Seeking Employment as a Military Spouse

May 10, 2018 - 2:58pm
By: 
Carlene Calkins

From my late teens to my late thirties I was a military wife.  Like so many other young, naïve girls, I thought it would be an adventure with my new husband to see the world.  I soon learned that my adventure meant that I was always the new kid on the block and had to repeatedly start over each and every time we relocated.

The easiest part of moving was finding a new living space and getting settled in.  Once that was accomplished, it was time to get a job. GPS didn’t exist so the first thing you had to do was find a map.  With map in one hand and newspaper in the other, I set out on my quest to find employment in unknown territory, not knowing a soul and praying that someone would hire me.  If I was lucky enough to get an interview, it was always the same scary little question, “Are you military?”  Even though my application said that I was born on the other side of the country and had five previous addresses, they always asked anyway.

So, what’s the big deal?  In the minds of some employers, military people move quite frequently. Why take the time to train someone if they’re just going to take off in 6 months? At times this one factor felt like the kiss of death.  Needless to say, finding a job was quite tedious.

I have great admiration for employers who take a chance on a military dependent. But for many, this can still be a huge issue. This very topic was recently addressed in a Military.com article on why you should hire a military spouse.  After reading this article, I walked away nodding in agreement.  Just because we are in this situation doesn’t mean we’re any less worthy.   In fact, I feel that being a military dependent actually makes us more worthy. I’ll explain.  

As a military dependent, you quickly learn change, flexibility, tolerance, patience, and gratitude.  These qualities are a must to survive this sometimes crazy existence.  At any given time a situation may arise that alters your life and that of your family, so you must always be prepared for the unexpected.  As in life, these qualities carry over to your work ethic as well, making you a well-rounded, valuable employee—if someone just gives you a chance.  Let us not forget that being an employed military spouse is so much more than just a job.  For some, it’s a support system when your husband or wife is deployed in another country for an extended period of time. It can also relieve the stress and financial burden for those who are lower ranking with young families. 

In today’s world, however, the internet and social media have created many more opportunities for and acceptance of military spouses in the workplace. Websites such as USAJOBS Help Center for Military SpousesMilitary One Source / Spouse Education & Career Opportunities, and military.com’s Military Spouse Employment are just a few helpful resources. 

I’d like to end with a big “Thank you” to those who took a chance on me during my formative years.  Without them, I would not have the skills I have today or the opportunity to work at Texas Creative for over 10 years.  Embrace military dependents for any length of time, whether it is months or years.  Hire them! The quality that you receive as an employer will be far more beneficial to your business than the quantity of time. 

 

 

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