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Is it realistic to join the reserve in my situation

JPP

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Greetings everyone,

I hope you are all managing well the current situation.

I am a 35 years old healthy and athletic man with a current civilian profession in banking (full time with extra hours - its a managing position).

When I was around 20 years of age, during my university time, I joined an Army Reserve unit near CFB valcartier and did the basic soldier training. Unfortunately I had to quit after because of civilian life opportunities that made keeping both profession nearly impossible.

So I was wondering if:

- Is it realistic to apply for a part-time job in a reserve unit at my age while working full-time as a civilian?
- I am looking for a more administrative position within the CAF (because its where I believe I can pull my weight better - but I am open.
- Is there many civilian joining and going directly to a lower officier rank without climbing the ladder? Is it something generally well accepted ?

I am not doing that for the money. I am someone that still believe in service!

Regards
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Welcome aboard!

I will answer you questions with questions...

Are you able to get a summer or two away from work/family to complete the initial phase of training?

Can you commit an evening each week and a weekend a month?

If the answer to these questions is "Yes" then its realistic to join the Reserves. Its not easy, but lots of professionals juggle civilian work, family and the Reserves. Your age is not really a barrier as you are athletic and healthy.

Regarding your last question, are you asking if its OK to not seek advancement? Its been over twenty years since I was a Reservist, but we certainly had soldiers/junior officers who had very busy jobs that were unable to get the time off for career courses (either NCM or officer) - there were certainly no issues in my unit with this. Not everybody has to be on the fast track to promotion!

Warm regards,

T2B

 

Mike5

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I resemble that comment...

When I joined, I WAS "a 45 years old healthy and athletic man with a current civilian profession in banking (full time with extra hours - its a managing position)."

No prior service. 

So:

- It is realistic to apply for a part-time job in a reserve unit at your age while working full-time as a civilian.
- Given experience in Banking, it is likely that you could contribute in a more administrative position (such as Clerk or Log O) within the CAF.
- Many civilians (including yours truly) join and go directly to the lowest officer rank (this is called Direct Entry Officer or DEO).

Tango2Bravo is absolutely correct, you would have to take two or more summers off for training.  Military leave is protected in Canadian law and your bank should have a formal military leave policy.  In my experience most managers are not aware of the policy -- expect challenges.  The Canadian Forces Liaison Council is your best resource on this.

Good luck!
 

Remius

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Most banks have leave provisions for reservists. 

From my experience as long as you keep your boss in the loop and give him or them enough warning they are very accommodating.  The issue is when guys ask the week before to take two months off for training.

Plenty of ressources as well to assit you in getting the time you need. 
 

Haggis

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JPP said:
- Is there many civilian joining and going directly to a lower officier rank without climbing the ladder? Is it something generally well accepted ?

Yes, you can join as an officer without having to start as a Private and climb the ranks to the Officer Corps.

There will be an expectation that you will take the steps to progress in rank and responsibility as the years pass.
 

brihard

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FWIW, Scotiabank is very reservist friendly. They’ve found some PR value in it.

https://www.scotiabank.com/careers/en/careers/communities/veterans-reservists.html
 

dimsum

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OP: 

Agree with all of the other posts but I wouldn't limit it to something that's like your day job.  Lots of Reservists do something completely unlike their day job specifically so it's not like work.  I've met scientists who are Boatswains (the typical "sailor" job that the public sees - not sure how I can explain it without getting into terms the public probably wouldn't understand), lawyers who navigate warships, and professors who are mechanics. 

If you see a unit that's close to you with a job that sounds interesting, go for it.  You'll probably be more happy than an admin role, unless you *really* like doing admin work.
 

JPP

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Thank you all for your detailed answers!  :nod:

It's really helpful.

I have more confidence in the feasibility of the process now !

To be honest I wasn't fully aware of the summers requirements for the training but that's something I can manage with sufficient planning !
 

dimsum

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JPP said:
To be honest I wasn't fully aware of the summers requirements for the training but that's something I can manage with sufficient planning !

