It’s the number one complaint of all military spouses: we love the life we live, we’re proud of our soldier, but it is incredibly hard to have a career while your spouse is Active Duty.
There is a huge stereotype of “Milspos” that all we’re good for is producing babies, being lazy and spending our husband’s money. I wasn’t aware of his assumption before marrying my soldier, but once I was introduced to other wives and knew what was thought about us, I couldn’t figure out where these lazy spouses where. I’d never met them.
While I’m sure there are some that fit the bill, whether military or not, the issue at hand is not that “spouses are just lazy and don’t want to work”. The underlying issue is that Military Spouses are grossly underemployed or unemployed through design.
Now there is a study that backs it up.
Blue Star Families has just released their report findings that the fact that SO many military spouses are unemployed affects more than just the military families individually. It costs the US economy ONE BILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR.
I know you’re thinking, “How Sway?”
Every time military families receive orders to move, if the spouse is employed- he or she will receive unemployment when moving. Depending on where they move, the spouse may or may not be able to find a new position. Not only does there need to be an available position, have the right set of qualifications, but as SOON as that resume slides across the manager's desk, it is glaringly obvious that they’re affiliated by the military. Not that the resume will list this (absolutely NOT!) but the cities in which she has held jobs tell her story. The pattern of how long she’s stayed at each station (2-3 years on average) signals to the employer that it’s a lot of training, time and money to invest in someone….only for them to move in a couple of years.
Even if we’re blessed enough to have a bit more stability and stay at a duty station for several years; the schedules of our soldiers can make work difficult. One week they’re here, the next week gone. One day they get home by dinner, the next day we’re lucky to see them by midnight. The only thing we know for sure is that the soldier's schedule and needs come FIRST. That is fine, but with that comes the fact that we are not reliable to employers, depending on our family needs.
So, more often than not, military spouses have useless degrees, lots of education, and no job. If we are lucky enough to have a job, it’s usually one in which we are overqualified. More and more of my friends are going the entrepreneurial route, out of necessity. While having your own business is a GOOD thing, it still doesn’t absolve the issues of the unreliable schedules, constant moving and having to rebuild. Realistically, not everyone is cut out to own their own business.
Instead, we try to make do with the life we’ve chosen and been dealt. Accepting that because our spouses are fighting for our country, our careers will never be first, and sometimes not existent. We may have a Master’s Degree working at Target. Now that the problem has been identified and we know that it’s not JUST a military problem, but an economic issue for us, perhaps we can begin looking for the solution.
Here's another article that gives details on the issues facing military spouses in the US.
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