The PCSing Spouse

Where Spouses Help Spouses

Tag: spouse (Page 1 of 2)

I Found a Spare Moment to Write This While Dinner Was in the Oven and my Laundry was in the Dryer

Yesterday, I was sitting at my computer in my home office, working furiously on time sensitive tasks for two of my four jobs, when a seemingly mundane email popped up in my inbox. It was the monthly Key Spouse Newsletter. I usually skim these over, looking for important dates to take note of, or trainings I need to attend. However, this month, a headline caught my eye, so I began to read. The headline said THANK YOU!!!!!
Under the headline, the author wanted to thank the Key Spouses on our base for attending the Key Spouse Social the Airman and Family Readiness Center held in December. I thought, that’s very nice of them! And then I read this:
“We understand you have many obligations (picking kids up from school, preparing dinner, attending to laundry, etc.) so we appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to join us.”
Wait, what?
I proceeded to re-read the sentence. Probably five times before I read it out loud to my husband who was sitting in the other room. To be honest, I pretty much screamed it at him. I was not only offended, I was shocked.
Picking up kids from school, preparing dinner, attending to laundry? What am I, a house servant? I had to call a time out. So, I did what all normal people do when they need to know if they are crazy for feeling a certain way- I posted on Facebook. 

I posted a screenshot of the newsletter with the offending sentence circled in red and I asked my fellow military spouses this- Am I crazy for being offended by this? I thought we were passed this stereotype. They should have left it at “we understand you have many obligations”. Sheesh.
The response was overwhelming. I had over 100 comments by the next morning. Every single one of them from someone confirming my feelings and commenting with a barrage of sarcastic comebacks and angry rants. There were several constructive comments as well, and they really got me thinking…
Did I receive this response because I happen to be friends with like-minded military spouses who share my feelings and background? Or, is the stereotype of the 1950s military housewife so far gone that EVERYONE is offended by that statement. I’d like to think it’s the latter. 

My friends come from ALL walks of life. Plenty of my military spouse friends are stay-at-home moms. Most of them stay at home because circumstances surrounding their spouse’s military career have forced them to put their own careers on hold- but that is a story for another day. My stay-at-home mom friends were offended. 

Some of my military spouse friends work multiple jobs, have advanced degrees, go to school full time, or care for elderly parents. Some of them are in the military themselves, or travel a lot for work, and some of them are even (gasp) MEN! And they all had the same reaction as me. I am not alone!
One of the repeated comments I received from fellow military spouses was that statements like these are why they avoid any involvement with base or squadron groups or functions. And I thought to myself- what a shame! Statements like these are EXACTLY why I involved myself. If the majority of us want to change the stereotype, then we need to step up and make it happen. If we aren’t represented, the stereotype will perpetuate.
I like to think I walk a fine line between “good military wife” and “don’t bring her to the squadron Christmas party”. I LIKE supporting my husband. I like supporting the Air Force. I’d also consider myself a Liberal Feminist who believes in equality for all. I’m not what you’d think of as the “typical” military spouse- but after all of those Facebook comments on my post, I’m beginning to think I AM the typical military spouse, because there is no TYPE anymore. 

After I calmed down (AKA complained, drank wine, slept for 8 hours), I sat down at the computer and I replied to the four WOMEN who were on the email that contained the newsletter. I do not know who authored the offensive sentence, but I typed out my thoughts and offered to have a longer discussion about it, if they are interested. I’m hoping they are.
Military spouses are not “one size fits all”. Do we pick up kids from school, prepare dinner, and do our laundry? Sure! But that’s called “adulting” and we are not defined by it. I highly doubt any of those three things are the reason some of us could not attend the social. 

To my military spouses who are feeling like outsiders- you’re not! You are the majority. The more we get involved, the faster things will change. Want to have a voice in how things are run? Then make your voice heard. Don’t stand idly by and allow the stereotype to continue. Between the laundry and the dishes, we can find a way to involve everyone!

Article by Georgia Jones

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality Be Flexible

Hey y’all! It’s been a minute and I am so very sorry for the delay, life has been crazy around here! I am not sure that if I mentioned it in my last post, but I returned to work the end of July and adjusting the family to a new schedule and routine has required a lot of patience, grace and….FLEXIBILITY! J I didn’t want to leave y’all hanging with this last post, so let’s jump on in to it!

