I had my life completely planned out when I was in elementary school. Those plans changed, but I've always been a list-keeper. I have five-year plans for my five-year plans, and I studiously file them away in binders (I love binders) with cute little designer dividers. Things are cross-referenced and highlighted, and I also have a matching index card file. The addition of my iPhone has only added to the madness. Now I can track EVERYTHING.
It took awhile for me to get used to the things that weren't set in stone; things like finding out where you're going to live next week. Or whether a yes on an RSVP really meant a yes, because saying yes in February is completely different than saying yes one week before the blessed event in June. And no one told me that the translation for Three Month Wait Period on the housing list actually meant eighteen months.
No matter, I figure I'm a willow. I can bend when necessary. A lot. After all, I do have a chiropractor.
One thing I'm still trying to figure out, however, is the spouse career question. Not *my* spouse, but mine. My career. While I'm a spouse. My resume looks pretty typical for many military spouses, I think. As soon as I earned my college degree we moved from one coast to another. I promptly started substitute teaching, since we were only going to be there for 8 months, anyway. Then we moved again, and this time I was an administrative assistant for an investment broker. I've been a full-time teacher, a day-care provider, sold Avon, and did tons of volunteering. I'm going to be honest - my volunteer resume actually looks better than my work resume.
None of it, however, was a career. And, at least in the beginning, it wasn't for lack of trying. I put on my game face and went out into the world of resumes and uncomfortable pumps. I created proposals and slide shows. I smiled and shook hands and wrote thank-you notes after interviews. It became clear that wasn't going to be my path, nor is that an unusual revelation for military spouses.
In my case, I made my own path and figured out a way to work from home, doing something that I love. It took me years to get to that point, however. And the job path is an issue military spouses struggle with constantly - although there are a few companies that step up to the plate, it's not easy to lock into a career path in this lifestyle. Which all brings us to the letter C left us in the mailbag - chock full of questions:
What are some good questions to ask of a potential employer to find out if they are military friendly and will support the lifestyle of an Army spouse? Some of the topics I've thought of so far...One of the great benefits of a forum like SpouseBUZZ is the ability for us to all brainstorm and discuss issues together - and this is certainly a big issue! What choices have you made for your career? And what advice would you give C?
- What might happen when I (inevitably) have to move? - Will there be any possibility of keeping my job and telecommuting from my new location? - Would you grant leave in the event that I have to PCS (move to another military base)? Would it be charged against my sick or vacation leave? - Do you have a childcare program? - Would you grant leave for an event like my loved one coming home on R&R from a deployment? - What (if any) travel is required for this position?
Thanks - I hope to learn more!
You can also check out the Spouse Career Center here.