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I'm in the 4rth month of my compulsory, military service at the rank of Private. I'm knowledgeable and (un)lucky enough to be enlisted in the IT - Research Corps, so my military life so far has been 10% training - 90% fixing things or coming up with solutions; intranet, computers, printers, everything tech related in general, and my day to day routine is more office work than armed posts eg. patrolling or guarding.

Everyone is looking to spend as little time in the army as possible, as we're essentially forced to service. It is not rare -but not often as well, for soldiers who go the extra mile in taking care of the camp, cleaning, painting, participating in ceremonials etc, to be rewarded with honorary absences of leave; it doesn't happen in my case though, and I'm frustrated about it. It looks like what is expected of my post versus the actual effort I put into things is uneven. Moreover, very few manage to join IT-R Corps, and because of low manpower, we go out of camp once every ~10 days, while the infantry once every 2 or 3 days.

Currently, I'm the only private suitable for the job, being an electrical engineer and a programmer; the majority of other people have not undergone any form of higher education. So far, I have automated some bureaucratic processes, created applets that were integrated to the local network, and provided some quality of life improvements that cut down on the absurd amount of paperwork a little bit. The problem is that all this work is presented as a department effort, not as an individual one, and the credits go to the director. On a specific incident that happened earlier todat; some officers were trying to solve a network-thingy for nearly two weeks now, I managed to solve it alone in just one evening yesterday. While the master sergeant in the department is very friendly and compassionate, he let it slide as a personal achievement for himself, not mentioning my help to anyone as far as I know.

The event added to my overall disappointment, and I'm seriously considering to abandon the department, and forcefully asking to be detached to the infantry force. This, or provide bare minimum effort to get by unpunished, while showing complete indifference; I'm not looking to build a military career after all, I'm just a conscript. I have no moral qualms about the above thoughts, and any other solution will be warmly welcomed. The question in title can also apply to any context outside of the military. What should I do?

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    Just to get an idea of how things are done normally. Does anyone of your rank or similar get special recognition, or do you suspect that you specifically are being ignored? – user34587 Nov 15 '18 at 16:18
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    This is actually normal in the army. People are expendable. This is whole idea. – SZCZERZO KŁY Nov 15 '18 at 16:32
  • My responsibilities are to repair PCs, update software and provide secretarial support. I'm okay with "Can you do this extra?". I'm not okay with "Do this extra the way we want to for free with no recognition." – Aris Kon. Nov 15 '18 at 16:51
  • As far as a compulsory military service goes, you have a pretty cushy gig and this is probably as good as its going to get, recognition or not. If you prefer crawling through mud, getting yelled at, sleep deprivation and working with officers with significantly lower IQ than your current food chain, by all means: join the infantry or perhaps a tank-infantry battalion. – Hilmar Nov 15 '18 at 20:43
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In the military (as with any other multi-department organisation) there's going to be pros and cons to work in different departments.

At the moment it sounds like the biggest downside to being in the IT Corps for you is that you don't get quite as much leave and you don't feel like you are getting the individual recognition you feel you deserve.

I'm not saying that's great or that you should be pleased about that - instead though I suggest you look for the positives:

  • Future Career - You say you aren't planning on a military career, just doing your compulsory service. In that case you'll probably want/need a civilian career afterwards, IT skills have a much higher demand in the civilian employment sector than being an infantryman, so spending your compulsory service in IT is going to leave you several big advantages when the time comes to leave. I imagine those extra days of base leave won't seem quite so valuable to the infantryman who has no transferable skills instead. Given the temporary nature of your time there building skills is far, far more valuable to you in the long term then who get's the pat on the head for doing it.

  • Safer - Should your military forces get deployed to an actual warzone the guys in the infantry aren't going to be living the life of Riley. They are going to be getting shot at. I think I'd rather be fixing printers at that point, and I hate fixing printers.

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Rank is everything in the military. You as a Private, won't get much of a voice at all until you reach to about the E-6 level, assuming you're in the US military. In some cases it can land you into trouble if you try to do something about it. You have to respect the rank and the system that comes with it. In many cases, you're seen as nothing until you're able to prove yourself either in old traditions or passing some rank threshold.

Now granted, it entirely depends on your current command. Some places are better than other depending on the leadership. However, military life will be painful and going career is awfully hard. It's quite a feat, in my opinion, to last 20 years in the military. You're going to have to grow a thick skin and be able to withstand the most severe of anything you ever withstood before. Just imagine yourself getting slapped everyday, and that's nearly half of what you're going to have to endure. Some people just do their contract length to get the benefits of having served but some people try their hardest to go career and fall short after having given up. You're not going to change anything, and anything you change will be overwritten once you leave that command. Everyone likes to think they will, but these people don't last. Think about people you know who lasted 10-15 years. They're probably really good but they're not trying to change things. They're just working with what they got and moving along.

Edit: Going off family members in the military, one managed to get full retirement. The first 10 years was very painful. Constantly having to be deployed and going to wherever the military said to go. The last 10 years was okay and more forgiving being able to go where he wants by stroke of luck and a rather generous boss pulling the strings and putting in good paperwork. Then in the 19th year, he was told to go somewhere he didn't want to if he wanted to get promoted. He put in the in the paperwork to retire when he reached his 20th year and managed to have a very good career.

  • This answer probably doesn't apply here. The US military doesn't have a draft and things work very differently for people who join voluntarily versus people who get essentially forced into the service. – Hilmar Nov 15 '18 at 20:38

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