If you’re reading this blog, today should be the 30th of May, 2012. Assuming of course I use the schedule function here correctly, of which there is no real guarantee knowing yours truly, and I wrote this in early March. I also should be somewhere in Kabul, enjoying my second sabbatical in Central Asia. The significance of today is that this will be the final day of twenty years of service in the Army.

For those not in the know, the military offers a unique system of retirement. You basically get fully vested at only twenty years, at which point you can get out at half your base pay. Any years beyond twenty earn you an addtional 2.5% each up to 75%. Not a bad deal, overall. Of course, this is something our mouth-breathing elected officials love to look at on regular intervals as a cost-saving target, never mind they’re vested after about five minutes in Congress and exempt from any laws they pass. But that’s another post…

So here I am on 20-Years’-Eve. Scary, kinda, when you think about it, and it seems like just yesterday I was a fucktarded Second Lieutenant fresh from the factory, paint not yet dry on my bar and still sopping-wet behind the ears. Flash forward to now, and I’m a Lieutenant Colonel (emphasis on the ‘colon’ part of that) who’s probably looking at dim promotion odds going into our post-war military structure slash-a-thon, again sponsored by those we elected to keep the Capitol warm via body heat.

People often ask me how long I plan on staying in, and I always answer honestly: “Until this shit stops being fun.” Believe it or not, I still have plenty of fun, but I think if I squint really hard and shade my eyes, I might be able to see that point from here. I don’t rightly know. I’ve not given this much serious thought, either, and admittedly I should be. The problem is, after being immersed in military culture for (20+4 college years = ) 24 actual years, I have no clue what I’d be good at as a civilian and I loathe wearing ties. Some ideas I had for resume material:

Can produce detailed plans for conquest of foreign nations both large and small

Expert at generating obscure acronyms

The go-to guy when you absolutely, positively have to fuck something up overnight using large-caliber weapons

Can shoot the ass off of a gnat at a range of a mile using a tank

Knows five ways to kill a human using a paper clip

So clearly I have some research to do. Then again, after I decide and finally find my way out of the Army, I sometimes think something low-key would be a nice change of pace:

  • WalMart greeter. At 40-something I’d have great longevity in this position given who I usually see doing this job.
  • Library book reshelver. I like books, and I’m ready for some quiet time.
  • Guy in the pit at Jiffy Lube. After playing with tanks, oil is not foreign to me.
  • Medical test subject. After 20+ years, I’m tired and therefore great at just laying there.

The good news is, as I stated, I’m not yet bored or pissed, so on we go.

59 Responses to “Retirement”

  1. You do NOT want to shelve books at a library. That stereotype of grumpy old ladies is very much alive and kicking.

    You’d be shoving books up people’s asses your second week, trust me.

  2. Ahahhah xD That’s some funny ass shit right there…… Oddly enough just last week my Uncle who’s a Commodore in the Indian navy let us all know he’s retiring next year….. Most odd.

    Not to worry man, as far as I’ve heard people out of the military with management experience ( fuck, you can even drive a tank if it comes to it ) get money thrown at them and are asked to mess around with powerpoint πŸ˜› .

    Glad to know you’re getting all melancholy in Kabul….. Write a book maybe?

    • Commodore, huh? Wow, that’s impressive… and the Indian Navy is no slouch organization either. Yeah, Kabul is just awesome. Come visit.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I so badly want to visit Afghanistan! You have no idea…… But Imagine pitching a trip there to my parents :-/ .
        Got started on Khaleed Hosseini’s books?

  3. I think whatever you choose, you’ll be great at it. I think you should write a book. What you’ll write about is up to you, but your writing style is phenomenal and I would absolutely read it.

    P.S. I am really interested in learning the ways of paper-clip weaponry.

  4. Somehow, I can’t see you sitting back in your lazy boy with your cardigan and your slippers writing your memoirs. I’m thinking army life is hard to get out of…You need a Gibbs job…

  5. There’s plenty of jobs that don’t require ties and plenty of places looking for consultants or other types with military backgrounds. Now… are the two one in the same? Who knows. Anyway, congrats on the milestone.

  6. whiteladyinthehood Says:

    I think when the time comes – you’ll know when to pour the sand outta those Army boots and hang em up. Then…..I think you should build furniture and in your spare time – write a cookbook.

  7. Start your own army – The Army of Rants!

  8. Hell of a milestone, Rants. Congrats! And to still love what you do? Even more impressive.
    I’d see if I could get you a job in my office, but there’s waaaay too many paperclips here, and waaaaay too many opporunities to use them.

  9. First off, congratulations, no matter what you decide from here.

    Second, I assume it’s purely theoretical at the moment, since it seem unlikely a bell’s going to go off in Kabul, you drop what you’re doing and say, “Aaaaand, that’s it. See ya.”

    Third, I know a guy who was army, CIA field op, and LA cop, who then became a librarian. Loved it. He also may be a sociopath, but that’s a separate issue. Still – the quiet and order was just the thing. Just don’t put a book back on the shelf randomly.

