unlike boot camp, the officer programs actually do a great job at weeding out those who have no business being there. And if you do a program like the PLC during college and end up getting into some sort of trouble like many students do, I sure hope you are not kicked out. Remember, future officers just like officers are held to much higher standards, so remember this.
-- And as an officer you can be held accountable for the actions of your Marines to some degree. Just look at the news and you'll see military officers getting busted for everything from making bad decisions that led to death or injury to you name it. Officers have much more at stake therefore they have way more to lose, so know the risks.
--Something to think about: Have you ever met a homeless veteran who was an officer? Have you ever met a veteran officer who had a drug problem? I'm sure a few do exists, but I have yet to meet one. Think about why you don't see veteran officers with the same issues as enlisted veterans.
📌I’ll leave you with this: If you are undecided about which path to take, then you’re probably better suited for the enlisted path.
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