The Army Reserve folks will know more but I thought there was weekend Army Reserve basic training? 
 

MilEME09

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Dimsum said:
The Army Reserve folks will know more but I thought there was weekend Army Reserve basic training?

There are but covid has made that difficult, there are still discussions if they will go ahead as there is concern over potential exposure since most troops will have full time jobs during the week or school. Full time summer is easier in a covid environment because the troops are all together and not interacting with anyone outside their bubbles.

Depending heavily on trade after BMQ and BMQ land most career courses must be done in the summer at the schools. Though there us talk that due to covid and traval/isolation restrictions some training may be decentralized.
 

BDTyre

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MilEME09 said:
There are but covid has made that difficult, there are still discussions if they will go ahead as there is concern over potential exposure since most troops will have full time jobs during the week or school. Full time summer is easier in a covid environment because the troops are all together and not interacting with anyone outside their bubbles.

Depending heavily on trade after BMQ and BMQ land most career courses must be done in the summer at the schools. Though there us talk that due to covid and traval/isolation restrictions some training may be decentralized.

It sounds like 39CBG will be running a weekend BMQ starting the first week of February. There is (or was recently) a weekend BMQ and driver wheeled currently being run.
 

MilEME09

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CanadianTire said:
It sounds like 39CBG will be running a weekend BMQ starting the first week of February. There is (or was recently) a weekend BMQ and driver wheeled currently being run.

41 has a weekend course about feb as well, but its dependent on the covid situation in the province.
 

Mike5

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Basic is usually run by the Reserve on weekends, in Toronto it is run several times a year .  If you want to go officer, you would take Basic Military Officer Qualification (BMOQ) Mod 1, this is about fifteen weekends (every second weekend); and BMOQ Mod 2 which was a five day course last time I checked.

The next course is Basic Military Officer Qualification - Army (BMOQ-A).  This was 10 weeks at a CAF base.  When I took it, you could break it up into two-week Mods and do it over several years; however, last I heard they were not offering that option.  Ten weeks is a lot of time to ask an employer for, so ask as early as possible (I suggest one year minimum).  Best advice is to speak to your regional contact at the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, they will give you excellent advice (and tools) for negotiating military leave with civilian employers.

The last course to become 'trade qualified' is your trade course.  I've heard that the timing of Logistic Officer trade training is good in order to accommodate working professionals -- but maybe a Log O could chime in?

Your Regiment may give you several years to complete the training -- but they will expect you to complete it in a timely manner.

Finally, budget for BMOQ-A and your trade course in advance.  Your mortgage / rent is not going to disappear for ten weeks, your employer is not required in law to pay you salary while on leave, the Army will pay you while on course but it may be less then your civilian wage.  You'll find NCM and officer pay scales on the CAF web page.

Your mileage may vary, course durations and timings change a little every year.

Good luck!
 

MJS

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You have received great answers to your questions. I've been the same rank for 20 years. I'd like to augment it with this Handbook of things that you can expect and other places to find answers. A military career doesn't necessarily have to ascend in a straight line. The time that you can commit can vary depending on life circumstances. If you have less time, take leave, if you have more time, take more courses, more exercises, or even a CL B position. https://army.ca/forums/threads/soldier-information-handbook-plq-and-other-stuff.133570/
 

JPP

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Thanks again for the great replies,

I agree with some of you: I should do something different than admin or finance.

So here's a little update after talking with two recruiters;

  • BMQ could be possible on weekends in my area (good news for me since a 2 months leave is nearly impossible in my line of work).
  • I have a MBA, but i'm not sure I wanna do the officer training at the moment. Even though the recruiter told me it does fit my profile, it seems I will do HR work...and since I am already managing people now I don't mind having a break from it in the reserve.
  • I narrowed down two options; Military intelligence (or called a Company) and a Signals unit. Both seem quite interesting (nice tech, interesting line of work, etc)

Do you guys have any comments regarding those two type of units ? Is one of them more tech friendly ?
 