I saved the topic of flexibility until the end for a couple of reason. One, it will mean something different to everyone, and two, it really is a piece of career life that is unique to us. I really never gave career or job flexibility much thought, I always just assumed I would get up and go to work, hopefully doing something I loved, until I retired. Then I married a sailor and moved to Virginia. Then moved to Ohio and had a baby. It was not until almost five years after become military affiliated did the concepts of telecommuting, remote work and flexible work days start to surface as buzz words in interviews. Fast forward three years and the concept has becoming more and more popular with employers and it is the ideal situation for MilSpouses. Many of us may be sitting there thing, why did/have I not considered this option? Don’t feel crazy, I never had even given it a second thought until I had our daughter. In my last position I worked at a remote site two days a week and some of those days I could work from home, but to think of having a full time job where I worked in my slippers, from the couch? I was intrigued and wanted to know more.

After having my daughter, around the 6 month mark I knew I was ready to get back to work. My goal was to return to work by the time she was a year old, so I knew I needed to start getting myself ready. At that time, MY SECO was getting ready to host their Virtual Military Spouse Symposium and they had an entire track dedicated to flexibility and remote employment. Many of speakers discussed how to brand yourself as a remote employee, and how to sell the idea of telecommuting or working from home to your employer. I will share a couple of those ideas with you.  

Ensure that you and your family are prepared for you to work remotely. Designate a area of the home to be your office, ensuring there will be enough quietness for phone calls and concentration.
Working for home is not suitable for all people. You have to be very disciplined and focused, ensuring that you remain on task and keep up with in office productivity.
When preparing your resume for remote positions, be sure to include skills that are related to remote employment ie: video conferences tools, file sharing databases, IM and other technology skills that have the ability to “bring you to the office.” Also be sure to include soft skills that show you have the personality and discipline to work from home.
When discussing the topic with your employer, maybe begin with 1-2 days a week to ease into the transition.

These are some of the ideas recommended when considering making the transition to remote or telecommute type employment. While not exhaustive, it’s a great start when considering this type of change to your career. You might be thinking now; well what kind of jobs are remote positions. The simply answer is almost all jobs! I would recommend ten times over to sign up for a three month membership with Flex Jobs as well as going on the MY SECO website and going to their job bank. In the MY SECO job bank they have a list of employers that all have remote positions and are military spouse friends. Flex jobs allows you to create a profile and upload your resume. From there you will receive daily updates on positions that fit your criteria. Flex jobs also partners with employers who are military spouse friendly.

So I say all of this to say what you ask? I have learned that military spouses are some of the most resilient people in the world. We adapt, adjust and just when we are getting comfortable, it’s time to move. If you have a career, or you are hard worker, the 3, 4, 5 year rotation can do a damaging number on your work history and resume. With the flexibility of working remotely or even better, being hired in with a larger company that is nationwide and allows you telecommute, you can now have the opportunity to create long standing work history, gain strong references, and still support your service member and family.

It has been my pleasure to share an area of my life that is very near and dear to my heart with all of you. I never realized just how complex employment as a military spouse could be, and I wish all you the very best of luck in your career endeavors, and wherever your branch of service takes you. Thank you for letting me spend the last couple of months with y’all, remember;

Empowered women, Empower women,

 

Keadra Young-Bogardus

The Resilient Military Spouse

I see you. I see you taking night classes in silence while your children sleep and your spouse is in the field. I see you spending hours, days, years of your life job hunting. Filling out hundreds of applications only to be told you aren’t the “perfect” fit, or worse getting no response at all. I see you working jobs far below your capabilities, for pay that barely pays your Daycare. I see you biting your nails over your pile of bills as  you wait for a CDC spot to open up at your new duty station. I see you hustling. Desperately pleading with your friends on Facebook to buy the inventory you maxed out your credit card to get. I see you leaving the only career you’ve ever known in the name of student loans and car payments. 

