I'm not arguing with you one bit. Please understand I'm not pontificating and stating you must have the job satisfaction I did. My career was exceptional... and unique.. and I spent a lot of mental time planning through various things to make it go my way. No doubt I was fortunate in things I couldn't control. Even my U-2 cohorts will tell you I had a charmed career.
Had things gone for me like they went for some other people on here, I'm sure I would have separated or retired before my 28 years. I remember sitting in front of the Alconbury MPF (CBPO for you old guys) when my UPT commitment ended and the bonus was offered. "Get out or stay in?" I sat in my car with the engine running for about 30 minutes questioning the decision. In the end, I went in and signed up for 6 more years (or whatever it was). Glad I did.
Here's the bottom line. My overly-long post yesterday was simply aimed at Joe's statement:
"it's pretty f*cked up to turn down a massive improvement in income and quality of life to drag your family from base to base, suffering through deployments and taking a massive paycut just because you want to wear a bag and go fast."
That rubs me the wrong way. Big time. I've heard this sentiment from others, and I've heard it often: that my selfishness and unwillingness to leave the military has caused my family pain and suffering, and a reduction in their quality of life. I'd be a rich airline Captain, had I separated at the 6 year point, right? And my lack of seeing the big picture financially has prevented my family from being wealthier. And my time away from home negatively affected my kids... as opposed to the 18 months I was Executive Director and when I was home, I was in my office working from 1900-2300 most nights, and unable to do stuff on the weekends. There's more to QOL than meets the eye.
I really don't think that's what Joe's message really was intended to be... but that's what I hear when I read people that post "you're crazy and doing a disservice to your family if you stay in 1 day past your commitment".
I've had U-2 guys seek my advice, and in some cases I've told them they should leave the AF at the end of their current commitment. If I was in their shoes, I'd certainly do it. And had I gotten the fighter I wanted out of UPT, I doubt I would have lasted beyond my 6 year commitment. It turns out the U-2 Program was the perfect fit for me. I only left because they threw me out.
I do not begrudge anyone that leaves when they are done. They gave 6, 8, 10 years of their life to the country, and deserve every ounce of my respect.
But don't tell me I'm fucked up because I decided to stay for 28.