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Yes We Can…Have a Career Too!

Maintaining a stable job and being a military spouse is a hard thing to do. I had five different jobs in five years, sprinkled with a few periods of unemployment. When I married my husband, I had NO CLUE that maintaining a career would be such a challenge.

At my last job, I had the perfect setup. My husband’s office was a block away from where I worked. My son’s daycare was also a block away, but in the other direction. My husband and I had lunch together on a regular basis. Before going back to work, we would often check on our son to see how his day was going at daycare. On the few occasions that our son was sick, I was able to work from home. It was a working mom’s dream!

When we got orders, I was very disappointed, because it was at a pivotal point in my career. I ended up having to resign from my job, without seeing a project come to fruition that I had started. Someone else finished it and received the credit.

As military spouses, it seems as if our own career aspirations have to take a back seat to the demands of the military. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Upon arriving at our new base, I realized that I had to make a change, or I would be going through this same inner turmoil every three years. Currently, I am taking time to rethink my career path and figure out how I can transition myself into a career that can travel with me from base to base. In other words, I need to establish a portable career.

Have you found yourself in this same situation? If so, below are some tips on how you can get started with your portable career.

1. If you are thinking about going to school, consider getting a degree in a field that has career growth potential. Also, look for careers in which there is a shortage of employees. There is always a need for persons to work in the medical field. For example, a career in nursing would be great because it offers flexible schedules and there is a hospital or clinic in every city. Some nursing jobs even offer sign on bonuses and relocation packages because the need is so great.

2. Look for opportunities to work from home. I know of persons that worked for companies that allowed them to work from home when they moved to a new base. Some of the popular work from home careers includes medical transcription and virtual assistants.

3. Start your own business and work for yourself. Whenever you move to a new base, you start off with a clean slate. Write out that business plan and follow your dreams.

4. Work for a company that has offices all over the world. Once you get a good working relationship with the company, it is possible that you will be able to transfer to another office once those orders come.

5. Apply for jobs at military friendly employers. The ugly reality is that some businesses do not like to hire military spouses. They figure that it is not cost effective to invest money into training an employee that is going to leave in 3 years or less. Here is a link to military friendly employers: http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs

If you have any additional suggestions, or would like to share your experience, feel free to leave a comment. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Christian Mommy Writer August 21, 2009, 9:07 PM

    @Tamara – I also have experienced job discrimination because I was a military spouse. It got to the point where I became very guarded in my interviews about my husband's career and why I moved so much. I tried my best to keep the focus on me and not my husband's career.

    Working in the military healthcare system has been great for me too, as they totally understand the constant relocations. Discrimination against military spouses in the workforce should not be tolerated!

  • Tamara Derouen August 21, 2009, 8:41 PM

    I am thankful to be working within the military healthcare system, as they understand the reason for my "unstable" job tenure.

    I am not sure if you have experienced this, but I have been turned down from several opportunities once they found out that I was a military spouse. I just couldn't believe that "WE DON'T HIRE MILITARY SPOUSES!" was uttered so openly!

    I guess they just couldn't grasp the diversity aof experience contained in my resume as it probably looks no different from other military spouses.

  • Mrs. Marine March 5, 2009, 12:05 PM

    Wonderful Blog! You have many informative posts here! Your a good writer, keep it up! Wanted to let you know I added you to my Military Spouse Blogroll.

  • Shauna March 4, 2009, 9:16 PM

    I am new here! What a great blog 🙂

  • 3L March 4, 2009, 6:31 AM

    I’m not a military spouse but I still found this article helpful. Thank you!

  • Allison March 4, 2009, 4:27 AM

    Great post!

    I always tell anyone who is searching for a great career field to consider nursing! There are SO many options within that field and especially for a military spouse it is perfect since there are needs for nurses ANYwhere you are stationed 🙂

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