Many people believe that soldiers live secretive lives and are constantly in battle with the enemy or getting mortared and bombed. Some people believe that soldiers face constant danger in their everyday lives. On the other hand, many soldiers believe that civilians have unimportant jobs and lead bland lives. Although the military requires soldiers to live more strict and disciplined lifestyles, non-military people enjoy more freedoms. However, there are many similarities and differences between the lives of a soldier and a civilian.
In the military, soldiers have to abide by a base-mandated curfew, whereas civilians do not have to worry about curfews. In addition, most soldiers live on their respective military bases and civilians do not. Soldiers get an allowance for housing expenses because their pay rates tend to be less than an equivalent civilian job, but soldiers also get paid on salary instead of hourly like many civilian jobs do. Both civilians and soldiers are normally off work by 5 p.m. and both have to work long, frustrating hours at times, but a soldier is on call 24 hours a day and most civilians are not.
More similarities between civilians and soldiers can be found at the workplace. Both lifestyles have ranking systems and retirement plans. Soldiers and civilians have to worry about having someone as their boss or supervisor, and both have to deal with a lot of paperwork. Healthcare insurance is offered by military and civilian jobs, and both offer worker and family coverage plans. The military offers 15 days of paid vacation annually, which is comparable to most civilian jobs. Also, the military and most civilian jobs have a dress code, whether it is a combat uniform, a business suit, workout gear, or casual business attire.
Civilian jobs differ from military-associated jobs in a few important legal aspects. The military offers more job security than most civilian jobs, but that is because soldiers are bound by a service contract. In civilian jobs, the worker can quit at any time, but a soldier cannot. Also, soldiers are bound by law to adhere to the rules and regulations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Soldiers live by a creed and abide by certain values, depending on the branch of service. While civilians carry briefcases and go on business meetings, soldiers carry weapons and go on deployments. Soldiers train early in the morning and have formations to take accountability for their equipment and each other. On the other hand, civilians can choose which shift of work to take, and they can also choose when and where to workout. Civilians do not have formations; instead they have business meetings and conferences.
Many soldiers leaving the military find the transition back into civilian life difficult due to the many differences between the two. However, there are some soldiers that find it easy to switch back to a civilian lifestyle because of how similar the two lifestyles are. The same applies for a person that is going into the service; some find the change of lifestyle to be easy while others find it more difficult. Nonetheless, both lifestyles offer great opportunities and, despite contrasting greatly, work together to provide a stable and diverse economy. The military life is not for everyone, but neither is a civilian lifestyle.