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Deployment and Spouse Jobs: When Your Employer Isn't Flexible

(Photo: Stock Image)
(Photo: Stock Image)

Dear Career --

I have a job that I love, but I need to leave it.

My service member is about to deploy, and I have to be home to watch the kids after school.

I asked my employer if I could leave early each day, but they said "no."

I really thought they would understand, since they knew we were military from the start, but I guess not.

How should I handle this?

-- Frustrated

Dear Frustrated --

I'm sorry you feel you have to leave a job you love.

Your note leaves me with a few questions. Is the deployment a surprise? Have your children been in after-school care previously and it's now unavailable? Did you talk with your employer when you were hired about potentially needing flex schedules during a deployment?

I think it's important to remember that employers are running a business. If an arrangement for a flex schedule during deployment or long trainings was agreed upon during the hiring process, I can understand your disappointment in your supervisor not understanding.

But if that hasn't been discussed before (even if they knew of your military affiliation), it's not surprising they didn't jump at the opportunity to make these allowances. If you leave earlier than they're accustomed to for an extended period of time, they have to pay someone to fill that gap.

If you've explored all avenues for procuring after-school care and are sure you need to leave the position, I will say one thing: Please give proper notice, no matter what. In most positions, that means two weeks.

Doing so not only helps your employer prepare for your departure, it protects you professionally when you're able to get back out there.

Whether or not you think you may list this employer as a reference in the future, you never know when another potential employer will call to verify employment or whether someone at the next place happens to know someone from this organization.

Set yourself up for success and don't burn any bridges by leaving abruptly.

If you think you'd like to stay, I wish you the best of luck in finding additional child care so you can keep the job you love.

-- Career

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Dear Career tackles the trickiest careers questions from real military spouses with advice from spouse career experts at In Gear Career.

A part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes, In Gear Career chapters provide professional development and networking to career-minded military spouses located at military installations around the world.

Want to find a local In Gear Career chapter or learn more about what In Gear Career can do for you? Find us here!

Have a career question you’d like to submit? Email our experts at

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