Service Members: Underworked/Overpaid or Overworked/Underpaid?
Talk of military pay and benefits being cut has stirred something inside a lot of us. Something that makes us question our way of life, something that makes us believe that people think our Service Members are overcompensated for services rendered. Being a Navy spouse of 11.5 years, it shocks me that anyone would think that. Overcompensated? Where? How? Someone can easily think “Are they overpaid? Do they get overcompensated for the work that is done?”So, I searched for signs that my own family lives this lavish lifestyle, but I failed to find proof. At that point, I decided I needed to consult with another military spouse who could give me some aid and insight on this topic. I walked a few houses down and consulted fellow My Military Life blogger, Vanessa.
It is ironic that the rest of the world believes the military is overcompensated for the services they provide, because if you were to compare the hours and pay of what our spouses do to that of the same jobs in the civilian world, they are severely underpaid. They do not get paid overtime when they work 12 hour shifts 7 days a week without an opportunity to come home. Any other job in the civilian world has laws and regulations to protect and assist them if they are worked too hard without compensation, but the military is not. That is what is expected of them. The elected officials that are in their desired positions because of the military are not working for them but against them. Legislation and bills are passed each year taking away the pay of military members by not giving them a pay increase to match their civilian counterparts and the cost of living in our economy.
I can look at our bank accounts (savings and checking) and tell you for a fact, we do NOT make what people think we do. We are not rich and we do not live extravagant lifestyles. Most military families live paycheck to paycheck. Some military spouses that want to work to supplement the one income can’t because the cost of going to and from work, childcare, and any other added expenses far outweighs any extra income that could be brought in.
Now, what I think most people think of when they feel the military is being overcompensated is the fact that we do get a housing allowance. Let me explain something about that allowance: without it, we would all be on the streets because our spouses do not get paid enough otherwise. Even if you factor in the housing allowance to the overall pay, it is still not enough to be compared to the same income as a civilian working a similar job.
Service members take an oath to serve their country with honor, courage, and commitment. When they are asked to deploy for 9 months, they go. When they are asked to stand 24 hour, 3 section duty stations, they do it. They spend extensive hours qualifying and training, and they do these things without question. They do this because, regardless of what is done for them, they know that the world would be a little less safe without them. They do this to make our country a better place for generations to come. It would be nice if our senators and state representatives would have the courage to demand that this commitment is honored.
Follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag: #KeepYourPromise