As a military spouse, you need to find a career that works around your life, not the other way around.
Hey military spouse friends – ever had to leave a job you love? Considering the staggering unemployment rate for milsos, my guess would be you have. I know I have – an absolute dream job doing marketing for a global entertainment company. The Army didn’t really care that I had worked incredibly hard to land this job or that leaving would mean changing the entire trajectory of my career. As a military spouse, I’d chosen to follow my husband’s career, and that meant tearfully putting in my two weeks’ notice and preparing to move across the country – again. Sound familiar?
Well, I first let me say I’ve never regretted my decision to marry into the military (love ya, Jon!) I did, however, go through a period of what I like to call ‘professional depression’ where I thought I’d lost my own identity, aimlessly searching through job ads and crying to my husband about being labeled a “dependent”. Starting over was tough. And I knew I couldn’t continue leaving jobs I love. Starting over would mean finding a career that isn’t affected by yearly or bi-yearly moves, sudden changes in schedule, new desolate locations – basically, it sounded impossible.
But what I can tell you, and why I’m sharing my story today, is that despite my best efforts at continuing to wallow in self-pity, I found a way to make it work. Right now, as I write this, I feel professionally fulfilled and have a work/life balance that is beyond what I ever could have dreamed of. And to my surprise, it wasn’t about sacrifice, it was about shifting my thinking. I began to realize that the way I’d been approaching work was all wrong – it shouldn’t be about living life around my career, it should be about making a career around my life. (Mind-blown). And that seems so simple when you think about it, but I felt so conditioned by the corporate world, so unaware of the flexible work movements taking place, that I never really believed it was possible.
So, began to research. My whole career had been in marketing, and given the digital age we’re in, I had always known that I could easily do my job in a home setting. But when you work for a corporate company which I always had, there’s red tape and politics and old-school thinking you have to contend with when bringing up the option to work remotely. It had never worked out for me. I spent endless hours searching for already-remote marketing jobs, typed my fingers to the bone submitting countless applications to automated systems that would never see a human eye, and I began to lose hope. Until an episode of Good Morning America on a slow Tuesday morning completely changed my trajectory.
The segment was about a website called Flexjobs, and they specialized in providing only legitimate flexible and remote job listings. So, I grabbed my laptop and signed up for a membership. After a bit of browsing, I came across a listing for a remote Marketing Coordinator for a company called Boldly. The more I read, the more excited I became. The job was essentially just everything I had been doing in my previous marketing roles, but virtually, and for a host of different, exciting clients in various industries.
I applied, I was hired, and 5 years later, I’m still with the same company, legitimately loving what I do every day – I’ve even been promoted. And enjoying what I do at everyday work isn’t even the best part. The best part is enjoying the new, flexible life it has allowed me to have. And not just with location – but with my schedule and work/life balance as well. Since starting at Boldly, I’ve had two children, and so besides my love of being location-independent, the flexibility my position allows me in order to spend more time with them is priceless.
And the best news? You can do the same thing. Since beginning my remote career, I’ve become aware of so many movements, resources, and thought leaders working to lead the remote work revolution for military spouses- not just Boldly, but also sites like Military Spouse Professional Network, Virtforce, and MSCCN focus on helping find work that actually works for folks like us. I’d encourage you to check them out if you’re on the job hunt.
Here’s the bottom line. Military spouses are innately and incredibly resourceful. It’s in our blood and it’s a trait we need to continue cultivating to survive this turbulent, unpredictable lifestyle. You can apply that resourcefulness to your career search and you can find something that fits – all it takes is a little shift in thinking. So put down the peanut butter honey, you got this, and I’m rooting for you!
Posted by Audrey Fairbrother, Marketing Manager for Boldly, a premium subscription staffing company connecting demanding founders and executives with ridiculously talented remote staff.