Nine habits of British Armed Forces life you never lose>

Nine habits of British Armed Forces life you never lose

Armed Forces life teaches you a lot...

...which is a bit of an understatement when you consider the variety of careers in the military, and the transferrable skills it gives you when you move to civilian life.

But there are plenty of habits you learn along the way that you never lose.

In a recent Facebook post, we asked you what habits have stuck with you long after you’ve left active military service.

You answered in your hundreds and these were the top answers.

1. Early for everything, never late

This was easily the most popular answer. You will always arrive early for any meeting or appointment – it’s unshakeable!

As one member wrote, “if you’re not five minutes early, you’re late!”

2. Everything has a place

When tidying up or organising your life, everything must be put away and be tidy… aka “everything has a place.”

This also means making your bed as soon as you’re out of it.

3. Always sitting with your back to the wall, never to the door.

The serious reasons for this are clear, and it’s something many of you still carry on with well after you leave the forces.

You have to know where the exits are, just in case.

4. Nobody else does the ironing!

Keeping up a proud appearance still matters as much as it did when you served, so doing your own ironing is essential.

5. Polished shoes

This follows on nicely from the ironing; your shoes need to be highly polished, at all times!

6. Respect

Many people could learn from the high level of respect given to the chain of command in the forces. Once you've left, you still respect the higher ups, even if it’s a job title and not a formal rank.

For many of you, that’s the way it should be.

7. Left handed carry

Whether it’s a laptop, bag or equipment, you have to hold it in your left hand. This keeps your right hand free if you ever need to salute, even now.

8. 24 hour clock and phonetic alphabet

Speed and clarity are essential when delivering information in the forces, and this carries over into civvy life.

Whether you’re arranging a meeting time or spelling out your surname, these two habits never leave you.

9. The humour

Military humour is like nothing else! It can be brutal, it can be offensive, but it can also be very, very funny.

Just look at the answers you gave when we asked you to share the best nickname you’d ever heard. 


If we’ve missed any you’ve thought of, add them to the comments on the Facebook post.