Happy to have this guest post by Linda on working from home and employment. Please email me at Julie@soldierswifecrazylife.com and let me know if you would like to write a guest post for Soldier’s Wife, Crazy Life too.
35% of Military Spouses are saying that they are NOT employed but NEED OR WANT employment.
According to the BSF/IVMF Survey # Respondents, Military Spouse Employment remains the reigning TOP ISSUE for Military Families! Link to Survey: https://bluestarfam.org/survey/
Reason’s why it is the TOP ISSUE – It creates financial stress when with each PCS move a spouse loses her job and is forced into unemployment or under-employment status taking a low paying position at the new location. Add to that the stress from COVID 19 with the impact of school closures, daycare closures, the cost of childcare and access to quality, affordable childcare in general, and an unpredictable daily work schedule of their service member, and you have the perfect recipe for Military Spouses and Service Members to choose their FAMILY over Service when it comes time to re-enlist.
What Needs to Be Done – Companies that hire military spouses and offer remote work opportunities along with flexible schedules and opportunities for advancement, need access to the Military Spouses and need to be able to share those opportunities in the community. Community businesses around military installations need to reconsider their stance on hiring or choosing not to hire military spouses because of the amount of time we may or may not be at a duty station. In the civilian sector, employees are typically not staying in a position longer than 5 years.
At the Command level, reasonable accommodation for service members that need to manage home or family obligations should be encouraged. Explore ways to expand military childcare capacity or expand the MCCYN Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood fee assistance program and make it easier for those “underground” childcare providers to gain the quality rating necessary to be on the installation provider list.
Encourage partnerships with organizations that have DOD agreements to complement the services being offered through ACS, MWR, the Education Center, and SFL TAP by inviting them to Newcomer Briefings and allowing them to provide the information for additional employment opportunity support. If the spouses do not know about it, they can not access it.
This also is THE #1 Issue Impacting your Service Member Retention!
To address the Military Spouse Employment Issue, there has been an explosion of grassroots Non-Profit Organizations in the last 10 years, STARTED by Military Spouses or Veterans that aim to alleviate military spouse Un and Under-Employment
Who are they? This is by no means a complete list but is a list of the Organizations that are vetted, and I have personal experience with:
- Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network – National and Local Installation locations
- USO Pathfinder Transition and Military Spouse Programs
- Blue Star Families
- IVMF Institute for Veterans and Military Families – O2O Onward to Opportunity with Syracuse University
- MSEP Military Spouse Employment Partnership
- Vet Jobs
- MOAA Military Officers Association of America
What do they do? These organizations tackle Military Spouse and Veteran Employment and have something slightly different to offer that sets them apart from each other. However, they all work together closely and share a passion for their mission.
I wish I had known about them 10 years ago as I struggled my way through my own career journey. I only learned about them 2 years ago, and only because the little reserve installation we were near actually had a PPP representative, and she shared these with me!
The above resources have connections to company partners that are Military Spouse and Veteran friendly employers who have a commitment to hiring Military Spouses and Veterans. Some of them have the same partners, but many of them have their own unique relationships with different companies and if you know what all of them are doing, you are only going to increase your chances of finding the perfect job or personal growth opportunity for your family’s situation! All of them have Vetted Opportunities and are often remote and some are CONUS and OCONUS friendly.
Working From Home Life
Almost everyone I speak to, says, “I would love to work at home, you are so lucky! That is what I want to do.” With COVID 19 in 2020, many people found out very quickly some of the challenges of working from home as their spouses, and children joined them at home, and they got to have ALL that EXTRA together time.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I will ever go back into an office again in my lifetime. However, with that said, it isn’t for everyone.
Things to consider:
- Are you self-disciplined?
- Are you an extremely social person?
- Do you have a dedicated office or workspace, or could you create one?
- Is the position a W2 position or an Independent Contractor (1099) position? **This one has tax implications. 1099 Independent Contractors do not have taxes taken out and should be paying taxes quarterly. You may want to get a CPA.**)
There are companies out there that are committed to hiring military spouses, and some were created by military spouses to be able to offer REMOTE, Portable employment with ROOM for Advancement, flexible schedules, and a network of other military spouses, that just get it!
Be Active On LinkedIn
Get your free LinkedIn Premium account https://socialimpact.linkedin.com/programs/veterans/milspouses
Connect with the networks I mentioned above and follow them. Start Networking and attending events and learn about the companies that are committed to hiring military spouses. Do some self-reflection and narrow down what career path you are on and find your dream job!
Linda Bailey has been a Military Spouse for 16+ years, with 3 grown children, and 3 fur babies. She is an Empty Nester preparing for life after the military in a few years. She has somehow managed to stay employed throughout her husband’s career, but she WILL say that it has not been easy. Her new mission in life is to help other military spouses have a better career path than her own. She has just spent 30 Days posting on Linked In and sharing resources for Military Spouses and discovered some great opportunities that did not exist during her search for employment over the years. Please check her out on LinkedIN and Facebook.