If you search the phrase “military spouse employment” on Google, you’ll likely see this:
- “Study finds military spouses struggle to find jobs”
- “Military spouses face uphill employment battle”
- “Silent Sacrifice: Military Spouse Unemployment in America”
Pretty depressing, isn’t it?
There are hundreds of articles and blog posts floating around the web that plant seeds of doubt in military spouses’ heads when it comes to maintaining their careers alongside their service members’ careers.
NextGen MilSpouse recently asked its readers to list the biggest challenge they face when it comes to balancing 2 careers in their military marriages. Here is what a few said:
“Trying to balance opportunities for each of us. We have career goals and family goals, and we have to decide how moving might help or hinder each of those.
“At our current location I was able to find a great job close to his base, but we transfer next year and I might not be able to find a job in my field. I’m lucky my partner values my career just as much as his own, so our decisions will be made together!”
“1. Finding adequate childcare
2. Finding adequate employment opportunities in rural communities
3. Receiving zero support from the AD member with regard to balancing work and child care obligations due to lack of any scheduling flexibility or ability to take time off to stay home with sick children.”
and this from Connor K. Hendricks,
“What are the needs of the Navy? I didn’t sign the contract, but I’m still obligated to it. The Navy doesn’t care about spouse careers.
“Due to the frequent moves my resume looks like crap. It ended up pushing me out of the workforce. Employers would see I move frequently and pass.
Ultimately, I became self-employed. I incorporated my business(es) in the state I’m a resident of, established foreign entities in the states we move to, and expanded my businesses that way. In markets where my businesses weren’t very successful, I closed the foreign entity right before PCSing.
“‘Success is the point at which opportunity and preparation meet.’ I forget who said that, but I used my past work experience as preparation. Opportunity came with being unemployed. I measure the success by the fact that I’m around for my kids more, happier, and doing what I want for a living.”
Is finding meaningful employment as a military spouse challenging? Definitely.
Is finding meaningful employment as a military spouse impossible? Definitely not.
Stop Confusing Challenging with Impossible: Changing the Conversation Surrounding Military Spouse Employment
We need to stop confusing challenging with impossible. Career-minded military spouses aren’t mythical creatures. They are making it work. They’re making the sacrifices to maintain a career through multiple moves, frequent separations and demanding work schedules. Working military spouses are out there. Trust me.
But there isn’t enough of them.
The challenge, is my opinion, is moving a higher percentage of military spouses out of the often-reported category of unemployed and unhappy and into the category of employed and satisified.
So how do we do that? How do we reduce the number of unemployed and under-employed military spouses?
We bring the right people in the same room and have a tough conversation about which solutions will work best for today’s challenges.
That’s what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is aiming to do with its Hiring Our Heroes’ Military Spouse Summit: Creating 21st Century Economic Opportunities for Military Spouses on June 14 in Washington, D.C.
Are you a working military spouse? Don’t miss the Military Spouse Employment Summit on 6/14! Join the conversation. Watch the summit live at https://goo.gl/iCmGaE #HOHMilSpouse
The 2017 Military Spouse Employment Summit is a half day event that will kick-start a conversation around what it means to be a dual-income military family in today’s world. The event has an amazing lineup of VIP speakers and panelists from both the private and public sectors. Basically it’s a game-changer for the military spouse employment conversation.
Discussion topics include:
- Understanding the needs of 21st Century military spouses and the impacts caused by a lack of employment opportunities
- Redefining spouse careers with new generations of military spouses
- Charting a new course: the power of private-public sector partnerships and innovative solutions to hire and retain military spouse talent
The highly anticipated results of the 2017 Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Survey will be announced at Wednesday’s summit along with a call to action for an increased emphasis on removing barriers for dual-income military families.
NextGen MilSpouse is honored to be attending the 2017 Military Spouse Employment Summit. We can’t wait to see what solutions and best practices will be shared. We’ll be tweeting from the event, so be sure to follow us at @NextGenMilSo.
Remember, the problem of military spouse employment is challenging, but it isn’t impossible. Especially when private and public, along with military community leaders work together to change the conversation surrounding military spouse employment.