PCS season is upon us, and if you’re a military spouse, looking for a new job is probably at the top of your busy to-do list.
The 2014 Military Family Lifestyle Survey by Blue Star Families confirmed that the greatest stress in our lives as military spouses is the uncertainty about what tomorrow will bring. One of the key sources for uncertainty is if and where we’ll be working.
Many of us will leave jobs to follow our service member around the world. Some will change careers completely, some will return to the workforce after raising children and others will start their own businesses.
We often follow our service member to a duty station where we are either over- or underqualified for most available employment. The unpredictability of the military lifestyle can create hurdles for us regarding a career.
What can we do?
The answer is to reinvent yourself. Here’s how:
- Volunteer in your community. Start with your military facility’s family support center.
- Go back to school. Hundreds of scholarships and grants earmarked for military spouses go unclaimed every year due to a lack of applications. Visit your installation’s education center for more information.
- Recertify or relicense. You may need a new license or certification to practice your profession in a new state. Start the process as soon as your orders arrive. Look for an opportunity to expedite or waive some of the requirements based on your new state’s rules on reciprocal certifications and licenses for military spouses.
- Network. Networking is a great way to advance your career. Leverage your contacts. You already may have a connection in your new location.
- Seek help at your installation. Many installations partner with local employers to place spouses. Some offer training to help spouses update work skills. Don’t be afraid to try something new and different. See your local installation’s employment readiness specialist at the family support center.
- Go online. Access the online resources available through Military OneSource, including Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) and Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP). Also visit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes .
- Be an entrepreneur. Military spouses have a unique combination of resiliency, leadership, focus and drive. Your ideas may generate an income while benefiting your community. Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) provides tools and training to help veterans and spouses become successful entrepreneurs.
As a longtime Air Force spouse, I have reinvented myself many times over our 18 moves. Along this journey, I supported my husband in his career and raised two smart, beautiful and resilient daughters. I earned both a bachelor’s degree and an MBA through scholarships, grants and an employer education benefit, and I earned the Accredited Financial Counselor® designation through the National Military Family Association military spouse fellowship. I volunteer at my kids’ schools, on our installation and in local communities.
I took mundane jobs to pay off bills along the way, but I also had exciting and fulfilling jobs, such as working for the USO. The best part is that everything I did to support our family’s military lifestyle groomed me for the amazing opportunity I have here at USAA.
There are many resources available to support and guide you to success, including those listed below. Leverage your special skills, discipline, perspective and problem-solving abilities to make your mark on the labor market.
09-12-2016 07:30 AM
Content provided courtesy of USAA.
By Ingrid Bruns