Fifty years ago almost every American at least knew a current or former member of the U.S. military.
But that's no longer the case. And that distance has left the civilian world with a lot of unknowns and assumptions about troops, their families and our military way of life. That same lack of connection is also true among private sector workforce employers and hiring managers.
The result? A bunch of crazy myths about military spouse workers.
Some of the misconceptions come from views perpetuated by 1950's era sitcoms, and some come from sheer lack of familiarity. Others are held over from memories of stories about military life shared by grandparents and great grandparents.
As a military spouse employment expert I've heard some wild misconceptions. But as a military spouse myself, I also know the truth.
4 Crazy Military Spouse Employee Myths
Myth 1: Military spouses lead top secret lives overseas and can't use the internet.
Truth: Military spouses make amazing, available remote workers. And they love the internet.
Unbelievably, more than one business professional has told me that military spouses can't work remotely or while stationed overseas because our identities must remain secret, limiting our access to the internet.
I don't know if this weird myth stems from watching too many TV shows that highlight the military living like 'secret squirrels,' or if it's simply based on a lack of other information.
Whatever the case, it couldn't be further from the truth.
While in both Germany and South Korea I held remote jobs while living off base in the local communities. I even worked remotely (using the Internet) while sitting in local coffee shops. Many, many other military spouses do the same.
Because of our unique lifestyles, military spouses actually tend to be on the savvier side of the tech world. It's how we stay in touch with our friends and family and how we communicate with our service members when they are deployed. And it's how we communicate with local residents in our host countries and navigate websites, event pages and emergency announcements written in a foreign language.
Myth 2: All military spouses are stay-at-home moms
Truth: Military spouses are not all female, and we are not all parents.
Instead, the military spouse community is hugely diverse, representing every gender, race, religion, belief system and ethnicity. We are parents, non-parents, business professionals and entrepreneurs. We are doctors, lawyers, scientists, educators, administrative professionals, policy experts and computer programmers.
Being a military spouse does not define us, it's simply the way we live. And living this life has made us adaptable, open and resourceful. It has made us strong leaders, as well as supportive team members.
It also makes us great potential employees, available to join the workforce.
Myth 3: Spouses don't want or need to work because the military takes care of everything
Truth: We don't live in those 1950's-era family sitcoms.
Thanks to an increased cost of living, many American families find they need two incomes to meet their financial needs, and military families are no different.
Military spouses are, on average, better educated, speak more languages and have more diverse experiences than our civilian counterparts. We are skilled, thrive when working with little direction and quickly adapt to new people and various cultures.
Hiring a military spouse not only brings a top-notch employee, it also provides a career to a hard working spouse that, in turn, allows them to provide for their family and continue to support their partner's service to our country.
Myth 4: Military spouses move too much to get hired.
Truth: Military spouses might be more stable than non-military employees.
According to a recent study by Gallup, 35 percent of new hires at any company will move jobs in less than three years, while 50 percent of current employees are looking for another job.
Military spouses, on the other hand, stay on average in one location for more than three years. We are fiercely loyal and masters of multitasking. We excel at doing less with more. We are exceptional workers.
In a nutshell, hiring a military spouse gets employers a rockstar team member and one who will likely actually be around longer than civilian counterparts.
An Army spouse, Beth has a background in all areas of sales, business development and recruiting. She is putting those skills to work at ServingTalent where she is helping to get military spouses employed. When Beth is not introducing the idea of military and foreign service spouse employment to new clients, she can be found coaching and training CrossFit, traveling with her husband, cooking or hanging out with their dog.