I see you,  because you’re amazing. Sure, sometimes you get down, but then you get up. You always get up. No matter how many jobs you don’t get, how many degrees you can’t use, you keep getting up. I love when people say “well it could be worse” or “this is what you signed up for.” As if you could have passed on the love of your life because they chose an inconvenient profession. I feel sorry for those people because they don’t know what it’s like to love someone so much you’d make any sacrifice to have a life with them. Yes, it could always be worse, but your struggle is real. It’s real, and I see you, because military spouses are the most resilient people I know.

So be kind to each other. When your friends are hawking beauty products on Facebook, buy some. When someone is venting on the spouse page, let them. Offer them kindness and hope instead of judgement. When you’re leaving a great job, try to fill it with a fellow milspouse. Be a part of the solution. See each other, support each other. We are all in this together.

Premium LinkedIn Update!

Hey there ya’ll. I wanted to drop a quick note for those that are looking to take advantage of the free LinkedIn Premium offer. In speaking with My SECO Coach, I learned about some of the specific eligibility requirement for being able to use this service. The specific eligibility requirements to meet for LinkedIn Premium are as follows; if you are doing a PCS move 6 months or less from now, or it’s 6 months or less after your last PCS move, then you meet the requirement for a year of free LinkedIn Premium access. Military spouses can use this benefit each time they PCS to a new duty station.  This benefit is also for spouses who are within 6 months of separation from the military.

If you do not fit within these perimeters, I don’t either, then please make sure that you are logging into the MySECO page and using their services, especially setting up an appointment with a career coach.

 

More to come!!

 

As always…

Empowered Women, empower Women

 

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality Joining Military Spouse Employment Program

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July and ya’ll are enjoying this summer weather. Here in Ohio, the temps have been in the middle to upper 80s, and as a girl who misses the South, it has been great! I wanted to jump right into these last two posts because SO many great things are happening for military spouses in the area of employment support. As I stated in my previous post, SECO has partnered with the LinkedIn’s Military and Veteran’s Program to open Premium services to military spouse who have just PCS’d  AND those who’s service member is transitioning out of the military. If you haven’t heard of this amazing partnership and all that it entails, check out my last post as well as heading on over to the SECO website to learn more.

In this post I wanted to talk about another group that has a lot ofgreat resources available to military spouses, Military Spouse Employment Program (MSEP). As I have said before, until I was an out of work transitioning spouse, I didn’t know a thing about any of these programs or the wealth of information that they provide. MSEP is part of the larger DoD’s Spouse Education and Career Opportunities initiative seeking to strengthen the career and education opportunities of military spouses. As we know all too well as milspouses, the transient life of a military family makes establishing a career path a little harder than normal. MESP has invested in helping military spouses understand their skills, interest and goals, and then how to enhance them though job skills training, educational certifications and licensing, ultimately making the spouse a more marketable and viable candidate. In addition to this service, they also have an employment database that boast over 360 military friendly partners who have hired over 112,000 military spouses. Through their targeted recruitment, they create employment connections that provide companies with direct access to military spouses.

Additionally, MSEP has a LinkedIn discussion group where military spouses from all over can connect to share employment advice, updates, as well as MSEP partners and staff can post employment opportunities, webinars and hiring events. The following link takes you to the MSEP job search portal https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/portal/msep/jobsearchwhere you can access over 200,000 active jobs and a list of Hot Jobs as well. These Hot Jobs are positions that are listed within the last five days that are deemed “in high need.” It is important to mention that these jobs refresh every day so if you see one that interest you, be sure that you follow up with it immediately. Recently studies have shown that many employers are looking to move towards more telework and remote opportunities for employees. This option not only saves money for the employer, but the employee as well, and this is a great concept for military spouse, allowing you to essentially take your job with you. The following link takes you directly to the MSEP telework partners. https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/Portal/Msep/jobsearch/Partners with this list you can see what employers offer telework opportunities as well as getting a feel for the types of positions that are telework ready. I was able to do some telework with my last employer, and I can tell you, it was very nice. While it does take some discipline and planning, if this is something that you think you may be interested in, please check out some of the articles on SECO regarding this topic.

