The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is Israel's army. Serving in this army is mandatory for Israeli citizens. The minimum recruiting age is 18. Men serve 3 years consecutively, after which they are called once a year to serve for a duration of no more than a month (untill they reach 50 or so). Women serve less than 2 years consecutively, and have no more obligations after that(!).

The army has a profound impact on the many young people who enter at 18, and leave at 21. Those that decided to get their BA before their service, are rewarded with an unpleasant surprise: 3 additional years of service (usually doing something only remotely related to their studies, if at all).

Anyway, since I served in the rear (AKA jobnick), I got to see a the administrative side of the army. It was my first taste of things to come:

  • People hate their jobs and just want to pass the time between 8am and 5:30pm.
  • If you have a problem, make a lot of noise or it wont go away. Most of the time it's stupid misunderstandings.
  • Anything written on paper or (especially) appearing on a computer monitor is sacred. Just like those credit auditing companies.

The army is a very social environment, especially during boot camp and courses. If you lack social skills (like I was), you're in for a hard time.
If there was one thing that the army taught me well, was to handle the unpleasant, boring and maddening tasks and situations with peace of mind (or IOW: to suffer cheerfully). You can say, "Why do I have to do this?" but you can also stop asking stupid questions, thereby releasing yourself from suffering. Be careful of individuals who infect others with their stupid questions.