"I'm so sick of wives who follow their husbands around the country and just work entry-level job after entry-level job." My boss said this to me-- about me.
I immediately bristled. I had to concentrate really hard not to show my disgust at this comment on my face.
But my retort sprang off my lips. "I was a teacher for five years. I have a college degree. I graduated summa effing cum laude." (Okay so I didn't say the f word, but I sure thought it!)
The more I thought about the comment, the more I thought that the part I'm really insulted about isn't the "entry-level job" thing. I'm working an entry-level job because I want to. I wanted something with less responsibility and less pressure than teaching.I wanted to go home at the end of the night and not give work a second thought.
I don't think I'm the only person who feels this way. In fact, I work with some really smart folks who could most certainly be spending their time elsewhere. I would never presume to judge them for what I perceive to be a lack of ambition.
The part that's really under my skin is the comment that I "follow" my husband. After college, my husband and I both moved to a sleepy town north of Dallas because I got a job there. No one called that "following." It was just moving.
Growing up, my family moved six different times when my dad changed jobs. That wasn't "following." Of course we all moved together. We were a family.
Why is it different when the military is involved? With regular moves (I've done two in two years), finding a good job, let alone a career, is more challenging.
I don't think I should slog it out fighting for a career position I'm not passion about and that I'll have to abandon in a few years time. Or one that I'll regret when my husband is deployed/in the field/TDY/insert-other-reasons-for-separation-here and I'm feeling overwhelmed.
Every family has to weigh what the best option is for them. I could have stayed in Texas instead of moving to Germany. I had a good job, good benefits. But I had already spent so much time away from my husband. I was thrilled to spend some time being a stay at home wife and dote on him for a while. We had been apart for 18 months at that point and we had a lot of time to make up for.
When we PCSed to our current duty station, I was eager to get back to work, but I still didn't want the commitment of a full time job. This was the choice we both agreed would be best for our family.
The worst part of all is that this criticism, this revulsion, came from my boss, a retired officer and current manager at an MWR facility on post. She made different choices for herself and can't or doesn't care to understand those who made different choices.
Instead, she will judge us and sneer and miss out on something beautiful: families doing what is best for them regardless of what anyone else thinks.
Amy Bermudez is an Army wife, writer, runner, and ice cream-lover. She, her husband, and their dog Geronimo are from Texas, spent a year in Germany, are currently living in the south, but consider home to wherever the Army sends them. You can read more of her musings about military life, running, self-discovery, and Geronimo's antics on her blog at www.armyamy.com.