I hope that this little intro to MSEP and all that they offer have been a help to you as you continue to navigate your employment journey. If you seek any more information, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Until next time,

Empowered women, empower women

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality LinkedIn Part 2: Enrolling in Premium for Military Spouses

Hey there ya’ll! I wanted to take a quick minute to add a little mini post about enrolling in the LinkedIn Premium program for Military Spouses. This specific program began its roll out July 1, 2018, and there are a few steps to complete to ensure that you are eligible to enroll. The full launch will not be available until July 23rd, so be sure that you have created your account with SECO prior to that date. The first is to make sure that you have indicated on your LinkedIn profile that you are military spouse. After that, ensure that you are enrolled with MySECO using this link https://myseco.militaryonesource.mil/portal/content/view/8256

If you already have a LinkedIn account, ensure that you are following the MSEP group page so that you can stay abreast of new updates regarding the Premium program as well as employment updates, employer highlights and of course networking opportunities.

Until the next time,

Empowered Women, empower women

 

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Careers and the MilSpouse: Part 3 Rethinking Resources

Visit Your Local Workforce Development Agency/Employment Commission

 

Welcome back everyone! Now that we have your initial resume created, I promise you will revise it at least three to four times a month while actively seeking employment, let’s talk about local resources that will help you with finding work and/or training. As I stated in the first post, I used to be a Career Developer with a local One-Stop Office in Norfolk, Virginia. If you are not familiar with One-Stops or the local Employment Commission, you are missing a little hidden gem. These agencies are State offices that receive Federal dollars to assist residents in job skills training and employment readiness. At the office where I was located, we conducted employment readiness workshops, had a computer lab that people could use to use to apply for jobs and work on resumes, as well as complete school work. Additionally, we had representatives from other social service agencies housed in our building for continuity and ease of service.  Most of the centers, also called American Job Centers (AJC), also offer job skills training in labor market sectors that are in high demand. All of these services are of course free of charge; however there will be some eligibility criteria for some of the more intensive, one-on-one services. I’d like to touch on a couple of the services that are most beneficial to MilSpouses and Veterans.

While these are not an exhaustive list of services, and they will vary from location to location, the basics should be the same.  The areas I believe are most helpful are: Workshops, Jobs Skills Training, and Employment Services. These three areas are really the bulk of the services that the AJC provides, but some resources not mentioned are hiring events, and the business services. Before moving into each area, I wanted to share with you about a term you may hear and one you should address when visiting these centers. That term is Dislocated Worker, and you will qualify as a dislocated worker if you have moved to a new duty station and not obtained full time employment. A DW is a spouse of a member of the Armed Forces on active duty who has experienced a loss of employment as a direct result of relocation to accommodate a permanent change in duty station of such member. You also qualify as a DW if you were required to go to work due to a deployment.

Workshops: Each center will have a monthly calendar that illustrates the workshops they offer related to job readiness. These could range from resume writing, interview techniques, to on-line applications, and the use of social media in job seeking. All of these workshops are free and usually require you to register with the AJC and sign up in advance. I cannot stress the importance of having a good working resume before beginning your employment search. The facilitators of these workshops are usually all certified workforce specialist who have gone to trainings for these topics. You are able to attend as many workshops as you believe necessary and always feel comfortable to ask questions.

Job Skills Training: This service maybe called an intensive or enhanced service depending on the location, and will require some eligibility requirements. Eligibility is based on household size and income, however in the case of the military spouse, your service member’s base pay is all that is calculated and again, if you are deemed a DW, this information is not counted. If you qualify for job skills training, you will be allowed to receive funding for up to two years in an employment field that is deemed in high demand. The range in training providers and programs offered will vary from location to location and also depends on the labor market demand for each field. By this I mean you are more likely to receive training in a healthcare field than in an arts field like graphic design. Depending on the cap set at the start of each fiscal year, you could enroll and complete the program at almost zero cost, and obtain a certification or even Associates Degree.

