We all know the innumerable challenges PCSing can cause in the progression of our careers during our time as a military spouse. But why continue to talk about the stuff that’s just plain common knowledge and that does nothing more than encourage a defeatist attitude?
I see no real benefit. In fact, by focusing on the negative aspects of PCSing (which by the way, can’t be changed), we have the tendency to perpetuate negativity and give ourselves an excuse for never really going after what we truly want in our careers.
If we believe the quote that what you focus on you get more of, it would be a good idea for us to hone in on all of the positive aspects of PCSing. In the spirit of such a philosophy, I want to point out the ways PCSing can help us develop our careers, if in fact we choose to focus on them!
10 Positive Effects of PCS on your Career Path
10. Hate Your Job? Want to Try Something New? You’ve Got a Legit Reason to Leave! – Forbes.com posted stats from Right Management, showing 65% of workers are dissatisfied with their current jobs.
If you find yourself in the 65 percent, it’s time to celebrate the PCS! You aren’t quitting because you are unreliable or afraid of committing. You are simply relocating due to your spouse’s profession. PCSing is a legit way out of a job you hate and by being forced to leave, you can’t be tempted to stay in a job you hate “just because.” The key after you PCS is actually learning from what you hated and avoiding it in future positions.
9. There’s No Time for Stagnancy – We don’t really have time to get bored for long because we move so frequently. For those of us who like routine, it can be a little unsettling to start all over every 3-5 years–but, it requires us to stay on our game and present our best professional self. We cannot get comfortable because we have no choice, and that means we do not take opportunities for granted.
8. The Challenges Also Bring Great Opportunities – Have you heard about the research that shows individuals who lose their sight or are born blind develop heightened perceptions among their remaining senses? Though one sense is under-developed, the rest are enhanced only because that other sense is missing.
I use this analogy because it shows how powerful an obstacle can be in propelling us forward and actually growing us, if we let it. Is it easy to focus on the fact it’s hard to create a career? Yes. Is it rewarding to dwell on it? No.
The challenges we face also bring with them remarkable opportunities for other areas of our lives to grow. But you have to find out what areas are enhanced by looking for them instead of the negatives.
7. The Competitive Advantage of Experiencing Many Cultures Within the United States – Have you ever played up the fact that you have lived so many places? Many companies value employees with experience working with different types of people and in different settings. If not, it is your responsibility to show them just what an asset your past is to their future.
Here’s a hint in how to do that: Ask yourself how living in different parts of the country could benefit an employer, or how learning about different cultures by becoming a part of the community could be a valuable asset for a job applicant,
6. You Have Connections Across the Country…or World – Don’t discount what a wide network you have developed by moving around. Remember though, you have to nurture these relationships to remain connected.
5. You’ve Seen What Works and What Doesn’t in a Variety of Settings – It’s no secret your resume is different from the average civilian job seeker’s. We’ve got a few stops along our journey that the average person doesn’t. But, it’s time to start embracing this reality and seeing the value it brings. We’ve seen the big cities and small towns and have lived all over the place. Remember…you’ve got to start thinking of how this can be a benefit to a potential employer and start promoting it!
4. You Can Handle Unpredictability Better Than Most Civilians – When I talk periodically with the decision-makers at organizations which hire milspouses, they specifically address how much they like that military spouses can handle a lot all at once. The military lifestyle is much more demanding than what most civilians have to deal with. Use the skills you’ve developed in this lifestyle in your job search.
3. You Have Become Resilient – I’m amazed by how resilient my fellow military spouses are when it comes to handling ongoing deployments, unending training and inevitable TDYs. Yet, I’m more amazed that most military spouses aren’t utilizing that awesome quality in the job search.
The strength and tenacity I see in spouses facing this unpredictable military lifestyle is unbelievable. Now, we need to harness that ability when facing challenges in the job search.
2. Contingency Planning is a Given – I believe it takes at least two moves before you start to get a sense for how to manage a PCS. Even if you read all the books, fill out all the worksheets, and write out lists…some things are just learned the through experience of “things gone wrong.” How you handle these unsightly experiences is huge! Are you going to freak, or stay calm and drive on? Companies love a level-headed worker, and sometimes that just comes with experience.
1. You’ve Come to Learn What You Like, What You Don’t, and What You Want – With each experience–good, bad, or otherwise–you are learning more about what you want for yourself and career. Moving around and experiencing a lot can be hard in the short-term, but very valuable in learning more about yourself and your preferences in the long-term. And, knowing yourself is the first step for employers to know who you are!
Tell us some positive ways PCSing and the military lifestyle has actually helped your career! Share it below in the comments!
LOVE this!! I’m all for finding the silver lining– and some of these are great to keep in mind when you’re talking to potential employers, too, since they make you a more attractive candidate!
This hit the nail on the head. As a paralegal, I’ve had experiences in many firms and I’ve been able to streamline several work processes or business tactics based solely on my experience of what works (and doesn’t) at firms I’ve worked at in the past. Many milspouses can benefit from positive thinking when it comes to job hopping, for me and many others moving all the time has been a blessing. How refreshing to see more (positive) career-centered writing on NextGenMilSpouse! Keep it up!
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Thank you for the article! I totally needed to read something like this! I am in the middle of a PCS and am wondering what I want to be when I grow up! LOL I had been pondering staying in my field and really think I had career burnout. Now I know I can definitely start anew!!!
Thanks Stacy, What a great article. I would love the opportunity for me republish it (with adjustments for suit our Aussie military spouses and with link backs to your post). You have raised some great points that spouses need to adopt more of
Thanks Amy! It’s wonderful to know that certain concepts can transcend borders! Us milspouses–ALL of us milspouses–have to stick together and support each other! 🙂
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