There is something terribly off-putting about looking at a slide and seeing the next 30 years of your life mapped out for you. Yes, there are options. But the options are all very, very linear. And you can’t even access those pre-planned options if you don’t maintain a spotless, best-of-the-best record. Make a few mistakes, and everything you did before can be wiped out in an instant.
This, more than anything else, is why I think junior officers choose to get out. Pursuing a non-linear career path that results in the potential of failing to progress leads some of us to say “nah, never mind.”
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