This was first published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them!
One of the greatest challenges, and topic most talked about by military spouses, is finding work. That may come as a shock to some who assume it would be milking their service member for benefits, eating all day and not working; alas, no. A majority of the spouses I have come in contact with are desperate to continue working in their field or continuing their education to become gainfully employed in the future.
It is not always easy. Moving every few years, or even more often if you’re in the training pipeline like we are, makes employment complicated. Depending on your location, there may be few or no positions in your path, or employers may be reluctant to hire you due to your status as a military spouse. It gets tricky explaining frequent job changes on your résumé, and they may not want to hire someone who will most likely not be long-term. All of this, in addition to other reasons, makes things murky; but, it isn’t impossible, and there are opportunities available which I have compiled below:
- Working from Home: There are many benefits to working from home. It may be one of the few PCS proof work options available to military spouses. Do your research on the different positions and options available which may fit your skill set, and then get to applying! Be careful of scams, since unfortunately they do exist, but if you’re diligent in your research on companies and any offers you may receive, this may be a great option for you and your career.
- Furthering your Education: Whether you are currently in school, looking to begin a new program, or wanting to advance your career with more education, there are tons of options available for military spouses. You may even be able to receive tuition assistance which is definitely helpful on any budget. Be sure to check out options through MYCAA.
- Connect with a Mentor: Taking the time to find someone in your location who can help you not only find employment but develop your skills and connections will make your transition much easier. Even if they do not work in your field, their ability to help you adjust to a new station will give you the flexibility to focus on your next steps career-wise.
- Build your Business: Many military spouses have their own businesses they support. Growing your personal business can be a great way to increase income, connect with your community and grow personally. Do this through connecting online, local conferences, and working with a mentor specific to your field. Set goals for where you would like your business to grow and what steps you need to take to achieve them.
- Start a New Career: This may be one of the scarier paths military spouses can choose. However, as we’ve learned from being in the military, life is not meant to be lived standing still. If you are feeling like you have the opportunity to change your career be sure to do your research on the course you will take. What skills do you already posses that are transferable? What skills will you need to learn? Is this new path going to be a feasible option with the military lifestyle? Feel confident when making your choice, plan for success and then buckle down and get to work to make it a reality.
One of the biggest mistakes one can make is trying to do it alone. So get out of your comfort zone, connect with other spouses, connect with your community, find a mentor-have I broken that record yet?- and watch your career take shape and grow. It might not be what you thought it was going to be 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even last year, but it is still yours. You are still a success, and your purpose and impact will be felt everywhere you go.