Tag Archives: careers

Job or Career: What Military Spouses Should Know

When the Good Chaplain went on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, I had a decision to make. I was the city editor for a local paper. I’d been working on newspapers for the last 10 years, and it was something I loved. But, I also knew our new lifestyle would include frequent moves, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be bogged down working full-time.

Luckily, my job was portable, and I ended up becoming a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines nationwide. Sadly, we did not need my income to survive. His salary as a beginning captain was what the two of us were making combined in the civilian world.

As your spouse enters his military career or continues if you married someone already in the military, chances are you will have to make the same decision. Do you want to work outside of the house, work from home, or not work at all? And the biggest question to ask yourself is, do you want a job or a career?

That question is key to the job search. Some careers lend themselves better to the military lifestyle. Teaching and nursing are two that come to mind. But keep in mind, it can be like starting all over again when you move to a new market. I’ve known many teachers who have to start as a first-year teacher each time they move. That sucks.

Making the decision of whether to pursue a career or a job depends on several factors.

  1. What is the area job market like? Is it saturated in your career field? What kind of professional positions are open? Is the area depressed with a high unemployment rate? Do some research before you even move to the area. I contacted the newspaper in Minot, North Dakota before we even left Alaska, and the editor called me while we were packing out, so I knew I had a job in my career field when I got there.
  2. If you are pursuing a professional position, do you have the necessary certifications? The military just made it a little easier for some professionals to move around with new reciprocal certification rules. Under the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the service branches can reimburse spouses up to $1,000 for any re-licensing or certification costs because of a military move. Check with your branch to see what it does. Also, many states are using license portability for military spouses. This action helps make the licensing and certification go quicker. For more information on state-sponsored reciprocal agreements, click here. The site provides a map of which states are involved in the agreement and finding information on your profession.

Finding the right job is not always easy for military spouses, but using the tools I gave you last week and the information from today, it can be accomplished.

Next week I will talk about whether you want a job on base or off.

Until then,


Share your experiences trying to transfer licenses or certificates in the comments below.

8 Sources for a Military Spouse’s Job Hunt

You want a job, or maybe a career, but it is hard to get established as a military spouse because of frequent moves. Don’t get discouraged. Plenty of jobs are out there if you know where to look.

In today’s post, because I am no expert on the military spouse job hunt, I am going to refer you to some other sites that do a good job of helping you land that dream job, or get the training necessary for that job.

Helpful Websites to Read

Military spouses should all have the Military OneSource website saved as the go-to site for everything military. On this website, you can find help with taxes, financial and legal help, of course, education and employment, as well as a wealth of other topics about military life. Make sure you check it out.

Under the tab, Spouse & Family, on Military.com, are links to military spouse jobs, among other topics. Also, on Military.com, you can select the service branch you which you want information. Click the link above to visit this site.

CareerStep has a section on career training for military, veterans, and their spouses with several programs eligible for financial assistance through My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA). CareerStep offers online training to suit the needs of the military lifestyle. A link to MyCAA is available through Military OneSource.

Check out what the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network can do for you during your job hunt. In addition to an impressive array of national corporations that hire military spouses, the network matches you to hiring managers looking for your qualifications. They also provide skills training, readiness training, and resume preparation.

Most of us have heard of Monster.com, but did you know they advise careers and job searches? The link above takes you to an article about the best companies for military spouses. While you are on the site, look at some of the other help it can give you.

Helpful Books to Peruse

The Stars Are Lined Up for Military Spouses: For Federal Careers (Ten Steps to a Federal Job) 

Advancing the Careers of Military Spouses: An Assessment of Education and Employment Goals and Barriers Facing Military Spouses Eligible for MyCaa

Mobile Military Spouse: Make Money From Home with Print on Demand Products Merch by Amazon & Kindle Direct Publishing (Military Spouse Entrepreneurs)

By exploring which companies are most friendly to military spouses and using tools available through these and many more websites and publications, you should begin to decide what kind of work you want to do.

Next week I will discuss whether you are looking for a job or a career.

Until then,


Do you have any experience with job hunting as a military spouse? Share them and any tips you have to offer in the comments below.

I Vote For Kept Woman: The Military Spouse Decision to Work

When the Good Chaplain became active duty Air Force in July 1992, we had a decision to make. Did I want to find a job or be a stay-at-home mom? I was lucky to have the choice. The Good Chaplain entered active duty as a Captain and, sadly, his salary was the same as we both made in the real world. So I didn’t have to work. But my job was portable. I could write from anywhere. I elected to stay home and try freelance writing.

I had some success as a freelancer, but I didn’t try too hard either. I enjoyed learning the ins and outs of military life and “playing” with my fellow spouses. I did work off and on during the Good Chaplain’s career, but not until the girls were older. In his later career, I thoroughly enjoyed being a kept woman.

The military is supportive today of spouses working outside the home, but it wasn’t always so, especially for senior members of the officer and enlisted corps. In the summer of 1988, when the Good Chaplain did a tour as a Chaplain Candidate at Hurlburt Field in the Florida Panhandle, the deputy wing commander’s wife had a job, but she asked me not to tell anyone because she wasn’t supposed to work. I was flabbergasted. Women worked outside the house for a long time by then. She worked a night job so she could be free to attend to her “duties” as a senior officer’s wife.

Today it is normal for military spouses to work outside of the house, take care of the children, find time to do some volunteer work, and still clean the house. But it’s not easy to find jobs sometimes, especially if you need certification, such as teachers, nurses, real estate professionals, or other such careers.

The military and federal government are trying to make it easier. Spouse preference mandates that jobs available on base hire a qualified military spouse over a qualified non-military spouse. And Congress is looking at a bill that allows portable certification. (https://www.militarytimes.com/opinion/commentary/2019/05/23/why-the-portable-certification-of-spouses-act-would-increase-employment-success-for-military-spouses-when-they-pcs) Several Senators and Representatives introduced the bipartisan legislation would help this issue by supporting interstate licensing and small business registration.

Another obstacle to having a job or career is deciding whose job has priority. The average time in a location for officers is two to three years. For enlisted it is about four years. Many companies don’t want an employee who isn’t going to be around long. This happened to me twice in the Good Chaplain’s career.

The first time came when he was called to active duty from the Reserves. I worked at a local daily newspaper. I was the regional editor, number three in the newsroom hierarchy. But I was doing the job of the city editor, or number two, for almost a year. Then one lovely Wednesday morning, the bosses called me into the publisher’s office to tell me I was being promoted to city editor in title and pay. ONE week later to the day, the Good Chaplain was offered the position on active duty, something that shouldn’t have happened for at least another year.

The second time I worked at one of my favorite jobs at a weekly newspaper when the Good Chaplain told me we were getting a short-notice move. I’d only been in that job for 5 months. I said no for the first time in our military career. Of course, I did end up going and that’s when I started my career as a kept woman ever since.

I’ve known couples who live separately because of each of their jobs. Many can make it work. But it isn’t for everyone. My philosophy was the military separated us enough with deployments and temporary duty assignments. I did not want to voluntarily separate from the Good Chaplain. That is a decision for each couple to make — the military job or the civilian spouse job or both.

Whatever you’re decision, I pray it is the perfect one for your family. Personally, I advocate for the kept woman approach.

Until next time,