Interesting comments and points of view from all. Legacy mentioned that the Bible encourages people to count the cost, and you could throw in the illustration of building a tower. This is a good point, but the principle of "counting the cost" in your personal life seems to be minimized by several other ideas promoted more within the organzation.
For instance, if a persons skills, trade, or education is needed, WT Bethel management will send people on a major guilt trip if they are thinking of leaving their assignments. The advice is to trust in Jehovah, he will give you the (fill in the blank) for you to fulfill your assignment. To back up their rhetoric, examples are used from the Bible like, the men carrying the Ark of the Covenant would walk up to a river and continue walking as if there was no river, and Jehovah would miraculously stop the water and the mens feet would not even get wet. (Insight page 167,So, at the crossing of the Jordan, when the priests carrying the Ark stepped into the river’s water, Jehovah stopped its flow, allowing them to pass. (Jos 3:1–4:18)) .
The application used is that you must trust in Jehovah and he will take care of your needs and remove any obstacles for your success. You don't need to look ahead, Jehovah is looking out for you as long as you are in his service. The Levites carrying the ark had to trust in Jehovah, they did not stop at the side of the river and discuss the problems associated with 6 men crossing a river carrying an ark, like "how deep is it, or how swift the current was?".
The constant preaching of the nearness of Armageddon by WTBTS can make people forget about looking out for themselves; people rationalize that the system cannot last that much longer, I still hear this expression from my family. Then the guilt trip of if you are worried about tomorrow, or just basically thinking about a lifelong plan and mention anything to do with tomorrow, you are being selfish and wanting to make a name for yourself. Again, you should trust in Jehovah. If you are worried about tomorrow, as in "I should make some plans for retirement", get married, raise children, get an education, skill, or trade so that you can support yourself, then you lack faith in Jehovah's promises.
Regularly it is mentioned when you are in Bethel, that everything you do, all your energy and time, etc is given in worship to Jehovah, even if all you do is clean the toilets. Therefore, implying that if you do anything else, you will be less in Jehovah's eyes. Any selfish tendencies, like considering your future, is just that, a selfish tendency. Therefore, rational thinking is very much discouraged as Bethelites are led to believe they are involved in something much grander than common everyday living (serving in the congregation) by participating in the work that of Jehovah's spirit directed organization. Basically, the peer pressure can make logical thinking individuals think irrationally.
I know of many Brothers that would apply to Bethel because they were struggling to make a living in the world, they WERE looking for a free ride. They reasoned, "well I might as well serve at bethel serving Jehovah sunrise to sunset, than just struggle in a mundane life".
I remember trying to reason with a brother that had been at Bethel for over 30 years, since he was 18, and he was not happy in Bethel, but the mental "fences" that were created by the morning worship cultism, were too great for him to climb. As I tried to assure him that he had done enough at Bethel and could with a clear conscience pursue a life outside of Bethel, Oh,... and perhaps date a sister and even marry, he looked at me as if I had spoken apostate expressions. A few years later, when he was in his late 50's, he was sent home and is now struggling to make a living, he is single, and living in his deceased mothers home, with no money or ability to make enough money.
I know that Bethel life in the U.S is like living at a resort compared to what I experience working at different branches around the world. But I must remember there are millions of victims that did not have a chance to develop their critical thinking abilities as a JW. But rather their critical thinking abilities were suppressed, (in fact, any thinking at all was discouraged). Personally, I don't feel sorry for all the victims, but I know of some unique situations that it is "just not right", basically to use someone up from when they were 18 to 60 years of age and then turn them out. Why didn't they just turn everyone out after a few years???
In the first big "lay off" at Brooklyn, WT Farms, and Patterson, I remember Brother Barber?? saying that the brothers were being sent to the congregations for the final walking around Jericho on the seventh day for seven times. Well that was over 10 years ago, and the building of new executive offices is in full swing.
This is what irritates me, if WT would send everyone home after x years of service, (lets just say 4 or 5), then I wouldn't feel sorry for anyone. Basically, "Buyer be aware". But to keep someone at Bethel for decades, is in itself is implication that you are a "lifer", and that Bethel will be there to assist you when your are old, (oh, if the system lasts that long, of course). But after "employing", uh, using a "volunteer" for decades and then sending them home when they are old, this is just not right. Watchtower should be ashamed.