When Kelly’s husband came back from Afghanistan, bronze star in hand, he started his captain's career course ahead of his peers. Kelly found herself suddenly feeling like there was something major missing from her life.
Once upon a time, Kelly had her dream job, too. Before she moved to El Paso, TX with her then boyfriend, now husband, she worked as a counselor in a residential group home for adolescent males who had been convicted of sexual offenses.
Kelly wrote in a recent email, “I didn't realize it until I left, but I gained so much satisfaction from that job. I wasn't making bank, but it brought me a lot of self-worth by helping others through counseling.”
Even though Kelly did exactly what we tell spouses to do—get a part time job and go back to school until you can get the job you want—she hasn’t been able to reconnect with that feeling of self-worth and accomplishment.
“What can I do for right now to get through the feelings of hopelessness?” Kelly asked.
Excellent question. I hear the same thing from spouses all over the country. They love their military member. They would gladly move all over the world for him or her. Yet there is this lingering feeling that while their ambitions are moving ahead, yours fall further and further in sight.
This feeling is supposed to be especially hard after a servicemember graduates from a school or has a promotion ceremony or takes command. Spouses report that along with the pride they feel in their beloved, they often have this little, secret, inward oh.
When I get that feeling, I used the Old Lady Defense. I remind myself that my grandmothers lived well into their 90s. This year is not the only year of my life. I will be an old lady someday with plenty of good career years behind me. I tell myself that the curtailing of my ambitions is only temporary.
What would you tell Kelly to do to get through her feeling of career hopelessness?