  10. Congrats. Someone beat me to my idea as a military consultant, although I had Hollywood in mind. So my next thought was porn director.

  11. congrats! Man you are old! πŸ™‚ You could probably do just about anything. I hear Disney is hiring vets. You could be Mickey Mouse. (oh I would pay to see that)

  12. I vote for library page. You’d be surprised how many military vets do that job…I work with several now. Whatever you choose, all the best and I know you’ll kick ass at it.

  13. Hey Brain,

    Your job situation is very like that of my own back in 1981. As a Navy O-5 I had turned down a job vital to future promotion but which would have meant severe family separation and hardship, so I was faced with military retirement after 22 years. Like you, I was at loose ends about employment, but in my case I needed to return to the Joplin, MO area because of my widowed mother and mentally disabled sister. Fortunately there was one potential employer here who was interested in my engineering degree. Unfortunately the pay they offered was low – commensurate with starting engineers actually. I was lucky in one regard though – I had great job security and was allowed great leeway in being technically creative.

    Looking back on it all I have come to some conclusions about it. From an employer’s viewpoint you are a square peg that doesn’t fit into the round holes available. Your experience doesn’t fit, you are used to a structured, bureaucratic environment, and you likely think you’re worth too much money. You might be a fit in a large defense-contracting company but otherwise you present a training problem.

    Look at it this way. Your inflation-indexed military retirement pay will allow you the luxury of not starving while you explore the options, something I recommend you take plenty of time for. Network all you can, including with relatives who might give you a recommendation. Also, don’t give up your own interest or a talent-fit for extra money. You won’t be happy. Unless you join a police force or something like that, civilian work is likely to be really boring compared to what you’re used to. Cranking out an extra thousand widgets per month just doesn’t get the old juices flowing.

    Whatever you find, I predict it will be found by accident. Our oldest son, a college drop-out, retired as a Navy E-8 Aviation Electrician after 22 a few years ago. He had this vision a buddy told him about of being a sheriff’s deputy. It only took him a month or two of shepherding lunkhead prisoners for him to realize what a bummer that was. Now he’s working for the feds in helicopter maintenance for the Coast Guard and delighted to be doing something he knows how to do. Enlisted guys, some of them at least, have skills officers lack.

    When you decide to go, I hope it is with open eyes and a healthy dose of humility. At least that’s my unsolicited recommendation. And, good luck to you, Brain.


  14. John Erickson Says:

    First off, congrats. Second off, I say you go entrepreneur. Between your wood-working skills and your wubbie … er .. blanket making skills, open a home-shop on the Net. Make a few millions. πŸ˜€
    Besides, once you’ve been under a tank, everything else is just so … CIVILIAN. πŸ˜‰

  15. Congrats on putting in 20 years! Gees, with a resume like that, who WOULDN’T hire you?! If you come across a great librarian gig let me know, I’ve been contemplating that one too.

  16. My brother says he’s going to be a paid assassin when he gets out. I’m saving my money ‘cuz I know a lot of people who need killing. Hopefully, he has a family discount.

    Congrats on 20+ years!

  17. Neurologically speaking from this therapist’s standpointe, you have a fabulously rare mix of left-brained organization skills and right-brained creativity. Therefore, you will excel in whatever you pursue. Throw in a little bacon and Sriracha, and you’re good to go wherever you damn well please. Rock on, dude.

  18. I have confidence that you will land on your feet . . . whatever you decide. Here’s to 20 years (and counting).

  19. Wal-mart greeters are a thing of the past, much to my DH’s chagrin. That was his go-to job after retirement. Now he’ll have to find something else.

    As for the paper clip thing, I need details. πŸ˜€


    stay safe love

  21. I don’t know what you might do once you reach Civvy Street. Whatever it becomes, it will be awesomesauce. I’m still as impressed as Hell, and all soft and mushy, that you’ve set Diana up to join us here in adoration. Welcome and thank you, Mrs. Rants. If wishes were fact, the knight will ride home safe and proud.


      i’m having some technically difficulty setting this all up, but if you can’t beat them over their head with a stick I am joining and will write what I wish to write about. Love my husband and am fighting for a lot that I never should have had to fight for So I bring heaven and Hell my way! Watch out followers……LOL And thank you


      Thank you darlin’ though Rants didn’t get me started. I decided to start my own blog, with some dificulty figuring out all the bull shit. But I just figured “Fuck it” with all due respect to my husband whom is across the world and I worry about each and every day! Thus far he is still “my Man” and I will fight to the death for him! Your probably going what? It’s between him and I and a few others out there. But I would appreciate help with, how the hell do I put my pic up since all knows all about us anyhow?


    why can’t I get my pic up Ranters?????

  23. I think you’d be a fantastic correspondent journalist, or novelist. Just sayin’. Collection of short stories would be a nice start…

    But it’s up to you ultimately.

  24. There’s always the prison systems. Either state or federal. I worked with a lot of prior-service folks when I worked for TDCJ. My experience, corrections officer to captain are the fun positions. Majors and wardens just have a lot of paperwork and don’t get to have any fun.

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