Employment Services: Like the job skills training, some of these services will be deemed intensive or enhanced services, it just really depends on the AJC you are working with. This is the service that allows you to work one-on-one with a career coach or employment specialist. Not that I am partial, but I cannot even begin to tell you the wealth of knowledge, resources and support having a career coach offers. When you are assigned a career coach, they will take time to look at your resume and review your work history to determine if you will need any jobs skills training. If so, they will work with you on enrolling for a training program that will assist you in gaining skills that will make you more marketable. In addition to enrolling in job services, your career coach can also work with you on reviewing your resume and cover letter, mock interviews, and of course celebrating the success of being hired. An area that your career coach may be able to also assist is with the partnership of the business services department of the AJC. The business service section works directly with employers and businesses within the community who are looking to fill vacancies or have hiring events. This department usually sends these requests to the career coaches, where they can look for qualified applicants to send directly to the employer.

I was not aware of the vast services that these One-Stop Centers provided until I began working at one, and now that I have learned the many programs and services that are available to MilSpouses, I would be foolish not to share them with you. Here is the link to find your local office, as well as the site for the career one stop.

https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/local-help.aspx

https://www.careeronestop.org/

 

Until next time,

Empowered Women, Empower Women

 

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad, and the Reality Part 2

Part 2 :  Develop a Working Resume

Welcome back! At this point, I hope you have had the opportunity to brainstorm and collaborate with family and friends about your previous work experience you have accumulated over the years and are ready to “put pen to paper” as my Mother would say.  Last week I attended a virtual symposium for Military Spouses that focused on career readiness, education and entrepreneurship, it was AMAZING!!! I was able to gather some great resources and tools that I plan to share with y’all. The symposium was put on by Military One Source and SECO; if you have never been to either of those websites, definitely check them out!

Ok, let’s get into writing your resume. I am sure you have been told your resume is your first “look” from an employer. The purpose of your resume is to draw enough interest from a potential employer to secure you an interview. That being said, there are a couple of key categories that you want your resume to have in order to tell a flowing story that will offer a better chance at you securing an interview. Before getting into the categories, I want to just touch on a few topics that are pretty basic, but may not be that common in knowledge. The first is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which are being used more and more in the weeding out of resumes. It is very infrequent that your resume is being viewed first by the hiring manager, and not a computer program that looks for certain key words that match the position description. Additionally, some of these systems do not pick up on certain fonts, therefore it is best to use the sans serif fonts, and Calibri and Ariel. Once your resume has passed the ATS, you have more of a chance of having your resume being reviewed by the hiring manager or team. Finally, while it may be the dirty side of employment hiring, discrimination is real. Avoid any factors that can lead to discrimination; age, zip code, and employment that may date you and be irrelevant.

Now that we have covered those, let’s get into the categories which are; contact information, personal brand, knowledge highlights, applicable skills, work history and education.

Contact Information: This is pretty self-explanatory; you want to have a way for the employer to contact you. Include your name, phone number and email address. Ensure that your voicemail is clear and professional, as well as professional email, usually your first and last name work well. Additionally, include your city and state, but not the physical address of your home for security reasons. You will also want to include your LinkedIn handle if you have an account. LinkedIn is being used more and more by employers, so if you do not have an account, be sure to create one. The SECO website has some great tools on creating one!

 

Personal Brand: A branding statement is the foundation for marketing your unique set of skills. You may be familiar with an objective statement in a resume. The objective statement tells the employer “this is what I want” versus the branding statement which says, “Here is the value I offer.” Think of your branding statement as your 30 second elevator pitch to the employer. You can use your branding statement to summarize your resume in your cover letter, on various social media outlets (think LinkedIn), as well as answering the “Tell me about yourself question” in the interview. Your branding statement should include the following four elements

  1. Your Specialty       –        Who you are
  2. Your Service           –       What you do
  3. Your Audience       –        Who you do it for
  4. Your Best Characteristic –   What you’re known for

An example of a branding statement is: Highly competent Administrative professional with experience supporting senior level executives in the insurance and financial industries. Known for ability to be flexible and to respond to problems and issues quickly and adeptly. Professional manner at all times and relied upon for confidentiality and handling sensitive materials. Strengths include dependability, strong interpersonal skills and attentiveness to details.

I will attach some worksheets to this post to assist with writing your branding statement.

