If I ran the world, you would be able to get a job in 30 minutes, tops. Because that is about as long as anyone can maintain a positive attitude, keep food out of their teeth and schlepp around in a skirt. Instead, a military spouse job hunt takes about 30 years—or at least it seems that way. And the worst part is that no one ever tells you to watch out for the Despair Bear.
Yes, I seriously just said that. I probably should have kept that reference to myself. Instead, I am saying that just like you used to travel around your toddler life with a Care Bear at your side, in your spouse life you must tote a career Despair Bear.
Despair Bear starts out cute enough. When you first get married or you first graduate from college or you first arrive at your new duty station, your career Despair Bear is adorable. Everyone thinks that it is so cute that a fabulous person like you worries about getting a job. Who wouldn’t hire someone who…. (fill in your best career attributes here)??
In this stage, the Despair Bear could fit on a key chain. The problem is that this stage lasts about 30 days. Then Despair Bear takes up residence on the passenger seat of your car. You deepen your job search. Call the father-in-law of your first roomate’s cousin’s sister. Comb the website for MSEP. Fend off your mother-in-law daily phone call wondering if you are still a housewife.
Another month goes by and Despair Bear starts talking to you as you drive. “No one is hiring,” he says. “You are just gonna move,” he reminds you. “Why did you pick such a dumb major anyway?”
By month four of a job hunt, Despair Bear is so huge that he is trying to wrestle the steering wheel from your hands. You start counting up all the online applications you filled out and when you reach 87 you pop open a beer. Your military husband swears that these things take time and that you just need to adapt and overcome. You try not to slug him when you to remember that being military means never having to go on an interview. Despair Bear moves into the house and you vacuum around him, drape laundry over him, start asking him if your yoga pants make you look fat.
And that’s when you get an offer. Because when you are a military spouse looking for a job that is often how long it takes. It seems like too long because it is too long. So keep moving forward with the rest of us. And strap Despair Bear in for the long, long ride.
Navy wife Jacey Eckhart is Editor of SpouseBuzz and author of The Homefront Club: The Hardheaded Woman's Guide to Raising a Military Family and I Married a Spartan?? The Care and Feeding of Your Military Marriage.