As Army Wives we have to get creative when finding work that will travel with our soldiers. Let me tell you ladies the struggle is real. For most military wives that is our label and our identity. But that couldn’t be further from the truth for most. Oh trust me we love our soldiers to our core, but most of us have our own goals and dreams. Now those can be much harder for us to achieve being “Married to the military” but not impossible.
Our husband’s work hard during their military career to achieve rank and recognition so why can’t the wives work to achieve as well? We don’t need to just have hobbies and interests, we can have careers and dreams. It is ok for military spouses to want something beyond taking care of our children and our soldier like a good house wife should (Ha little 50’s humor).
As a military wife our dream job gets put on the back burner as we follower soldier from one duty station to another. We often get lost in our daily lives and we definitely deal with some unique challenges along the way. Now of most of us finding a job or career that will move with us every few years can be a real struggle. Most of us find something to sell or create our own businesses to allow for flexibility and extra income.
Personally we have moved so many times I quit counting, and every move is the same. I update my resume and hit the ground running. I say all the right things in the interview with my Bachelor’s Degree in hand yet I still seem to be struggling finding work. How can I ever move up the corporate ladder if I am always starting at the bottom and have no time to move up? Seniority or tenure what is that in our world we can’t stay in one place one enough to earn it.
So I decide to take my future and my income into my own hands and own my own business. It takes a certain type of person to be an entrepreneur. But if anything can prepare you for it it’s being a military spouse. We learn business skills that make us successful in our military communities so why can the pay forward to the business world? Military wives learn how to adapt to change, communicate, and have some networking skills that cannot be taught. We offer support to those around us and oh my Lord are we organized.
Adaptability is essential when owning your own business. We deal with more change in a few years, more than most deal with in a lifetime. Now this can be good change or bad but we always smile and find a way to make it through it. In the real world we can’t predict what is going to happen and change is all around us. Military wives eat and sleep change on a regular basis so having someone who can adapt to change and embrace it, is a trait that in my eyes is priceless.
Networking skills and communication is second nature to most military wives. When we get to our new duty station we have to figure everything out and quickly. We have to make the transition as smooth as possible for our families (especially our children). Having some sense of normal is something that is important in our life of chaos, so the sooner we establish that normal the better. As a business you are always transitioning and communicating with customers so the easier the flow the better relationship you establish and that is important.
We have learned how to make friends fast and talk to people wherever we go. We don’t have time to wait for people to find us and realize how awesome we are so we just radiate this sense of friendly that is hard to explain. People are drawn to us and want to know us and we create lifelong instant bonds with people we are meant to know.
We offer support to people when they need it and have no problem asking for advice or input either. We have battle buddies just like our soldiers and that allows us to seek that in the business world and apply to real life situations.
Oh boy are we organized we have no choice it becomes second nature to us. We develop them pretty fast since we move so much anything that makes life simpler is well one less thing we have to worry about. It comes with having to find that one item you need the day after you unpack your housing goods from your third move in five years. It is that very attention to details and level of organization that makes a business successful ( keeping track of invoices, orders, receipts, etc.).
As the spouse of a soldier you get very used to discipline, leadership, loyalty, duty, respect, and integrity. So as a business owner or employee of course those traits would carry over. What business owner would not want any one of those traits in an employee? We live our lives daily watching our soldier as the Army would put it “Be all you can be” so that is embedded in who we become as well.
Military spouses learn quickly they are a reflection of their soldier so what they believe in becomes what we believe in and the life we live. We wear many hats and we learn to do everything that is asked and not asked of us. Just like living the military life it takes time to establish your business, get a routine, and do what needs to be done. We learn what we need to learn to be successful even if that means sleepless nights to do so.
But whoa boy give us a challenge and we are all in, and nothing can stop us. We are dedicated to all we do and owning a business is hard and has long work hours but the accomplishment is worth it all. And no matter where the military takes us we will always have something that will travel with us when we go. I love been able to contribute to our family income and do something I love in the process. My hard work and networking is building a foundation that one day will be my legacy and for that I am so proud.
It takes a special kind of person to run a business, but life as a military spouse is one of the best business boot camps out there. Traits and skills that lead to a success life within the military community often translate in to success in the business world.
I asked a few military spouse members about how they have found success with employment.
Here are their stories:
I have been fortunate to only experience 2 posts so far. 1st one I settled for a restaurant position as that was the best I could do in the area in a recession. Moved to our next post and volunteered at ACS (Army Community Services). Then got hooked up with PPP (Priority Placements Program), which offered a temp job for 6 months and a permanent position in less than 1 year. Don’t know where I’m heading next yet, but working on updating my civilian and federal resumes while I wait. – Erin
I actually got my job through a spouse on the Spouses of USAREC Support Facebook page. My last two jobs actually came from other military spouses. My advice it’s all about networking, it is key. Also put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to ask for help on your resume. I am a licensed social worker and I am currently an Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Advocate. Last post I worked on as an Applied Behavioral Analysis tutor and supervisor for the region. -Ashlee
I have my own health and wellness Business! I mostly did it to lose weight, but then I realized the opportunity it gave to help me provide for my family and that made me excited! I get to work for myself and build my dreams, not someone else’s. And now with a baby on the way, I can stay home and enjoy it. The best part is I can work from any were! I also have my cosmetology license, but it is hard to renew each new state we are in. So I just do that for fun. -Rebecca
I work as a medical transcriptionist. It goes where we go, and I do not have to miss much work between moves. I was off for 1 week for our last PCS….and that was with a 4-day drive to our new location. Our internet was hooked up day after we arrived, and I was back to work again. -Julie
I’ve just gone with the flow and I’m a jack of all traits. I’ve worked in every restaurant position, a real estate office, a behavioral health specialist with children diagnosed with severe behavior disorders, and now I work as a contract administrator for a dock and door company. Sometimes military life is hard. I hate it and love it at the same time. It gives me the chance to try new areas but also limits me in my dream job search. I’ve come to the conclusion that until my soldier retires my career is flexible (just so I don’t go insane sitting at home). -Ashley
After I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and we moved to Fort Knox, KY. I decided to start crafting. I had no idea I would enjoy it and never thought I would be good at it. Looking back I can see that I tapped into this creative side I never knew existed in me. Now I have my own online business and it is my full-time job. I love creating things and writing. This blog seemed like something I was meant to do and I am loving every minute of it. I hope to shed light on so many different topics for all my fellow military wives, moms, and fellow crafters. I can’t wait to see what I do next! I can say owning your own business is hard and you never really clock out. I work long hours and always have something that needs to get done (kind of like motherhood, so I got this!!).