Advice and Info About Enlisting Into the Marine Corps

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LIFE AFTER THE USMC

THE FOLLOWING INFO IS DIRECTED MORE TO ACTIVE DUTY MARINES AND NOT RESERVE MARINES SEEING AS RESERVIST DO NOT SEE THE SAME ISSUES AS ACTIVE MARINES ONCE THEY SEPARATE FROM THE CORPS.

It is very important that you clearly understand that what your life is like after you have served in the Marine Corps is not always dictated by what you did in the Corps. Just because you serve in the Marine Corps, this does not mean your civilian life will now be easier and that jobs will come looking for you. It also doesn't mean that you will be vaulted onto Wall St. or that you will end up homeless. You are most likely going to succeed or fail in this life regardless if you serve in the USMC or not.

Basically when you leave the USMC it will be very similar as to when you graduated high school or college in the sense that you will or may feel lost, unable to fit in, hesitant, or you may just want to take a year off or so and relax. The amount of time you serve also plays a huge role in how smoothly you can transition back to civilian life. Obviously the less time you serve, the easier it will be to adapt. Don’t buy into the bullshit that after serving just one enlistment you will be so drastically changed that you won’t be able to adjust to society and this applies to any job including infantry. How quickly you adapt back to the civilian world will depend on your character/person, length of service, what job you had, and whether you experienced something that may of traumatized you. We are all different, so how quickly we adapt is going to vary from person to person.

"What kind of job can I get after leaving the Marines" is a very common question many of you ask. It all comes down to you. No job is going to hire you just because you were a Marine. Any job you apply for you still must pass their hiring process regardless of what you did in the Corps. And just because you did a job in the Marines that you think translates to a civilian job, this isn't gonna get you a free pass into that civilian job. I cannot stress this point enough: At the end of the day you are the one who must sell yourself to any prospective employer in order to get hired and serving in the USMC isn't a free pass into any job you may want.

You also need to remember that the USMC is not in the business of giving you future job skills, but they are getting better at it since it helps with recruiting. If this happens while you serve, then great. If it doesn’t then oh well, it is a Marine Corps and not a job corps program, so remember that. The cold hard truth about why many Marine veterans struggle once they leave the Corps is simply because this is who they are and regardless if they served or not, they were bound to have trouble finding work no matter what.

Any job you do in the Marines will help you once you get out, and very few jobs translate directly into civilian jobs. Contrary to popular belief, if you wanted to be in law enforcement one you get out, you do not have to be an MP while in the Marines. It is not necessary and the two jobs are very different. What matters most is that you serve honorably. If you suck at doing job interviews, then you may have a hard time landing any job. If a person with no military experience and you apply for the same job, then the one who best sells himself will be the one who gets the job. Once again, just being in the USMC doesn’t mean you just get any job you want. You still have to get out there and apply just like everyone else, and you must be able to present/sell yourself. Law enforcement jobs and federal jobs have a tough interview process and this is where most people screw up. Not all of us can be interviewed and present ourselves, so be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

If you have a specific career field you want to go into once you get out, then yes, doing that job in the USMC will really help you. Please keep in mind that at the ages of 17-21 most of you do not know what you want to do later on in life. So when you pick a job in the USMC that you can use later on in life, you are assuming you will enjoy this job as a career and we all know how most young adults love to change their minds often. When you pick a job in the Corps that you will want to do after you get out, you need to remember this: You are assuming you will like that job. You are also assuming that the job field will be hiring when you get out. And you're assuming that the job field will be located near you when you get out and you're assuming your USMC job will translate and be accepted by the civilian world. This is why you must look at all aspects of the job field before picking it. It is not as simple as you picking job X and then getting out and hired in job X. It is important to research the job you hope to one day have while in the USMC so you can start preparing for it as soon as possible.
Most Marines don’t use their exact job that they had in the USMC once they get out. What they use is the USMC experience as a whole to get jobs and to excel in the work force. In my opinion enlisting into the USMC to gain future job skills is a no no unless you have a specific job that you are certain you may strive for once you get out and unless you are a very driven and dedicated person. The USMC is a once in a lifetime experience, so why would you want to do a job in the USMC that you can do as a civilian? Once again, it is the Marine Corps and not a job corps.

