Are We Doomed to Boring Careers Because of Who We Married?

Compared to the death-defying jobs of Felix Baumgartner and Jeb Corliss (whom I referenced in a previous blog), the majority of all other professions seem rather unexciting and dull.

While I can honestly state that I would never want any part of my career to involve breaking the speed of sound in a free fall or flying without two big engines and a pilot, I do enjoy a little variety and excitement in my job.

Yet, I wouldn’t be a good career coach if I didn’t acknowledge that not everyone finds the things I enjoy exciting (i.e. researching the latest job trends, finding the hidden job market and evaluating the impact of personality on career paths).  What one person finds exciting may be a great cure for insomnia for someone else.What’s frustrating to observe though, is that more military spouses are resigning themselves to jobs that they are told will be great for them when they are actually overqualified and underpaid.

Google’s sometimes quirky/sometimes helpful AutoComplete function, which uses a complex, techy algorithm based on popular search terms, provides suggestions of what you might be searching for based on the first words you type in the search bar.

When I entered “My Career is” into the Google search bar, I was immediately given the following suggested popular searches:

Google

 

While certainly not a scientific study, these results bring up a rather interesting point. It seems like a lot of people out there—military spouse or not—are downright miserable in their careers.

If so many people are unhappy in their professions, how can milspouses (who have the added obstacles of perpetual PCSing, unpredictable schedules and unspoken biases) ever hope to develop a career that is anything but mind-numbing?

By using some of the very skills we develop as a result of this lifestyle, such as:

Resilience

I have become an advocate for teaching military spouses how to transfer the resilience they’ve naturally developed while coping with the military lifestyle into their career development. The key is just not giving up. If you can make it through deployments, countless moves and the uncertainty of life overall, you most certainly can keep working toward your career goals.

Creativity
I am amazed at the entrepreneurial and innovative nature of military spouses. We are a creative bunch! Once again, we have to learn to apply this skill to our career progression.

Cool as a Cucumber
For those of you who struggle with this skill, consider the last crisis that you were able to avert. How did you handle it? What could you improve for next time? How could those skills help you in a work situation?

Tech Savvy
OoVoo, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts…you name it, we know it. When it comes to the various ways to connect, we are on top of it. One outgrowth of the frequent separations from our military member is that we’ve become really good at finding new technologies to stay close in spite of the distance. This great skill is such a wonderful asset to companies.

These are just a few of many qualities that can help us to overcome the boring career blues. What skills do you have as a result of the military lifestyle?

5 COMMENTS

  1. Independence, flexibility, adaptability, determination, strength, resourcefulness…

    We have no choice to learn to become all of these and translate these traits into the skills required to perservere and prevail during the most difficult circumstances. Any spouse with passion and desire can apply the skills they have attained as a result of living the military style to create a fruitful and meaningful career. I don’t think anyone, military or civilian, is doomed to a boring career.

    We are responsible for ourselves and for our perceived successes and shortcomings. If we don’t like our professional circumstances, we have the power to change them IF we want to.

    “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer

  2. Great blog. and yes, it takes a lot of creativity and possibility thinking and as Holly and I always say in our workshops and writing, we have to learn to immediately ask “What IS possible here? What IS available here? What is unique about this place that I can use in my goals/dream development?” vs the sometimes more common (we were both guilty of this early on) “what I want to do isn’t available here” or “why are we stuck in this godforsaken place?” And one other aspect of military life: we both know many people (not mil spouses) stuck in longterm careers or jobs that they are miserable at but are too afraid to change. Or people who want to make a change but find it difficult because the folks around them already have preconceived notions of who they are and what they are capable of. We get to (yes have to) reinvent ourselves regularly. Our newest book due out in May, Live Now, Not When: Military Spouse Help, is all about this concept. Take action.

  3. Thanks for the comments!

    One of the frustratingly beautiful parts of my business is that I’m pressing onward in it as the spouse of an active duty soldier. That means I’m dealing with the PCS’s, the interruptions and unpredictability of my husband’s schedule, the fear of deployment, the days of not seeing him while managing the household and a business. It’s hard work to create a portable career when the obstacles outweigh the opportunities, and by that I mean owning/starting a business or seeking a job.

    I love to offer inspiration and insights, but I can attest to the fact we all have bad days and there are times in most of our lives when there is a temptation (or perhaps many temptations) to just give up, because…well…it just seems easier. It’s kind of why I love what I do. I go through it right there with my spouse clients, and I understand those sabotaging thoughts.

    If it were easy to have a truly great career as a military spouse, everyone would have one and no one would give up. It’s hard work, it’s frustrating, but it’s totally worth it–and sometimes we just need a little push from a supportive friend, coach, counselor, teacher, advisor, spouse to get us moving forward again.

    Thank goodness for amazing milspouses who are fighting the good fight and encouraging each other. We are stronger together! 🙂 Thanks for the thoughts!

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