If I were First Lady, I would be married to the wrong guy. I like the guy I have, thanks. But if I were First Lady, I would help military families so much differently than Michelle Obama does now. (Which is probably why Barack Obama never asked me out.)
What would you do if you were the First Lady and genuinely meant to help military families? Last month this was the question that set my military writers group off. Kristen Henderson and Holly Scherer and Kathie Hightower and Terri Barnes were all pro-White House. They were all about change being incremental. Those ladies are so nice.
Not me. I want quick change. I want now change. I want change that the First Lady is best suited to do. One of the things we hear at SpouseBuzz from military professionals is how no one knows they exist to help spouses get jobs. We also hear that it is problematic to get programming for spouses approved by groups comprised mostly of men.
Easy fix for me, the First Lady. I would start by making every spouse employment program have the same name on every base in every service around the world. I would call it “Spouse Employment Office.” And I would use my First Lady influence to make sure it popped up #1 on Google every time.
How? I would be the First Lady. So I would throw a dinner party. I would gather all the Joint Chiefs around my table with their spouses and I would pin them down with my fabulousness like butterflies on a board. I would ask them to do me that little name change favor.
“I like the way you call the commissary ‘the commissary’ no matter where you live,” I would say. “I love how the exchange is ‘the exchange’ whether it is the PX, the BX, the NEX or the MCEX. I so admire that practicality. So why not call the place there are services for spouse employment ‘Spouse Employment Office?’ It’s so you!”
When the Chairman and all the Joint Chiefs start harrumphing about how their service is different and how this wouldn’t ever work and it would cost too much and blah blah blah, the First Lady could give them the evil eye and wither them in their chairs.
No, no, no. The First Lady should give a prearranged eyebrow signal to their wives. Mrs Dempsey seems to me the kind of military spouse who would say, “Martin, honey, don’t be a jerk.”
Granted, all the programs would not offer all the same services. They would differ a bit by service because what is required in each community is different (See the great job the state of Florida is doing with MilSpouse employment here.)
Then I would have somebody cool draw up a logo as recognizable as Facebook. I would have it painted on all those signs on every base that still point you to the Officer’s Club even though hardly anyone ever goes there. I would teach the gate guards to explain where the office was and I would get some of those cardboard cutouts of myself from the airport and set the up in front of the office.
Then I would do the First Lady thing and step back. I would delight in all those local professional folks doing their job to make the connections military spouses need to get jobs. Then I would turn my hand at the next cool thing only a First Lady can do.