AND LETS BE VERY HONEST: Many veterans when they get out will not be able to find work do to a wide range of reasons. Many of us struggle to find work regardless if we serve or not. My proof is this: Take a look at how many 18-25 year olds who have not served are out of work or cannot find work. So why would you think that by serving you are now better than them and that jobs will be begging you to come work for them? Just keep in mind we are all different and not all of us are made to have a cool fancy successful job. That is just how life works and this is the cold hard truth. Many people who get out of any branch end up working at Mc Donalds, Wal Mart, or as truck drivers as examples. Those people would of ended up working their anyways, because this is what they are cut out for in life. That is just how life is.

Some veterans get out and become very successful. In many cases the reason is simple. These people most likely would have been a success regardless if they served or not. Having served only makes them that much stronger in the civilian work field. Once again, we are not all the same, so do not expect to have the success that others have. Life doesn’t work like that. Not all of us come from the same backgrounds or social status. So for many of us once we get out we have nothing to come home to, while others have a family business to come home to or a very stable environment and or they are rich and therefore have many more options. This is why you have veterans who are homeless and veterans who are millionaires. Remember, it is not always the military that decides our future.

I want to point something out: If you struggled during high school and have no serious plans of going to college and if you come from a troubled home where there is little support and direction, then it might be in your best interest to pick a job in the USMC that may possibly help you land a decent job once you get out. Many of you who this example applies to will pick the infantry MOS and in many cases this MOS isn't going to do you a bit of good once you get out since the negatives are already stacked against you. On the flip side of this example: If you come from a very stable and supportive home and if you plan on attending college and are very self-driven, then with or without the USMC your future looks promising, don't you think. So in these cases it isn't as important to try to land future job skills.

To wrap up this topic:

  • If a Marine or anyone else tells you to pick a job that will teach you a trade which can be used in the civilian world, this is not wrong advice. If a Marine or anyone else tells you to not worry about future job skills and to just pick a job you want to do, this advice is also not wrong. We all join for our own reasons and each of you needs to decide why you want to enlist and what you hope to gain from enlisting. Society often judges military veterans incorrectly. If a veteran is not successful as a civilian, many will blame his military service. If a veteran is successful, many will praise the military. You have to actually sit down and interview each veteran to see how their military service may of effected them as civilians. It's not as simple as you serving in the USMC and you will either emerge a success or failure.

  • I will say this again: Just because you serve in the Marine Corps this does not mean you can get a job easier when you get out or that jobs are going to come looking for you once you get out.

  • The USMC is getting much better in giving you future job skills, so while serving look into how your job may translate to the civilian world and look into how your schooling as a Marines translates into civilian college credits.

  • Chances are very very good that if you fail after the USMC, then you would of have failed regardless if you had served or not.

Chances are very very good that if you succeed after the USMC, then you would of have succeeded regardless if you had served or not.

  • Think about this: An officer has a college degree and is usually more stable than a young enlisted Marine. Who do you think will struggle more once they get out? It is very important you be very honest in who you are and who you aren’t.

  • It is never too early to start thinking of your future. Keep in mind there is no set rule that states you must have your future career figured out by a certain age. It will take some of you longer than others to figure it all out, so don't stress out when trying to figure your future out.


  • We all have choices to make and unfortunately we don’t always make the correct ones. This is why some veterans may end up homeless while others go on to live happily ever after. Just remember that life isn't always fair and we all are not meant to be successful.

  • Many veterans just like anyone else will bounce from job to job until they finally find a job that works for them, so don't be discouraged when trying to land that perfect job once you get out.


The Marine Corps is not responsible for you once you decide to get out, and you must never forget this.