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Old 13 October 2016, 17:37
Rockout Rockout is offline
Been There Done That
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 24
There is more valuable information and advice in this thread than many of you perusing it know. In fact, this should be a sticky. I'll try not to play repeater, but my recommendation for all looking to get into contracting is to read this thread daily and focus on what was written by the very knowledgeable members of the forum that took the time to give advice.

Understand what you want to do and where you want to be in 10 years.
Plan for the future.
Retirement pays every month.
Continue your education now. In most corporate jobs, a degree is your ticket to entry.
Your military service may not be understood. A degree is universal.
Make sure your school is regionally accredited.
MARSOC - you said you are looking for a change.
If you decide to contract, keep going to school until you finish.
Shooters are a dime a dozen. In a shrinking market can you wait for events to change? Get a skill, medic/sniper while you are in.

Good luck
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Old 15 October 2016, 19:52
ExSquid ExSquid is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: CONUS
Posts: 396
Before I give you my dos centavos, here is my story. I did ten years AD. I wasn't happy with where my career was heading and got out. I did two years contracting with a big name company during the high times, 2004-2006. I wasn't a SOF guy and the guys that I knew working the high level stuff were. I wanted to be like them, so I joined the NG and went SF. I figured that would give me a leg up. I Guard bummed for a few years and realized I liked having a steady paycheck and benefits so I returned to AD. Now I am preparing for retirement.

I enjoyed the hell out of contracting and would go back to it in a minute if I could get HH6 approval. But, contracting isn't as cool as being an AD SF guy. Also, I would have much more control of my life doing it now with my pension and benefits. If I decided to not take a gig because the money wasn't right I would still have money coming in. I also saved and invested when I contracted instead of living the rock star life some of my fellow contractors did. If you are lucky, life is long. Look at your situation with that in mind. My suggestion is to stay in and go to MARSOC, they have a lot going for them. Oh, and get a degree too.

"Rule # 76; no excuses, play like a champion."
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Old 15 October 2016, 23:02
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leopardprey leopardprey is offline
Been There Done That
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 16,769
^outstanding advice, and you did real well for yourself Ex-Squid.

Listen to Ex-Squid, don't find out the hard way like some of us did.
"Look Sharp, Act Sharp, Be Sharp - But don't cut yourself!"
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Old 16 October 2016, 07:24
Dino0311 Dino0311 is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Northeast
Posts: 13,002
If I had it to do all over again I'd probably have joined the Army and attempted SF rather than contracting. And I'm one of the few that saved and invested.
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Old 16 October 2016, 07:56
Gsniper Gsniper is online now
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Virginia
Posts: 9,316
It's difficult to put a solid monetary value on a military retirement. On the surface, I don't get paid much as a retired E7, but when you add in the healthcare bennies, any disability you get from the VA and other odds and ends, it's a significant amount. I've dabbled with contracting for the last 10 years, but it's that steady retirement check that keeps me from having to work all the time.

Everybody's circumstances are different. If you can stand it, stay in. go MARSOC, whatever. Change MOS, etc.
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Old 16 October 2016, 08:38
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Silverbullet Silverbullet is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Bunker
Posts: 16,330
Yeah, I could live on my retired pay if I moved way south and lived in a double wide.

The total of mine since retirement is 672k. I know because I haven't spent any of it as it just goes into a couple funds that I never touch.

I did not stay in for benefits or pay. I stayed because of the life and what it offered. We all complain about those who are just in for the paycheck. My opinion is Willy should do what he has the fire to do. He wouldn't be a Recon Marine if he wasn't a solid high level dude (for the most part. We all know losers are around the company/Bn) This forum certainly isn't the first place he heard of MarSoc either.

He needs to weigh all factors. The one thing I would note is it's harder to get out and the. Returning nowadays so at should be part of the decision making process. Testing the waters outside is not as easy as it once was.
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Old 16 October 2016, 13:05
Just Call Me Doc Just Call Me Doc is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 35
From my brief experiences as a security contractor, it seemed to me that my job was to simply babysit the people who are making changes in the world. While you are relatively well-paid, get to carry around guns, and look cool, your impact on the equation is minimal to none. The people you are shuttling around are the ones that make some sort of difference (good or bad). And while I'm sure some of them are solid people, there are a lot of weenies and clueless hippies out there that are at the reigns of these decisions. There are many reasons that we joined the military but I feel that a lot of us joined to make some sort of impact. Money and having a "cool" job is great but I think what drives us to excel everyday is the hope of making a contribution. To our country, our unit, or our team. Personally, I struggled to find much meaning in what I was doing while contracting besides the big paycheck. Fortunately, the primary reason I was working out there was to help fund bigger and better things (i.e. school) so that one day I can be one of those guys trying to help make changes in the world. Try to replace a weenie or clueless hippie someday.

In regards to school, while going through classes recently I thought about how well my brethren could excel there. They have a drive, perspective, and discipline that many of these kids can't even fathom. This extends to a lot of civilians I've met in the workforce and many recon marines with the right education would easily overshadow them. Bottom-line, as long as you're not a rock (which I have met a couple in bn) you have the potential to succeed well.

In the end you just have to figure out what matters to you in life. My humble advise would be to dream big. We need good solid guys in MARSOC and we need good solid guys making a difference in the rest of the world (government, health care, business, etc...) And even if you're just looking for a well-funded lifestyle, if you're willing to put in a little legwork in the short-term you can have a more stable and even larger income. If you do decide to go the contracting route, as has been emphasized ad nauseam already, have a plan for afterwards. There is nothing necessarily wrong with going for the big easy paycheck, but make sure that's enough to drive you when everything else falls away. You don't want to be stuck in that path without a good exit strategy.

Good luck.
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Old 16 October 2016, 16:29
CAVmedic CAVmedic is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Midwest U.S.
Posts: 1,501
Great thread. My plans echo a lot of others in here.
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