SpouseBuzz

Working from Home

Andi's great post about finding your cheese reminded me about a post I had in draft format for a while.

When my husband joined the military, I left teaching and became a writer. Freelancing has given me the freedom to spend more time volunteering and pursuing other interests and now it gives me the flexibility to be my daughter's primary caretaker all day.

On bulletin boards, blog comments, and face-to-face chats, one of the concerns I hear over and over again from spouses is how to keep up a fulfilling career with an active duty spouse.

The frequent PCS moves, the lack of a geographically present parenting partner, and the learning curve each time you change markets or careers can all put a damper on the spouse's professional goals--but they do not have to.

Some spouses choose "portable" careers that are in high demand almost anywhere they go, such as teaching or nursing.  Although you may have to obtain new state certifications when you move, you have a good chance of finding a decent job.

When I moved to Texas, Texas Workforce was willing to pay all my Texas certification fees (I was already certified in NY and MA) and help me with any logistics I needed.  They have a great program that will help any spouse who left a job to come to Texas on a servicemember's orders.  They cover a lot of other job search costs, too.  You can check with your state to see what sort of assistance they may offer.

I chose a different path, however. I decided to take my love of education and combine that with my desire to write. For the last four years I have been writing curricula, assessments, texts, and educational articles. Working less than 15 hours a week I can make a bit more than I would teaching here. And, if I want to work less, or take time off, I can do so whenever I wish.

When we found out about Lilah's heart condition, the doctor said that she would need to be kept away from germs as much as possible. He added, "I hope you weren't planning on putting her in day care." Because I work from home, child care did not have to be an issue.

There are a number of ways to get started as a freelance writer. You could brainstorm a list of possible subjects and then search for magazines and corporations that might need your expertise. There is no shortage of books or guides that will give you tips--just search "Freelance Writing" in your favorite bookstore. You could also check out job listings on Military.com's Spouse Career Center...my search today turned up 277 possibilities.

I write educational materials, because I was a teacher--but no matter what you enjoy, there's a market for writing about that topic. Nursing? Sales? Golf? Reading? Chocolate? Beer? There are companies and magazines out there that need content.

If you are interested in becoming a freelance writer, there is no start-up cost and no training necessary--you can even get started today.  Good luck!

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