The experience a Marine has during his or her enlistment can be shaped in large part by his or her own actions. Many things are out of the control of the Marine as orders must be followed but a Marine’s attitude contributes greatly to what kind of experience he or she has.
Keep reading to find out how you can avoid the 9 biggest mistakes you can make in the Marine Corps.
1. Not making sure your contract specifies the MOS you agreed on. This is your responsibility. Ignore all promises or oral agreements from your recruiter. If it isn’t in writing on your contract, it doesn’t exist. Too many times Marines graduate boot camp, go on to Marine Combat Training or infantry training and find out after months from signing their contract that what MOS they thought they would be getting wasn’t on their contract.
2. Low cutting score. Your cutting score is basically your overall “grade” for how well you are doing in the Marine Corps. This takes into several things like your physical fitness test and your pros/cons marks by your superiors. The cutting score ranks you with the rest of the Marines in the Corps and will determine when you get promoted. You are competing with others at your rank for a promotion so the higher the cutting score the better.
3. Getting into trouble. Disregarding the rules of the Marine Corps can land you in trouble. Getting a DUI or other trouble with the law can land you in the brig or kicked out. The best way to make sure you can stay out of trouble is to follow the rules.
4. Causing problems/drama in your unit. If you want to be a drama queen in your unit expect a healthy dose of payback from others whenever the opportunity presents itself. You don’t want to tick off anyone in your unit. It’s a small Marine Corps so not only will you be labeled a trouble maker but this reputation will follow you to future duty stations.
5. Choosing the wrong MOS. It is critically important to do the research necessary to find out which MOS you want. Do not just listen to the recruiter. Find others who have had that job and ask them about it. Get on the internet. The experience you have in the Marine Corps is largely defined by what kind of job you have while in. Also, don’t overlook jobs that could teach you valuable skills you can use once you get out.
6. Getting married/having children too young. This is very common among young Marines new to the Marine Corps. Many make this decision without first taking the time to find out what Marine Corps life will be like. The Marine Corps expects 200% loyalty and to come first in your life. This is extremely damaging to relationships and family life if not treated with complete understanding in what the Marine Corps life demands.
7. Promiscuity. Male or female, do not gain a reputation as being promiscuous. It wreaks havoc on your working life and your interaction with others. If you don’t treat yourself with respect you can’t be surprised when others don’t give you respect.
8. Abusing rank. There are Marines who get drunk with power, or in this case, rank. There is always someone to outrank you so don’t be that jerk who abuses his or her rank. Treat those below you with the same respect you treat those above you.
9. Favoritism. Treat every Marine under your command with respect. Do not show favoritism because it will say to others that you are unfair. This can backfire when you need something and other are unwilling to be fair to you based on this reputation you have created for yourself.
Follow the rules and the straight and narrow path to keeping your reputation in check and your Marine Corps experience favorable.