Military Spouses and Portable Careers

Fort Campbell, KY (March 23, 2021) – The current unemployment rate for military spouses is roughly 26%—nearly a quarter of all military spouses. Maintaining traditional employment and advancing in careers while relocating every few years—and taking care of children, often on their own—has historically been a hardship military spouses have found extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. The service member’s job always takes priority. They’re often tasked to deploy or fulfill months-long training events with short notice, leaving inadequate time for spouses to prepare.

Moving every two to three years means that spouses are leaving behind jobs and having to find new employment. That challenge is met with location restraints, gaps in employment and considerable pay cuts. Imagine uprooting your life to a new area, exhausting your resources and efforts to finally find a wonderful job, and having to leave it behind and start again just a year or two later.

Military Spouses

Portable careers for military spouses provide opportunities to establish and even grow in a career. A lot of telecommuting jobs are remote, which means the work can move where they move. Teleworking companies often offer positions with flexible schedules and potential for advancement. Remote positions can include a wide range of work such as customer service, marketing managers, sales positions and healthcare work, as well as researchers and those providing technical support. For spouses who are looking for a purposeful career but are struggling to find adequate work, teleworking may be their saving grace.

What could change for a spouse if they obtained a remote, portable job?

  • Stability – When duty calls and a military family packs up to move to their next duty station, remote positions offer job stability. They may be in Maryland one day and California the next, but if a spouse can keep that same job despite geographical location, it combats a lot of issues they would otherwise face.
  • Flexibility – A lot of remote careers are independent contractor positions, meaning you are your own boss. They can choose the hours and time of day that works for them. If you have children, then you know they thrive on structure, and a remote position would allow spouses to work around family schedules.
  • No commute – Eliminating a daily commute can save hours each week and allow them to reclaim the most limited resource: time. All that saved time adds up and can be spent on more important matters, like meal planning for the week, cooking a homemade meal, enjoying a cup of coffee, or seeing their kids off to school in the morning.
  • Accountability – There is a great feeling that comes with the ability to provide for your family. Knowing that these spouses are accountable, despite all the challenges that military life is bound to throw their way, is remarkable.

“Employers used to not want to hire military spouses due to potential instability regarding military orders; however, with work-at-home opportunities expanding, this trend is beginning to shift to the favor of the military spouse.” – Anonymous military spouse

Now, many companies have developed a new understanding for remote work and how easily many positions can convert to become portable. Employers across the globe have begun taking initiatives to hire military spouses for remote roles. They are now understanding that spouses are resilient, adaptable and an asset to their company.

About the Author: Chantel Cooke is a Proctor at the Digital Works Fort Campbell facility. Her signature strengths are outreach, mentoring, and assessment review. She is responsible for guiding, mentoring, and teaching individuals to become skilled and confident in remote job positions that improve the lives and family dynamics within the military community.

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