During my service, my standard of performance was to make no excuses and just get the job done by almost any means necessary. The consequences could vary from being withheld from promotion, being formally charges like 'dereliction of duty', or perhaps a physical beat down and certainly an excess of psychological manipulation, again 'by any means necessary.' The stakes are very high, your ability to get results is literally a matter of life and death. By the end of the first enlistment, it all becomes very normal. In a combat zone it's more intense, yet also more rewarding. Seeing the fruits of your labor, both good and bad rather quickly feels gratifying in ways the civilian world can never offer.
The gap between standards of military and civilian can really mess with a person in many ways.
1. Many of us join up to escape a bad family situation or poor hometown. Do you suppose they were any better support system when I 'came home'? I was actually told "you really put your family through hell."
2. Civilian employment is fickle and doesn't automatically recognize the quality of work and personal responsibility the service person has demonstrated. I have actually had to dissect each of my deployments and duty stations as if each were a new employer and job description. You really have to explain yourself well.
3. On the ground, we live and die for the sake of the American to his left and right, but when the game is over, and the adrenaline wears off, there is nothing to take the place of that job except perhaps a "security contractor" position. It's not the same, not even close.
4. The soldier may get blamed for war but he's the guy taking orders. When we see our civilian leadership for the isolated ivory tower dwellers they really are, it's more than a little demoralizing. It's schizophrenic! Iraqis were only my enemy because someone ordered me to make them my enemy. Remember, you cannot take back a bullet once it's been fired.
5. Speaking for myself, I cannot believe I put my life on the line for the defense of people who live for reality TV and a family who wouldn't welcome me home from war, nor will they even help me search for a job to support myself. They're too busy watching NCIS marathons over and over again like some brain dead zombies. God bless America.