Feeling left out?


It's a familiar story: Military family PCS's, this time from overseas, gets settled and the spouse starts looking for a job. This time, though, the spouse has encountered more than just a few bumps on the road to finding employment: She's hit some big walls.

A friend of minehas been applying for numerous jobs in her local area after getting nowhere with the federal jobs process. Her most recent rejection included the following reasons:

  1. She was told that her military lifestyle did not fit with the employer's ability to invest time in trainingher; and
  2. shewas told that they were politically at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Mmm'kay... Well, first the job she was applying for wasn't exactly"rocket science" (her words!) and probably would not have required much in terms of time or money in training her. Second, she willlikelybe in the area for almost 3 years so he would need to spend an awful lot on training her to not recoup the investment. Third, this woman has years of varied experience, paid and unpaid, that probably make her over-qualified for the position so the idea of the employer investing a large amount of time and/or money training heris pretty ridiculous. Fourth, this employer would be hard-pressed to find a harder working, more dedicated, and disciplined group of potential employees than military spouses. He can just ask our First Lady, Mrs. Obama, who said:

"The fact is that military spouses are some of the most talented, hard-working, public-spirited people I've ever met.

You want to meet someone who can multitask and think outside the box? Someone with a strong work ethic and a rock-solid sense of responsibility? Someone who can adapt to changing circumstances and work well with all kinds of people? Well, that's a pretty good description of your average military spouse."

Then, there is the second part of his reason for not hiring her. How does he know where she falls on the "political spectrum?" It really irritates me that people, both civilian and military, paint us with such a broad brush. People in the military and those married to service members fall all over that "political spectrum."Don't assume you know someone's views based on their occupation or that of their spouse. In fact, that's probably a good rule of thumb for most occasions: Don't assume.

Another problem I have with this potential employer's second reason is this: the job in question did not have anything to do with politics. It would be another thing entirely if the spouse was applying to workas alobbyist or as a policy writer. But this particular job involved real estate.

I'm sure my friend is not the only person to go through this frustrating process of trying to find work every few years, only to come across such blatant discrimination and ignorance. So I'm wondering what are some other reasons you may have heard to not hire a military spouse?

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