Hurdles to Having a Career as a Military Spouse

You have put in the time, effort, dedication and sacrifices to go to school and get your degree or the required career certification. Traveling around every few years and moving your family has been extremely stressful, but you’ve just started your career and have begun to feel comfortable in your new environment.

Civilian employees don’t typically encounter the sudden hurdle you’re about to face. Your spouse comes home and informs you that he’s being deployed, you’re up for a permanent change of station (PCS) or he’s going to a temporary duty station (TDY). Guess what military spouse? Every normal daily activity suddenly is going to have the pressure of being on you. You’re emotional and physical support are going to be gone.

Hurdles military spouses typically face while trying to have a career:

  1. Deployments
  2. Having reliable day care
  3. Permanent Change of Stations
  4. Distractions while working remotely
  5. Irregular employment history on resumes
  6. Taking time off while your spouse is on deployment or TDY
  7. Needing flexible work schedules in order to fit your career in around your spouse’s military duties

A military spouse can overcome many of these obstacles by planning ahead.

When your spouse is deployed, communicate with your employer right away and let them know changes that may come up with your work schedule. Ask if it’s possible to work remotely some of the time. Have childcare or a daycare already picked out and utilize it if you continue to work or are working remotely. The military offers fee assistance for childcare. For permanent change of stations, keep birth certificates, social security cards, passports, car registrations and insurance & health records in a file altogether for easy access. Here is a PCS Checklist. If you need to take the year off or a month off for soldier’s training, make sure to notate on your resume the reason for your time off as well as any valuable skills learned during this time.

You can keep your career with open communication. If you do need to step back from your career during your spouse’s training or deployment, sign up for online courses, Continuing Education Credits (CEUs), personal enrichment and development courses to help keep your skills up-to-date. Check out Military Spouse Career Education and Ed4Career for a complete listing of online courses!