Jarnhamar

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I have a MBA, but i'm not sure I wanna do the officer training at the moment. Even though the recruiter told me it does fit my profile, it seems I will do HR work...and since I am already managing people now I don't mind having a break from it in the reserve.

Just because you can do the officer route doesn't mean you need to, or should. If you're joining the reserves to try something different (and have fun) then going back into a managerial job (in the reserves) might not be great. Nothing stops you from joining the reserves as a non-commissioned member and becoming an officer down the road if you feel it's for you.

I've known a number of professionals in the reserves (police officer, CSIS, doctor) who loved just being a regular dude in the reserves.

Military intelligence and Signals both seem like really awesome and fun jobs to do.

I've heard military intelligence at the soldier level is a lot of paperwork and filing and data capture and officers do a little more of the exciting stuff.
Signals at a soldier level would be very physically involved and working with tech.


You could join the reserves with a signals unit to get a baseline for using their equipment and 4-6 years down the road look at transferring to intelligence.
 

daftandbarmy

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Thanks again for the great replies,

I agree with some of you: I should do something different than admin or finance.

So here's a little update after talking with two recruiters;

  • BMQ could be possible on weekends in my area (good news for me since a 2 months leave is nearly impossible in my line of work).
  • I have a MBA, but i'm not sure I wanna do the officer training at the moment. Even though the recruiter told me it does fit my profile, it seems I will do HR work...and since I am already managing people now I don't mind having a break from it in the reserve.
  • I narrowed down two options; Military intelligence (or called a Company) and a Signals unit. Both seem quite interesting (nice tech, interesting line of work, etc)

Do you guys have any comments regarding those two type of units ? Is one of them more tech friendly ?

I hate to be the party pooper here but if you're mid-30s with an MBA, and a demanding civvie job in banking, you really need to give your head a shake.

I know there are a few people on here who have managed to do all that in life, and still join the reserves. I've been around in the Reserves, as an Officer, for a couple decades or so and I don't know anyone who was able to make that adjustment successfully, mid-career that is, and keep everything on the rails.

99% of us start off as teenagers in college, where we basically give the Army most of our free time for about four years until we're qualified (Officer or NCM/NCO). I run a consulting business and have a family and, even though fully qualified, sometimes found it very difficult to manage to attend even 50-60% of the scheduled training during the week or on weekends.

If you still decide to join, think carefully about the trade you pick. I'm not a Spook or a Scaly Back but I know that both of those trades are highly technical and specialized, no matter what level you go in at. You can bet that, as a result, you will be required to pass a variety of demanding technically oriented courses and field/practical training type tests. Kind of like your job.

Infantry, like me? More fun, less specialized, get to take out all your (no doubt many) work frustrations on people with a bayonet ;)

Good luck!
 

CBH99

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I hate to be the party pooper here but if you're mid-30s with an MBA, and a demanding civvie job in banking, you really need to give your head a shake.

I know there are a few people on here who have managed to do all that in life, and still join the reserves. I've been around in the Reserves, as an Officer, for a couple decades or so and I don't know anyone who was able to make that adjustment successfully, mid-career that is, and keep everything on the rails.

99% of us start off as teenagers in college, where we basically give the Army most of our free time for about four years until we're qualified (Officer or NCM/NCO). I run a consulting business and have a family and, even though fully qualified, sometimes found it very difficult to manage to attend even 50-60% of the scheduled training during the week or on weekends.

If you still decide to join, think carefully about the trade you pick. I'm not a Spook or a Scaly Back but I know that both of those trades are highly technical and specialized, no matter what level you go in at. You can bet that, as a result, you will be required to pass a variety of demanding technically oriented courses and field/practical training type tests. Kind of like your job.

Infantry, like me? More fun, less specialized, get to take out all your (no doubt many) work frustrations on people with a bayonet ;)

Good luck!
Perform well for most of the year, then try to scoot away for the coldest months. Honestly, f**k it.

(So I heard from a friend’s friend...) 😐
 
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