Despite attending three universities, going on four, and having a resume longer than a child's Christmas list, I've been one lucky milspouse with respect to employment. I've always found employment immediately upon moving to a new duty station, and I've somehow had the good fortune of working for civilians who appreciated the challenges of military life, were not afraid to invest in me only to turn around and lose me to a PCS, and who treated me with respect.
While we were stationed at Fort Benning, my husband left for a year-long unaccompanied tour in the Middle East. My employer, concerned that I wasn't eating properly, would drop food off at my house, take me to dinner, invite me to her home, well, you get the idea.
At my present job, my superiors could not have been more supportive when my husband deployed to Afghanistan. We were hosting a conference on the West Coast one month from his deployment. I needed to be there, but they insisted that I stay home and spend time with my husband. Of course, my husband prefers a normal existence just before deployment, and I was needed at the conference, so I defied the wishes of my bosses and went, but the fact that they were sensitive to the deployment countdown meant a lot to me. When my husband redeployed, the order was, "we better not see you around here for a while."
I haven't had one negative experience with respect to employment. However, I've heard enough horror stories to know that my experience is anything but typical. Many milspouses face significant career challenges.
Andrea Peck, military spouse and writer, is working on an upcoming story about military spouses and careers. She writes:
I am a freelance writer (and military spouse) who is writing a story for Military Spouse magazine on the difficulties spouses face in maintaining a career. In particular, I am looking at whether spouses should reveal to potential employers their relationship to the military. I would like to talk to spouses who believe that disclosing the transient nature of their lives has either helped them or hurt them land a job. I'd also like to interview spouses who have changed careers because their original career proved to be incompatible with a transient military lifestyle.
If you're interested in contributing, email Andrea.
We're cautious about what we post on SpouseBUZZ, and when we make you aware of these types of outside solicitations, it's up to you to choose whether or not to participate. We report, you decide....
What's been your experience? How difficult is it for milspouses to find employment, and then maintain a career?
The Career Center is always a great resource for milspouses, check it out.