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I'm a twenty-nine year old Army wife currently living near a large Army post. I have an unhealthy obsession with Dr. Pepper, the Internet, cloth diapers, and ridiculous TV shows. I'm a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters, AJ and Amelia. We also have a 6 year old beagle named Abby who is as dumb as a box of rocks.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Portable Careers

As a MilSpouse, I have moved around, a lot. We're talking 4 moves in 3 years, a lot. We are really good at moving, but unfortunately, when you have to pick up all your worldly belongings and drag move them across the country every year, the probability of finding a good, well-paying job seems to get slimmer with each subsequent move.

Some spouses are lucky enough to have discernable talents or skills that they are able to take with them and use to their benefit each time they relocate. Me, not so much. I'm super at reading. I also enjoy half doing crafty-type things, but you had better believe that my laziness outweighs my perfectionism to the extent that whatever I make looks really nice but won't hold up in a storm.

Other spouses have professional degrees in areas in which there is a demand. The military has a lot of use for Social Workers, Doctors, Nurses and the like, even in the civilian sector. These spouses don't have any trouble finding a well-paying job.

Now, here's the kicker. I have a degree in English. More specifically, English Literature. I'm great at editing, reading and writing. I enjoy these things, but there are not many jobs out there looking for someone who has absolutely no business saavy and can write a killer sentence. In fact, I think I've held most of the jobs that are looking for someone like that. The main issue is that none of these jobs are located around military installations (the ones I've been stationed at, anyway).

When we were stationed at Ft. Hood I signed up as a substitute teacher in the local school district. It literally was a last resort. D was deploying and I had a big, fat, empty year staring me in the face. Who knew that it would be right up my alley? Who knew that the 2008-2009 school year would change my outlook on my professional life? Who knew that it would make me want to become an elementary school teacher?

I've had conversations with several teachers who have all told me that if I liked subbing, I would be an awesome teacher. They all said that they loathed subbing, but loved teaching. They told me about how great it was to have your own classroom and know the routines and schedules, not to mention the kids. I got a taste of this towards the end of the school year because I was basically subbing exclusively for the same 5 classes. I can totally see their point and vowed to get my credentials in order once we got to a duty station that would become semi-permanent.

Up to this point, we have known that each time we moved it would be temporary. Now we know that with our next move, it will most likely be permanent. That means I can get into a program to get my teaching certification. After that I can apply for teaching jobs. The next step, logically is to start teaching. Eek! This is starting to get real here, people!

D and I had a conversation about it the other day and I think the plan is to wait another 3-ish years until AJ is ready for pre-school to start my schooling. That way I'll basically start working around the time she starts school. We would rather not have to put her in day-care and since we can afford for me to stay home, that is what I'll continue to do. There is a program though, that I've looked into that I will probably apply for in about 2 years.

Have other MilSpouses run into this issue? What did you do? Do you try to find a job when you PCS or are you a Stay-At-Home-Spouse/Mom?


  1. My oldest will be starting kindergarten this year and I am working towards my Librarianship degree. I am planning on the same thing as you. When my youngest starts school I will be able to go to work and have all three in school. I was able to choose an online degree because I didn't need any practicum classes for my degree until my Masters. Good luck with everything!

  2. So glad you found something you love!

    I'm definitely feeling all this right now and wondering what I want to do next. We're only PCSing to Benning for 6 months and don't know where we're going next, so that doesn't help! And I absolutely loathed subbing, ha ha.

    I definitely like the freedom of working part time and volunteering, but it would be so nice to have something I really enjoyed doing or have a goal to work towards.

    Anyway, I feel you, but I'm glad you have something to work towards

  3. I got my Masters degree before I met my husband, and was headlong into my career. Moving around has really thrown a wrench into things. I recently went to massage therapy school and started working as a massage therapist in November. It's a much more flexible career and lets me take time off when needed (like now just before my husband deploys). It's not a perfect fix, but it works for right now.

  4. Well this has been a struggle for me. I have my graduate degree and i have quite a nice little career lined up for myself BUT in a mere 2 months, that will all change. I've been applying to jobs like crazy at the place we're moving to (like so many i can't even remember how many) and i'm hearing nothing back. It's really frustrating but we'll see what happens...

  5. I have had this issue for 5 years! I have a masters and I've never used it. Buy the time J is in school, I'll have had a degree that I haven't used in 9 years. I contacted my favorite prof the other day and she assured me it would still be valid! And she'll write letters for me when the time comes.


I'd love to know what you think...