During my career, I've spent many hours on junior officer retention. Like most senior officers, I've spoken with scores of junior officers in an attempt to better understand the issue and to come up with solutions. The bottom line, however, is that life in the Navy is different from life in corporate America. There are a great many challenges that you won't find in the civilian world, but for those who decide to pursue a naval career, the pluses of our profession outweigh the minuses.
At some point, we all have had to decide whether to continue to serve. Back in my lieutenant days, the economy was strong, companies were hiring, and a large number of my contemporaries were resigning their commissions. I was newly married and faced future separations from my bride. After watching many friends leave the service, I, too, decided it was time to do something else. My resignation papers were submitted, and my wife and I began thinking about the opportunities in the corporate world. I had a job offer or two, and had filled out applications to a couple MBA programs. I had a plan and was looking forward to the future.