As a military spouse, finding steady employment can be a real challenge. Many military spouses face potential employers who are unwilling to hire someone connected to the military’s mobile lifestyle. By the time you finally find a decent job at one base, it’s time to move again! It can be a vicious cycle that derails a career, regardless of your education or experience.
That’s why many military spouses are seeking more portable careers that they can take with them during a PCS move. Some professions are easier to transition into after moving to a new state. Earning a new degree or certification can open doors for military spouses. Entrepreneurship is a growing trend, as numerous military spouses are starting their own companies and delivering virtual services or online products. Other spouses are discovering the benefits of working remotely. Companies that hire employees to work from home have fewer overhead costs and don’t mind when their workers go through a PCS move. Let’s explore how military spouses can find a portable career.
Talk to an Employment Counselor: Some jobs are more PCS-friendly than others. If you are tired of losing months of salary every time you move, or not having local job opportunities, then it may be time for a fresh start. If you are uncertain which careers will be the most portable and convenient for a military lifestyle, then talk to an Employment Counselor. The base Education Center or Family Center offers this resource to spouses. They can help you choose a career that matches your skills, then map out the degrees or certifications required for that career.
Use MyCAA education benefits: Did you know that the government offers this education discount to certain military spouses? Spouses of active duty service members in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 or O-1 to O-2 who can complete their coursework while their sponsor is on military orders can take advantage of this scholarship. This includes spouses married to members of the National Guard and Reserves. MyCAA (My Career Advancement Account) provides $4,000 of tuition assistance to help spouses pursue licenses, certificates, certifications or associate degrees necessary to gain employment in high demand, high growth portable career fields and occupations. These benefits can make a huge difference if you decide to pursue a new certification or career.
Connect with other “milpreneurs” online: If you have a desire to start your own company, you’ll find that there is already an incredible online community of military spouses who have become entrepreneurs. Whether you want to market physical goods, food products, virtual services, or a technical skill like writing or Public Relations work, you will see there are already military spouses paving the way. Although starting your own business is challenging and has a huge learning curve initially, if you seek out the right communities and mentors you can gain a lot of wisdom and experience by collaborating with others. Share your ideas with other military spouses to help prepare yourself for a new business launch.
Look for military-friendly remote work companies: As technology advances the ability to work and interact online, companies are increasingly hiring remote employees. This allows them to reach a talent pool anywhere in the country (or in the world!) while reducing the overhead costs of maintaining a large office space. As the remote work industry grows, companies are making more efforts to reach out and retain military spouses as employees. Seek out the most military-friendly companies if you want to interact with employees who aren’t upset when you announce a PCS move.
Even though frequent moves are often an unavoidable part of military life, that doesn’t mean a military spouse’s career needs to suffer. Use these strategies to plan out a portable career that will go with you the next time your service member receives PCS orders.