Being in the army is no vacation.

That’s the message Calgary members of the Canadian Armed Forces sent to about 30 downtown executives Thursday at a lunchtime event where business leaders were fed army rations and shown what reservists go through in places like Afghanistan.

About 60 per cent of all reservists have civilian jobs as well, and to serve in the army they often take their vacation time to be in the field, according to Cmdr. Michael Ervin.

“They only need perhaps two to three weeks a year to serve in the army,” Ervin said. “We hope companies will give them that without eating up their vacation time, because people need both.”

Michel Scott, vice-president of government and public affairs of Devon Canada, said the message has gotten through to him.

“I’m not sure if anyone who works for us is in the army — that would be like asking their age,” he said. “But after today, I’m definitely going to inquire and if we do, we want to think about how we manage that.”

Executives were also given a crash course on what the army is all about. Gary Agnew, provincial chair of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, said employers need to realize the skills that reservists bring back to the organization.

“I’ve learned that there are a lot of similarities between the army and the corporate world,” Scott said. “There’s leadership, dedication. Both have missions we need to accomplish.”