Life after the academies?


Jul 9, 2017
Could someone give this non-military family a glimpse of what life might look like after graduating the academies??? I'm certain there is a million different variables depending on areas of commission, needs of the military, current political state, etc., but, in general, are officers on duty 24/7? Generally how often do they get leave? What are some of the biggest joys/challenges to anticipate over the next 5 years? Deployment? How does marriage fit in? I'm sure there is so much we don't even know to ask…. So appreciate the insight.
There is a "Life After the Academy" section on the forum (down toward the bottom) that has many threads that have information about different branches and jobs. One thread to read in particular if you have some time would be this one:

You will get a really broad look at experiences in various jobs within the services.

Thank you Stealth_81. Nothing came up when I tried searching before posting… Will definitely follow your link! Many thanks!
Wow..a pretty broad question., I'll try to give a few brief thoughts on my experience (albeit long ago). Serving in the military, officer or enlisted, is not a 9-5 job. You are expected to be available 24/7 ---as a P3C NFO I routinely operated around the clock, and all other communities and branches of the military do the same. Sure, there is flight/watch schedules and down time, but you learn to get sleep when and where you can. Leave (aka vacation) is generous -- 30 days a year, but the ability to take it was often limited by OPTEMPO an readiness needs. -- I banked almost 90 days in the 7 years I served. No question that it can be tough on marriage and kids --- every retirement ceremony I have ever seen included a recognition of the family's service and sacrifice. It takes a special person to be a Navy spouse , and a successful career is really a team effort.

Sound tough ? It can be, but it is also the best job I ever had. I have been pretty successful in my post Navy career, but I look back at my time in the Navy as some of the most professionally rewarding times of my life. Most important was the opportunity to work with some of the finest people I have ever dealt with, both Officer and Enlisted, all committed to a common mission. Deployments were tough , but I always found it harder the last month before I left than actually being on deployment, as we were busy operating and doing what we were trained to do. There were plenty of good times ! I remember one Senior Officer briefing a bunch of Ensigns about what to expect on deployment while in the RAG, and he remarked that it was like being in College but having money ...and he was right. I will avoid the Sea Stories ...but suspect that you can get a hint by googling "The Brass Nut in Keflavik"...