Knowledge Highlights: These are the major career accomplishments that you have gained in previous work areas.  Think of awards and accolades that you have received in the past and list them here in bullet format. You also can think of recommendations or statements from previous performance evaluations to include in this area. If you have any security clearances, organizational affiliations or specific certifications that are related to the position or employer, this is a good place to list them.

 

Applicable Skills: This area is often called ‘Area of Expertise’ or ‘Core Competencies’. These are going to be your hard and soft transferrable skills. You want to ensure that you are looking at the position description and using the same wording from the description to write your skills. A great tool that we used at my job was Tag Crowd (https://tagcrowd.com/). You can highlight, copy and paste the position description into the field on the website and the word cloud will populate the most important and used words in the description. You should aim for 6 to 9 skills, again, listed in bullet format, ensuring that the skills listed are reflective of the position.

 

Work History: Depending on if you are using a combination format or a chronological format, you will list your employment history, starting with the most recent and going back 10 years. You will want to include the employers name and location, your title and dates in which you were employed. You will want to include 3-4 bullets of position duties under the listed information. Try not to simply state what the job duties were, but what YOU brought to the position and something successful you completed while in that role. If you have limited work experience you may want to list major skills that you acquired while working and the successes and growth of those skills prior to listing your work history. I will include a template of both the chronological and combination format of resumes.

Education: Your education can go in two different sections based on, relevance to the position and the length of time since earning your degree/certification. You will want to list the following information for any degrees earned:

   Degree, Major (if relevant)       20XX

University                                       City, State

If you are still enrolled in the program you list it as such:

College/Training program attending, anticipate certificate/license and completion date.

Finally, if you have you do not hold any degrees, list any relevant on-the-job training or relevant experience in this section as well.

 

I know that this can seem like a lot of information, but if you did the brainstorming, all of this will essentially write itself. It may be easier to write your branding statement after you have written your resume, so your skills are fresh in your mind. I will include some documents that should offer assistance in writing and formatting your resume as well as a practice template for your branding statement. Next time we will discuss visiting your local American Career Center and the free services they can provide.

Until next time,

Empowered Women, empower Women

Attachments:

Branding

chronological template

Combo template

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

 

Welcome (to my) Home!

Homecoming is such an epic event. I spend an entire deployment waiting for it, counting down the days, crossing off dates on the calendar. I plan what I’ll wear, and I get my hair and nails done. I clean the house and cars, grocery shop for all the meals I’ll make him, and give the dog a bath. The week before a homecoming is a flurry of to-do lists and carving out time to get it all done.

 

And then, it happens. It sneaks up on me. I find myself at the squadron compound, in my dress and heels, wishing I had put on more deodorant and not knowing exactly how I got there. The waiting is unbearable, but when those buses pull up and I see my husband step off, all feels right with the world. For about two glorious minutes.

Any seasoned spouse will tell you, homecoming is blissful, but reintegration, that’s a whole other beast.

 

It’s very easy for the new spouse, or the spouse who is experiencing a deployment homecoming for the first time, to be crushed. Dreams of holding hands and running across the beach together while rainbows and unicorns appear out of thin air are quickly dashed away by the sound of “Babe! Where do we keep the laundry detergent?”

 

Prior to this (6th) deployment, we PCS’d from California to Florida. We bought a new house and had our household goods delivered on August 11th. My husband left on September 10th. I was left to organize the house and make it a home. Which I did. My home.

 

For eight months I lived alone in “my” house. I had a routine. It was blissful. Don’t get me wrong, I missed my husband terribly. I had nights where I cried myself to sleep. But most nights I sprawled out on “my” bed and watched Harry Potter or whatever else I wanted on TV.

 

I put everything where I wanted it. I made all the food I like to eat. I got very comfortable living alone in “my” house. And then he came back. And he wanted to live in “my” house. And it is very disruptive.

 

It’s hard not to get irritated when he can’t figure out which light switches turn on which lights, or how to work the remote controls. He can’t find the paper towels/soap/can opener/insert other commonly used item here. It’s maddening when he yells “where do we keep the light bulbs?” or clutters up my kitchen counter with random stuff like his car keys and the mail.

