About a year ago, my husband and I were putting together our courthouse wedding and I started getting ready (you can never really “get ready”) for a year-long tour. I was grumpy and stubborn.
Although I knew that marrying a soldier would make my life unpredictable, I was still angry at the Army for taking away the love of my life. It sounds ultra dramatic now, but I really thought I wouldn’t be able to get through the year without going crazy.
After the dust settled and my husband left, I started thinking about how much my life is going to continually change and with that, my career path. That’s when I started to evaluate my personal aspirations, outside of my marriage.
4 Tips for Working Military Spouses: Keep Your Career on Track While Your Spouse or Significant Other is Deployed
I decided to take advantage of the time given to me and develop myself professionally. Here are the four main points that helped keep my career on track during this deployment:
1. Before tackling any obstacles, be sure to outline the year and highlight important benchmark goals.
The military ordered your spouse to be away from you and there is nothing you can do about that, but it doesn’t mean they own your actions during the deployment! The time apart can be used for YOU. Create a timeline for yourself on how you would like to structure the deployment time. Lots of small term goals add up! Don’t ever be discouraged!
2. Network, network, network!
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I can’t stress how important it is to meet people, especially other military spouses. Who else knows exactly how you feel?! Veteran military spouses are a great asset because you can really learn from them. When I first married into the military, I was so lost. I’m still trying to understand everything, but feel so much more confident than when I started. Be sure to utilize spouse groups and get yourself out there in the military spouse community!
3. Keep yourself busy – professionally!
I did have an advantage with a current job, but when my husband’s deployment ends, things will start to be in flux. Do things that you can add to your resume – no matter how little it may be – it’s still professional development. You can also take a class, volunteer, build-up your experience with anything that makes you happy!
4. Lastly, embrace military spouse-dom!
The sooner you accept, the better things will be for your career – and life. This is the life you chose – for better and for worse. It jerks you in all different directions at the same time and it challenges your patience, but let’s be honest, you wouldn’t have it any other way! It’s not the say all, end all for your career either. There are plenty of resources available to you and some of them are even by interest. Use them!