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Canadian Forces


http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/lf/index.asp

Size of company: Large (More than 500 employees)

Industry: Government and Public Administration

  • My career with the Army was full of ups and downs. I was an Officer and an NCM. Both, in the Reserves and the Regular Force. I was raised myself in a military household. I worked across Canada in most provinces with different units. That's why it makes it very hard to speak generally about the Forces overall. I can however give my own take on my experience.

    The Canadian Military is certainly a professional organization. Everything is documented and recorded with everything from pay, performance, qualifications, tasks, postings, medical, dental, and disciplinary measures. All this leads to a very high level of accountability. However the system can be agonizingly slow at times. Typical government red tape. Most times it's a necessity to keep everyone "in the loop" but sometimes it's just people justifying their jobs, but in government work this is commonplace. Accept it.

    Training is world class. I've never seen more professional instructors and training equipment. You can debate that training aids and facilities are sometimes dated but you train with the equipment you will use and the setting is trivial. The greatest training program in the CF will always be mentoring and on the job training, no classroom can ever replicate this. However, a terrible or non-existent mentor/supervisor can certainly hamper the career progression of a motivated employee.

    The biggest downside in all jobs in the CF is a factor that cannot be avoided. That is your supervisor. A poor performing supervisor can devastate and stagnate a willingly hopeful recruits career. Slow or "lost" paperwork, making a soldier continually resubmit a memo six times in order just to frustrate the soldier and discourage future memos/paperwork for the supervisor. I've had encounters with some who "have their own rules", sometimes with good results, sometimes bad. The common maxim among members is: "Don't like your supervisor? Wait six months". People are constantly re-organizing, training, being tasked out, posted, etc. It sucks for the moment but eventually you'll have someone else. Keep your chin down, helmet on, and endure.

    Inter-Office politics is generally an Officer exclusive gripe. People justifying their jobs, hoarding power, unnecessary paperwork roadblocks, and general snobbery in some cases. In my experience, new RMC (Royal Military College) Graduates are the worst ("Ring Knockers") with an air of elitism and favoritism to other graduates. Some grow out of it when they hit their respective units, some don't.

    Pay and Benefits are terrific. Overall the pay is very good versus the civilian equivalent for most jobs. Your benefits are incredibly good with full medical/dental/drugs(certain exceptions). Reimbursements for job related costs are generally covered (i.e. taxis, meals, board on work related training/trips).

    The only things that I would caution people about joining are the very things that make the military...well the military. Inherent aspects that come with the job. Boys, you can't have long hair (unless Aboriginal). Girls, no heavy make-up (in uniform). Yes you have to wear a uniform and look like everyone else (there is a reason it's a noun, verb, AND adjective). You will have to work away from your family for extended periods and get paid the same whether you work 6 hours a day or 24 hours without sleep. Once you complete your training you could very well be sent anywhere you are needed across Canada, sometimes you get a choice/preference, sometimes none. And ultimately there will be a chance of danger if you are chosen to deploy overseas.

    Finally, Basic training sucks. It's designed to suck. But the point is to actually challenge you to grow, to get out of your 'comfort zone' and to realize that you can't do it alone, drop your ego, listen to your elders/superiors, drop the attitude, open your ears/shut your mouth and learn something.

    Posted on 18 February 2011 by Rater #95 | Flag as inappropriate

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