 

And sleeping. What’s that? My nightly ritual of hot tea with honey and a good book in “my” quiet bed has become a fight for the covers and the NBA finals on TV. What is happening???

 

Homecoming is happening. Reintegration is happening. And you know what? It is not fun. It is frustrating and awkward. It is stepping all over each other’s toes and trying to have patience when he can’t figure out how to pre-heat the oven. I am trying. I really am.

 

If you have been through this, you know what I am talking about. And if you haven’t, please take note. Homecoming is a beautiful event. It’s amazing! But actually coming home is not so much. It’s a lot of give and take. I try hard to remember that I lived here alone for eight months and he was here for 30 days hanging TVs on the wall and out-processing for a deployment.

 

So, have patience. Learn to live together again. Give him some slack when he can’t find the laundry basket and moves your towel to a different hook. He’s trying too. I’m still working on remembering that “my” house is “our” home.

Article and pictures by Georgia Jones

 

Careers and the MilSpouse: The Good, the Bad and the Reality

“We’ve got orders.” Those three words have two reactions; instant excitement for a new journey, or a wave of anxiety that starts a mental “to-do list.” Either way, this phrase is bound to arise once, twice, eight times in your life as a MilSpouse; and after the first few pack outs, unpacking and rearranging, it becomes easier to accept a new zip code as home. If only the employment path for a MilSpouse could be as organized and orchestrated as a move with a  good moving company. As a former Career Counselor in Hampton Roads Virginia working with Veterans, exiting Military members and Military Spouses; and being a MilSpouse myself, I know firsthand the interruption a PCS can bring to a career. Whether you are just beginning your career after graduating college, or you are returning to the workforce after raising your children, navigating the ever changing and not always accepting world of workforce can be daunting. It is my hope that in the next five posts I am able to offer some tips of the trade and suggestions to make the process of looking for and returning to work less stressful and overwhelming.

Along with my co-workers, we developed these top six recommendations for MilSpouses who are seeking employment. I will address each of these steps in the next five posts. These tips work for all stages of your career path.

  1. Brainstorm Your Work History and Skills
  2. Develop a Working Resume
  3. Visit Your Local Workforce Development Agency/Employment Commission
  4. Create a LinkedIn Profile
  5. Join a Military Spouse Employment Group
  6. Be Flexible

Brainstorming Your Work History and Skills

 

Some of you may say, well wait a second, I haven’t worked in ___ months/years/ever. Or, I have been out of the workforce for over ___ months/years, or even; my degree/certification doesn’t match what I really want to do now, I think I covered them all, if not, not to worry, you can still create a killer resume.  Grab a sheet of paper, a cup of coffee and about 30 minutes of free time and a quiet place to think. Ask yourself these questions, what do you do at home to keep things running smoothly on a day to day basis? What about while your spouse is deployed, TDY, underway, or on duty? Do you volunteer for the command, at an outside public or private entity? If you don’t have a long work history, but plenty of volunteer experience, you have work experience! Paying bills, making sure everyone is where they are supposed to be and on time, working a soup kitchen or bake sale? Translate those skills to: bookkeeping and financial management, time management and organizational skills; good communication and written skills, fundraising. See where we are going here? Just because you may not have had a solid 8-5, you still have skills that are utilized in the workforce; you just have to know how to word them. If you have been volunteering on a consistent basis, while financially uncompensated, that still falls under employment, and can be used to show work history, and skills.  If you have work experience, list the employer and duties in chronological order going back 10 years. This process can take a couple of days or even weeks, don’t feel overwhelmed. Your resume is your “face” to the employer until you land the interview; you want to show your best. In the next post we will look at determining which style resume is best suited for you and how to create it.

Until next time;

Empowered Women, empower Women

 

**** Welcome**** to our newest blog teammate Keadra Young-Bogardus!

Keadra is a USN wife by way of Kalamazoo, Michigan who is currently stationed in Northeast Ohio with her husband who is a recruiter. Her background is in Law Enforcement; however, degrees in Sociology and Public Administration brought her to the world of Workforce Development. Keadra’s hobbies include fostering her budding business Kubed, LLC a training and consulting agency, and raising their daughter.

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén