The world thinks of military spouse employment the wrong way. They think spouses are all one type of person with one type of education and one set of ambitions.
So they set up one type of program to teach us to write resumes or access corporate websites or find jobs at a call center. Then they wonder why those programs aren’t overrun with users.
At Military.com, we have noticed that spouses who struggle to find work aren’t looking for hourly employment. If anyone is hiring in their area, spouses can find hourly work without a lot of help from us.
Instead, we have noticed that spouses struggle at particular times in the lifecycle. A certain duty station, a particular set of ambitions, even our own age can spin the job hunt in a different way.
Related: Who Do They Think You Are?
Here are some types of military spouse job seekers we have identified who may be struggling to get a job. Do any of these types sound like you?
Young and educated
You and your service member just got married. You thought it would be easy to take your college degree and get a job once you were together at the new duty station. You never had trouble finding a job before.
But somehow you aren’t getting any interviews now. You don’t know anyone in the area, and no one seems interested in hiring a military spouse. Besides, you are moving in six months. Is that enough time to get a job?
You are highly educated with an undergrad or graduate degree and a lot of work experience. Although you were able to find full-time employment at new duty stations at the beginning of your career, now that you are older, finding a job that matches your seniority in a new location isn’t easy. While your service member’s career is moving forward, every time you move you feel yourself slide back down the career ladder. How do you get a job without connections in a new place?
Resilient bill payer
Even though your service member’s pay is steady and the benefits are decent, you are well aware that no one ever got rich in the military. You have full-time bills so you, too, need a full-time job. You may have no college or just a year or two of classes in a field that doesn’t interest you anymore. There isn’t money to go back to school and pay for daycare. How do you get the best paying job possible?
Creatives and Entrepreneurs
The thought of working at an office or a hospital or a retail establishment makes you feel tired. You are a writer or a filmmaker or a photographer. Maybe you have a business on Etsy. Maybe you have started a business of your own. How do you get the clients you need to run your hobby like a real business?
You are a full-time stay-at-home parent. You want to be the one at home with your kids because this is what works with your kids, your service member’s deployment schedule, your current location and what you want to do with your life. You know that someday you will return to the job market, so you want to stay engaged in some way in your own field. Or you want to explore a possible new career option for the future. What would that be?
You have been a SAHM or a SAHD for years. But now that your kids don’t need daycare, you want to earn a little money and get back into the swing of work -- at least part-time. What can you do from home that fills this need?
Your kids have driver’s licenses of their own. Suddenly, you can see that the real work of raising kids is almost done. Your service member will retire in a few years. He or she has already hinted that they expect you to be earning some income, too. How do you go back to the work world when you still don’t know what you want to be?
Not every duty station is created alike. The research shows that job seekers who are located at more rural or overseas military installations are less satisfied than those in urban areas. That’s because it is so hard to find a good job in a small town or when adhering to local SOFA agreements. How do you cope with a duty station that offers little opportunity?
These are only eight types of military spouse job seekers. Where do you fall on this list, or are you a different category. Are we missing some types?
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