Ask Jack? “What’s the best job in the Navy?”

In my last post I said I would answer any question you have about absolutely anything. This has proven to be a very popular venture. I have received more emails than ever before (some quite disturbing).

My first question comes from Thomas, who asks:

“What is the best job to apply for in the U.S. Navy?”

This is a great question and it deserves a solid answer. Unfortunately he asked me. Choosing your job is the most important decision you can make when you join the Navy. There is a popular expression in the enlisted ranks that says: “Choose your rate; choose your fate.” Essentially it means that this relatively uninformed decision you make when you join the Navy will affect your entire career.

Let’s say that you always wanted to learn welding and so you choose Hull Maintenance Technician (HT) because the little card they showed you at MEPS said that the HTs weld things. Then you discover that in addition to welding, HTs also are plumbers who are constantly dealing with toilets. Or maybe after all that welding school, you realize that the one thing you truly hate is welding. Well that’s tough luck for you because you will be welding and unclogging toilets for the remainder of your time in the Navy.

Or let’s say that you have always wanted to be a fire fighter so you sign up for Damage Controlman (DC) only to find out the majority of your job is training everyone else on the ship how to use damage control equipment (and many of them can’t even master the “righty-tighty, lefty-loosey” concept).

The fact of the matter is that the Navy is not all unicorns and butterflies (unless you are a UB – Unicorn and Butterfly Technician), a lot of Navy life is really hard, thankless work. There is no job without a long list of downsides to them. No matter what job you pick, you will spend a good amount of time in your first enlistment wishing you had chosen something else (although later-on you will spend an inordinate amount of time telling others you have the best and most important job in the Navy.)

Sure, I know there are those of you saying that the Navy SEALs don’t have that problem, they are a bunch of confident warriors, who regret nothing. That might be true, but I doubt it. To even be a SEAL you have to go through about two years of intense training, and according to the 450,000 documentaries that have been made about our Navy’s most secret warriors, that training is also lacking in the unicorn and butterfly department.

So what’s the best job in the Navy? What field should young Thomas look into? After almost 20 years in the Navy I have discovered that the best job you can have is any job other than the one you actually have. I hope that helps. Good luck on your career Thomas.

If you have any questions for “Ask Jack?” click here or here. I am ready to provide knowledge and wisdom (although ultimately I won’t).