Goals, Schmoals. 6 Ways Military Spouses SUCK at Goal Setting

Words that describe military spouses might include strong, independent, tough, prepared, dedicated, adaptable… and the list goes on. However, and I say this with peace and love, ladies and gentlemen, as one of your tribe

military spouses can SUCK when it comes to setting goals.

Of course we are wonderful at creating justifiable excuses for our choices based on the military lifestyle, though that can quickly turn into a negative if you’re not careful to avoid the pitfalls of procrastination.

6 Ways Military Spouses Suck at Setting Goals

“I’ll only be here for 16 months, it’s not worth finding a job.”

These are the silliest words a military spouse has ever spoken. Harsh but true. Despite the timeline associated with the move, there are jobs to pursue. For instance, you could go through a temp agency. I know, I know, but think less the stylistic and sadistic landscape of Mad Men and more legitimate temporary employment that will not expect you to be around for a decade and pays a decent hourly wage. Not to mention, temping can segue into a full-time job. Granted, it probably won’t be the job you’ve always desired, but it will show continuity on your resume and give you valuable experience.

Jobs on base (when available) are also a great fix when the military assignment is short; they get IT, so why not try one out? Military installations employ a large number of people and in case the usual waiting list wasn’t a dead giveaway, it can be an ideal solution.

Finally, employees don’t stay at 1 company for 50 years anymore. Those days are long gone, which makes it easier for you who might only be able to dedicate a year to one office. The motto here is: be upfront but don’t undercut your own bid for a job.

“My resume has gaps and explaining it is complicated and hard.”

To be clear, the hardest gap to explain on a resume is a stint behind bars, followed only by a Walter White entrepreneurial venture. You admitting that you were staying at home with the kids while your spouse was deployed? You stating the truth that you’ve been out of the rat race for awhile but expressing how eager you are to return to the workforce? That is understandable and reasonable. (Even civilians do it!) In your head it might sound worse, sure, and there is a chance that the interviewer will not choose you, but maybe that’s not the company for you. The fact is that many companies, specifically those located near military installations or national brands, are looking to hire the spouses of those who serve. Remember, you are qualified for a job. The only challenge is finding the right job.

“I could go back to school, but it’s probably easier to wait until we’re settled somewhere for awhile.”

You remember the military, right? And how nothing is set in stone, well, ever? So putting your future on hold and waiting until that “someday” settle is a little silly. In the meantime you can get started on what it is you want to pursue, whether that’s a degree or certification, because not only is long distance education an evolved art, it’s also becoming easier to transfer licensure between states when you are a military spouse. According to the National Military Family Association, 40 states already have legislature in place to provide license portability through a variety of means.

As for higher education, if you start the process with an institution that is military-friendly the odds will be in your favor when it comes time to transfer credits. You can also pursue a certificate that applies to the eventual goal, which is an especially productive use of time at that duty station that’s limited to a year or less.

“Who cares where we live? It’s temporary, we can just deal with it.”

No one is implying that each house you inhabit will be in the running for the title of dream home, but realistically, why would you choose to suffer with a kitchen that is through the garage or a doggy daycare adjacent condo with just one bathroom…tub only? Advance searches for homes can often yield surprisingly cool results and leave you content for the time being, at the very least. Besides, living in homes you don’t flat-out hate can help you have a better mental draft of your forever house when the time comes…unless you’re slated for House Hunters, in which case I am just seething with jealousy and would like to know the air date for your episode.

“Why even unpack? Sigh. We’re just going to move again soon.”

I get it. All military spouses get it. Moving sucks, but it is a part of the gypsy life we all lead here in the military and it’s inevitable. That being said, you never feel more like a transient than when your house doesn’t feel like home. For example, when you’re in a hotel, it may be comfortable but it is never going to leave you feeling content because you are missing the comforts of home. So why treat your house at this duty station like a Holiday Inn?

Not every box must be unpacked within 72 hours, nor should the house be fully outfitted for dinner parties within a week (unless you’re me and it’s only because I have a touch of the OCD, so be kind) but unpacking and claiming the place as your own will make you, the kids and that person who comes and goes in uniform feel like they are on solid ground– even if it is temporary ground. That right there is necessary.

“If I join this {insert type here} group I have to introduce myself AGAIN. I’ll just hang out on Facebook.”

Look, it pays to have a large network of people (from all facets of your life) dialed in. Whether you’re looking to spread the word about a fundraiser or just want more eyes on those, um, hilarious baby photos you keep throwing up for #tbt, a large virtual circle is great. But sadly, when you live in Florida and your core group of people is 1,200 miles north, a deployment might become tough to face and that much-needed Happy Hour companion will be impossible with a TSA frisk.

The advice here is to walk the line between social media and IRL worlds because while they both serve a purpose, making friends and connections in person will never be a bad idea, both for emotional support and in the event of a networking career need. Yes, you have to introduce yourself at first but remember there is no oath, so you can omit the things…like how you wore a white shirt during the viral ice bucket challenge. See? New friends can’t remind you of that because the video is deleted. Try rationalizing that one with the Facebook crew.

6 Ways Military Spouses Suck at Setting Goals

At the end of the day (or the PCS) just don’t sell yourself short. The time is assigned to your family but it does not define what you do with it or what you accomplish.


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