Should I stay or should I go now….

So. 17th January 2012. When I woke up that day I wasn’t really thinking much about the Armed Forces redundancy announcement that was due to happen at 9am. Having spoken to other RAF Photographers, we were all pretty convinced that our trade wasn’t really at risk of having personnel cut. We were due to have loads of people leave the RAF through “Natural wastage” people who had served their time in the RAF and were leaving at the time they expected to. So no-one was really worried that we would feel the hit, and it was a little bit of a surprise when the details of the requirements came out and they were looking to make 25 RAF photographers redundant. From a trade of around 140 people. So quite a big chunk of us, and they were all to go from the Corporal and Sergeant rank levels, preserving the newly joined/trained photogs.

So, me being a Sergeant, who has been one for more than 3 years, and not due to leave the RAF for well over 3 years, means I’m well in the bracket for redundancy. A little bit of a reality check for me, bringing me down to earth with quite a bump – this job for life that I love, just like one of those “bags for life” you get from a supermarket, ain’t necessarily for life. Yes I know, that one way or another, be it now or in 15 years, I would have to find my way out in the big bad real world, but when you’re in your bubble of a comfort zone, you can pretend that it’s not going to happen. So, having not even contemplated being out of the RAF, the announcement forced me to think long and hard about the future. I thought so hard, and talked it out with Mr Photog and my parents, that I reached a point in the evening when I just had to stop myself from thinking about it as I’d given myself a headache!!

After a good nights sleep I went back to thinking and realised I need to list the pro’s and cons of the situation, to make a proper decision as to whether I should just volunteer for it, or if I should just sit and wait for the chop. If I volunteer I would find out in June, and leave in December. If I don’t volunteer and they decide that I’m going anyway (i.e. they don’t get 10 volunteers) then I’ll find out in June and leave in June 2013.

Reasons to stay in the RAF for another 15 years

Reasons to take the money and run

  • Very, very proud to serve
  • Friends & teamwork
  • Work well within the military mentality & work ethics.
  • Love being an RAF Photog, taking photos, filming video
  • The “bubble” – medical care, dental care, cheaper accommodation, free gym facilities
  • Decent pension immediately upon leaving the RAF. If made redundant no RAF pension until age 60, and then not a massive amount.
  • Can finally live with my husband like a normal couple! Something that will never happen whilst serving in the RAF due to both our jobs being 120 miles apart.
  • Hate the drive back to work, spend loads of money on fuel up and down the country.
  • Redundancy payout would be decent deposit on bigger place near Mr Photogs work, rather than living in 1 bedroom flat down there, with military house at base.
  • Still young enough to get a full 20+ year career in before retirement
  • Could be a great opportunity for a new challenge
  • My next level of promotion in the RAF will mean that I spend my days sat behind a desk – less getting out and taking photos/video
  • Not going to get sent back out to Afghanistan, thus stopping husband and family worrying about me.
  • Not having to do duties – guard duty etc…!!
  • No more camouflage uniform/wearing berets & hats!!
  • I’m doing my Certificate of Education so will have the qualification to teach (graduate in Dec 2012) and also have pretty good quals/experience in photography, videography, video editing etc… so have opportunities for work
  • Love sewing bags etc…. so could spend loads more time sewing and selling them!!!
  • If I volunteer then I can be out within 6 months – if I get compulsory I’ve got to hang around for 12 months – when I think I’d rather be out quickly.

So, taking all that into consideration……I’ve still no idea!! But I am considering my options now, which is more that I was before 17th Jan. Got a couple of weeks to mull……. I’ll let you know!

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2 thoughts on “Should I stay or should I go now….

  1. Having been out here for 22 years (as long Aas i was in) I still miss it (have now retired because I was fed up with the civvy rat race)

    Really feel for you but just remember its crap out here at the moment with not many jobs of any sort available – Hope this helps

    • 🙂 thanks. My dad did 22 years too, so I’ve grown up around/in the RAF, so there is that fear of the unknown in the real world. but I know that it would give me and my husband a more normal life, as I can never get based close enough to him to allow that to happen whilst I’m still in. I’m thinking about getting in to Further Education teaching possibly, but have various broadcast & photography skills that I could hopefully use.

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