Monday, August 13, 2018

Being a Marine Wife and Looking for a JOB

A friend posted a statistic on her Facebook page  that "the average military family moves every 2.23 years. This not only means taking bets on what pieces of furniture are going to survive, but also new jobs for spouses, new schools for kids, new friends and new communities. The mental health effects are real too! Increases in anxiety and stress as well."

This resonated so much with me, because of the season of life that our family is going through. Having to leave a life and start a new one every 2-3ish years is tough. It's even tougher on kids. It's tough on marriages. It's tough on finances. It's just tough in general. And yet, thousands of military families have been doing it for decades and thriving. I also feel like a lot (not all!) of military spouses never reach their career potentials. Who wants to hire someone that's going to move in 2.23 years? Is it worth the investment for your company?

There are initiatives in place in Washington D.C. for rights of military spouses to be able to have careers and not be discriminated against because of their spouse's choice to serve our nation. That doesn't mean the problem has been solved.

What does this mean for me? When our family was slated to go to Okinawa, I had no plans of working. I wanted to enjoy our time there. I wanted to drive my kids to school and activities, go to the beach whenever I felt like, and travel. I had this glamorous life envisioned for me. I was going to be a doting Marine wife and mother. Kind of like a trophy wife, without the trophy wife budget (you can laugh). But of course, now that our family's plans have changed, I began looking for work. I wanted a job with flexible hours where I could pick up my kids from school, take them to practice, and be home in time to have dinner on the table. I figured it'd be easy to find a job. I graduated at the top of my class from a top tier college. I have 10 years of work experience in the Marine Corps. I have some work experience straight out of college in the healthcare industry. I have leadership skills from leading Marines (and MAJORING IN IT!). Through my job hunt, I found I was either over qualified, or under qualified. A lot of the jobs I was under qualified for were not because of work experience. I didn't qualify because of education. Unless I had a highly specialized degree (teaching, engineering, nursing, etc.), jobs I am qualified for are few and far between.

There were plenty of jobs that I felt I was qualified for based on my experience as a Marine coupled with a bachelor's degree. However, a lot of those jobs required a Master's degree. Someone told me that a Bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma. Everyone's got one. I've never felt like this statement was true until now. Through my frustration, I pulled the trigger, and applied for grad school. Yup! Homegirl is going to get a Masters. If that's what I need for better job opportunities as a military spouse, then, that's what I'm doing. I am applying for a program that is in line with what I majored in at Texas A&M. They offer an online Masters program in Ag Development, and since I absolutely LOVED my major, I know it'll be a good fit for me.

Some things I'm worried about. Actually, I'm only worried about one thing...the GRE. The math portion. I'm 34. I haven't taken a true math class since high school. So that's the only thing I have as a prayer request right now! I'm hoping that furthering my education will make me more "attractive" to potential employers, and that they will be able to look past my status as a "military spouse". Although, legally, they can't ask what my husband does for work in the hiring process, it is still an issue that military spouses deal with when looking for jobs.

So there you have it! It is the last week before school starts for my kids, and we have nothing ready. I haven't bought school supplies or school clothes. I am totally behind the power curve this year! I've been so consumed with this move to Yuma, that I've totally forgotten about back to school! This week will be crazy busy, for sure, but this mama is ready for the kids to be back in school!

1 comment:

  1. I feel your pain on the job front! This is exactly is why I'm back in school for a second Bachelor's in HR even though I have work experience in HR and an unrelated Bachelor's. Most people don't understand why I didn't go straight for an MBA instead of a second Bachelor's-- and I probably would have if I wasn't a military spouse-- but I wanted the ability to take an MBA off my resume if I was too overqualified to be considered and still have the necessary education for the job I want. I know LinkedIn just started offering spouses a free year of LinkedIn Premium for every PCS! What exactly is Ag Development-- is that related to leadership in agriculture?


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