Moving has been reported as one of the most stressful occurrences during a person’s lifetime. There is a fear that forms when you have to pack your belongings in boxes and sending it off somewhere new. People dread moving, even if it’s down the street. I don’t know about you, but my body naturally goes into panic mode when a move comes my way.
Lucky (or unlucky) for military families, we move on average every 2 to 3 years and are ten times more likely to move than civilian families.
That means we’re onto our next adventure every couple of years, which is also a wonderful experience for us. Once we get through the whole PCS process, we settle into our new normal and make the most of our time at our current duty station. Then, we wait for the whole cycle to start over again.
Military spouses oftentimes put their own priorities on hold while PCSing because of how involved and complicated everything is to organize a move. We pause our studies or maybe a hobby we’re perfecting. When a PCS came our way, I had to say goodbye to a full-time job and hello to a lot of uncertainty.
A big question that comes up a lot is should you job search during a PCS?
For me, it was a no-brainer. Yes. You should job search, especially if it’s something that is important to you.
When orders drop for our spouse, our own life becomes overwhelmed with everything PCS-related. That’s because we take on some of the necessities of planning to alleviate some of the burden on them. Our own stuff is involved in the process anyway and I know I like to have somewhat of a handle if anything of mine is being moved.
If you can swing it though, there is a whole lotta value for yourself to dig into the job market at your new location before you get there.
Here are some tips that have helped me search for a job while we were PCSing.
Having something written down is the first hurdle! Among the mountain of paperwork and logistics planning during my first PCS, I carved out time to think about my own career game plan. Whatever time you can manage, even if it’s a minute or two to jot down notes or comments, do it. Keep them close with your PCS paperwork, so it won’t get lost.
Use this time to re-evaluate your career opportunities. I pitched the idea of working from home to my employer at the time. In reality, I could have done everything and more from a home office. But, some of the things that I did for the team in-house was too invaluable to let go, so as I was preparing for a PCS, I also had to find a replacement. I didn’t let it get me down at all because I realized how important it was to build a work-from-home office career for myself. Also, the door was open with the firm I left. I continue to work with them to this day.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say again: network. Military spouses have an awesome network behind them. Our community built a number of organizations that are aimed to assist us in job hunting or career development. I encourage you to utilize all of them and each other. We can be our biggest asset in job searching and not to mention, we understand each other’s circumstances. Sometimes being yourself with others can allow for opportunities to arise.
Search for jobs in your downtime. As I was getting ready for bed everyday, I would check online forums. If you know where you’re headed, check out local newspapers or refine searches on industry job pages to help you get an idea of the job market. Don’t forget to use LinkedIn and its job searches. Have a kick-ass cover letter template and resume ready to share, if you find something interesting, which brings me to my last point…
Update your resume. Check out your current installation’s career center for resume assistance or contact a savvy military spouse that could help. It shouldn’t take too long to map something out, especially when you’re explaining past experiences. Hopefully keeping a relevant resume is something on your radar at all times too. I like to keep a current one on-hand, just in case my dream job pops up.