Is it worth the long wait for some roles? Or should you just take whatever job comes up to get in ASAP. If you’ve applied for a job that has a long wait for an enlistment date then this could help you decide what to do...
‘The infantry is my dream job, second only to the commandos. I am very happy with waiting for my job role’
If you’ve already looked into the application process for the ADF then you would know that there are some roles that have a notorious long wait.
Some of these roles are Medic, Infantry, Cabin Crew, Drone Operator, AFSEC, Dental and Firefighter. You can expect to wait anywhere from 18-36 months for many of these roles. They are highly competitive and there are extremely limited job openings within each financial year.
So do you stay on the waitlist or do you choose something else?
This is something that we get asked about quite a lot. Is it worth the wait or are you better off just choosing something else to get you into the ADF ASAP?
There is no one answer to this and the decision has to be made based on your own career aspirations, personal values and goals. Only you know what you need to do but it’s worth taking some time to figure it out.
It is very common for applicants to be told they will need to wait for about 6 months. Before you know it 6 months will come around only for you to be told to wait another 6. The wait time can just keep becoming longer and longer and although you originally felt that a 6 month wait was achievable and you wouldn’t need to change your job preferences, it wears thin and you start looking at some other options.
Other applicants who decide to apply for officer roles find that they don't get recommended for OSB. You're given the option to wait 12 months (as determined by the board) or you could change your preferences to a general entry role that will get you in quicker. Do you want to be in a position of leadership? Or do you just want to be in the military ASAP?
If you’ve been through your Assessment Day and been told to come back in 12 months whilst you go and get some life experience, then this article will help you utilise that time wisely.
So let’s break this down.
SHOULD YOU WAIT?
"rather than focusing on the obstacle in front of you focus on the opportunity that it presents"
Choosing to wait can buy you some much needed time to work on your deficiencies. This could be in relation to fitness but it can also relate to your family situation, finishing off study, rehabbing an injury or just giving you time to tie up loose ends in your life.
Having 18 months to wait doesn’t have to be seen as a negative. You should see this as ‘gifted time’ to iron out some kinks in your life that will allow you to advance towards your enlistment without any issues holding you back.
If you’re passionate about the role you’ve chosen then it’s worth waiting. Some of these roles have a longer minimum period of service (IMPS) which means you are committed to them for many years after an extensive training period. You have to be happy going to work every day. You have to be passionate about the role in order to do well. You have to enjoy what you’re doing every day otherwise you’ll find yourself feeling miserable pretty fast. Whilst it’s one thing to ‘just get into the ADF as quickly as possible’, if you do this and you’re unhappy would it have been worth it or will you regret not waiting for your 1st preference?
The more time you are given to fight for something the more it cements how much you really want it. It’s very likely that you will really appreciate the opportunity of being in that service and that job role once you’re finally there.
Upon interviewing current applicants and current serving members who chose to wait for their dream role, all have indicated a desire to stay in the military well beyond their IMPS.
You just want to be in the ADF and you’re too impatient to wait. As simple as this sounds, it’s the main reason that a lot of people decide to look at other preferences that have a quicker intake. You have made the decision to join the ADF and you don’t want to wait. You just want to be in already.
If you’re currently unemployed then it’s likely you’ll find it hard to get a short term job that works around your training requirements. This makes it challenging to decide if it’s worth getting a job or not.
If you’re unemployed and relying on your successful ADF application to become a new job then you might not have the financial ability to wait.
Many people who apply for the ADF are university students or aspiring university students. If you’re going to have a long wait then you might come close to finishing your degree with the risk of obtaining an enlistment date close to the end of your degree. This might leave you with having to make a decision on whether to finish the degree and forgo enlistment (after a long wait) or defer study and take the enlistment.
SHOULD YOU CHOOSE SOMETHING ELSE WITH A SHORTER WAIT TIME?
‘Don’t rush things. Anything worth having is worth waiting for’
If you just want to be in the ADF and you don’t really mind what you do then this option will work out for you. Being told to wait 1-2 years might not be desirable or it might not suit your current work or personal situation. If you’re a student or currently unemployed then getting into the ADF quickly so that you have gainful employment will far surpass the desire to find a job you’re passionate about.
You might find yourself in a job that you don’t love as much. If you’re committed to that role for several years then this could be challenging for you on a day to day basis.
Upon interviewing current applicants and current serving members who decided to choose another role just to be enlisted faster, almost all of them have decided that they do not want to stay in the military beyond their IMPS. Their lack of passion for their roles is preventing them from fully immersing themselves in the Army/Navy or Airforce and they are not enjoying themselves as much as they had hoped for.
Choosing a job based on an earlier intake will definitely get you into the ADF quicker, however it’s less likely that you’ll see this as your long term career choice. If your heart is not set on this job role then you’ll enter into it with the view to look to change jobs as soon as possible. With the requirement to stick with a role for your minimum period of service you’ll feel as though you are doing the job because you ‘have’ to rather than because you ‘want’ to.
Not only is this a waste of time within your own career this is a waste of Defence time and resources. It costs a lot of money to put an individual through basic training and IETs. If you go through all of this training only to transfer out of that job role then it’s time and money that could have been used elsewhere.
You’re also taking up the position of another applicant who could have really WANTED that role. If you’ve been given an offer for a role that you don’t love then it’s likely that someone else does love that role and will now miss out.
‘I recommend to anyone now that they don’t rush in because you just want to get in. You won’t like going to work everyday if it wasn’t the job you had your heart set on. Don’t feel pushed into a job you don’t want because unfortunately there are a lot of people I meet everyday who tell me they are only in this job or only doing this because they were told it was the best option to get them into the ADF quicker.’
- M.E. (Current Army Soldier)
SO WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
The only person who knows the answer to this is you. Take some time to think about it. There is no rush when you have the rest of your life to enjoy a long and happy career. If you are happy going to work every day then you'll be a much more pleasant person to work with and you'll be a far more pleasant person at home.
Choose wisely! Good Luck!
To hear the story of an Army Band applicant who came up against a medical appeal and ended up waiting MUCH longer than he first anticipated for an enlistment date, listen to this podcast episode with Oscar.
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