Can You Hear A Job Opportunity Knocking From Your Couch?

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Not likely.   There are many glorious things you can do from your couch, but getting a job in a tough market isn’t one of them.  I get it, it’s tough out there and it gets easier and easier to just hole up on the proverbial couch and call your lifelong career search quits, but what if I told you there’s always something you can do to work towards your professional goals?

Humor me.

Close your eyes (ok, hard to keep reading with your eyes closed, but you get my point) and clear your mind the best you can. Think of beaches or ponies or butterflies or something, but step away from your to-do list and your normal daily stressors.

Take a few deep breaths.

Ok, now I’m going to ask a question and I want you to say the FIRST thing that comes to your mind.  Ready?

What’s your dream job?

It’s ok if your answer is a little broad, “I want to work with troubled youth”, or “I want to work with animals”, but it is NOT ok if you thought of an answer and then immediately started backpedaling. Most of us (dare I say, especially Military Spouses) are guilty of backpedaling:

“I want to be a rocket scientist, but there are no places for rocket scientists to work in Ft. Sill, OK. “  

OR

“What if I start pursuing my goal and my service member spouse gets deployed?”  

I understand, of course, that there are realities (I really don’t like the word “obstacles”) about the military life that must be understood and embraced.  Military Spouses are at times going to be stationed in remote locations, and we are very often left to run the household without the in-person support of our service members.  I’m not here to sugar coat things, or to falsely promise you that you can have your dream job at this exact moment if you simply believe hard enough. I am here, however, to tell you that if you work for it, you can get much much closer.

Karen Golden from the Military Officer Association of America hit the nail on the head (and made me choke on my coffee laughing) when she said in this recent article on SpouseBuzz,

[quote]“ At home on your couch you may meet Dr. Phil. Out volunteering in the community, you may meet your next employer.”  [/quote]

Karen was specifically addressing the opportunities found while volunteering, but what really struck me, and something I’ve been stuck on for a while, is the idea that the opportunity is not COMING to you.  Sometimes you just have to spring into action and go in search of finding and making your own opportunities!

In my just over a year involvement with In Gear Career, I’ve met military spouses (these are real people, not friends of friends of friends or ghost tales on the interwebs) who…

…convinced their employer to let them start an entirely new business directorate at their new duty station where the corporation had not previously done business

…turned their hobby into a self-sufficient business of their own

…enthusiastically pursued remote positions while being stationed in Puerto Rico, two hours from San Juan and seemingly miles away from anyplace feasible to work (and made a connection with an employer who is chomping at the bit to scoop them up when the right contract comes along…and it will)

Do you see what all of those spouses had in common? VERBS.  They DID something.

When It Comes To Your Dream Job, Keep Dreaming and Start Doing

What can you do to make your dreams come true? First and foremost, don’t stop dreaming.

Don’t let yourself be painted into a corner (did anyone else picture Patrick Swayze?).

Figure out what you want and then DO something to work toward that goal. Take a class. Follow Karen Golden’s advice and volunteer in your community, particularly if there’s a volunteer position related to your dream career field.

Take advantage of the many resources available to military spouses (including In Gear Career of course). Don’t just look at those resources and think, “this is cool” and then move on; really dig in and see what they can do WITH you.

You may find that your dream changes with time and opportunity, but if you’re actively pursuing your goals, I truly believe you’ll get yourself into that dream job.

How do you keep momentum going towards your dream jobs and dream goals?  Have you had success making your own opportunities happen?  Tell us your secret sauce to keeping your career on track…we might just feature your story on NextGen MilSpouse!

1 COMMENT

  1. Amanda, yes! Yes! Yes! You are so on point with this piece!

    There are many things about this mobile military lifestyle that put up speed bumps along the road to success and may slow us down a bit. BUT, they do not throw down anything that should stop us dead in our tracks!

    Giving up on, postponing, or giving in and succumbing to the challenges of your professional pursuits should not be an option.

    No one ever said having all you want is easy. Achieving the level of success you want while living life as a milspouse will require you to be persistent, dedicated, motivated, creative, and resourceful.

    I’m a firm believer that we have more control than we give ourselves credit for, and I feel that if we want something badly enough we can find a way to make it happen. Whether it be by completing our education, keeping our skills current and relevant, volunteering, networking, or creating our own opportunities, we must take action and take control of our own professional destiny.

    We cannot continue using the demands of our service members’ careers as a reason for not pursuing our own. When my work/life balance was…well, off balance, I decided to start my own administrative consulting business so I could have the flexibility I needed to manage my professional life and my home life.

    And, about two months ago, I started a second business called Mission: Career. My mission is to empower others to create their own professional opportunity through entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is a viable career path for many that can help them to thrive rather than just survive life as a military spouse!

    Milspouses are about the most resourceful group of people out there. I have no doubt that any of us who want more than what we currently have can have whatever we want…if we’re willing to work for it and work hard, AND be willing to do what others may not be to get it.

    And, that, my friends, is the key!

    “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robbin

    So, I say, get up off the couch,
    and go after what you want because twenty years is a long time to wait for your turn.

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