Military spouses often have complicated and diverse professional resumes, given the combination of moving every two to three years, short tours and temporary moves for schooling. But it doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Thanks in part to legislation that came out of the Obama administration's Joining Forces program over the past decade, hiring military spouses is the thing to do these days; however, their unemployment rate still hovers around 25%, according to a recent Deloitte study.
The 2019 Blue Star Families Survey also found that military members, veterans and their spouses ranked financial issues as their top stressor.
One area that may really frustrate military spouses is the concept of taking a position temporarily. It may be hard to find the advantage in starting something just to have to end it. Thoughts like, "What's the point, we are just going to be moving in the next [fill in the blank] months" may run through military spouses' minds.
But there are several benefits to a short-term position.
It can be a bridge to a permanent position.
While taking a position that you think will be temporary is beneficial, sometimes the job turns out not to be short-term. With the pandemic still wreaking havoc on the world, many organizations and companies have made plans to continue remote work conditions through the end of 2021. Some have even stated that many of their positions will remain remote long term, due to clearly observed advantages. By starting a position in your current location and proving you can maintain it while working remotely, you may have found yourself a permanent job.
It helps you round out your resume.
Diversity and culture are words that are underlined in memos and spoken aloud throughout many organizations. This is because of the clearly recognized benefit to hiring individuals who bring unique skill sets and ingenuity. Military spouses often have varied backgrounds from moving around the world, offering a rich pool of diverse, resilient and stable potential employees.
It allows you to stay up-to-date.
Those who have gaps in employment run the risk of being a bit rusty in their career fields. Taking a position -- even temporarily -- prevents this from happening. You'll remain current with your knowledge and skills, avoiding the firehose feeling of trying to catch up that you might experience if you wait too long.
It expands your network.
The importance of building a community of support doesn't stop at our personal relationships. It's also important for us professionally. Another good benefit to taking on a short-term role is to broaden your professional networking group; relationships are the key to both business and personal success. That temporary role may lead to a recommendation for another role later on. You never know.
It gives you a sense of purpose.
For many, engaging in meaningful employment instills a deep sense of purpose. You are earning an income and doing something just for yourself. About one in five Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness, and multiple studies conducted over the last 20 years have found a link between unemployment and negative mental health symptoms.
Just because there are benefits to short-term employment doesn't mean you have to take the first job that you see. Take time and examine your life to see if it feels like something is missing. Maybe there is a job you always wanted to try or an internship that looks interesting. Short-term opportunities can have long-term benefits.
-- Jessica Manfre is an author and freelance writer. She is a licensed social worker; co-founder and CFO of Inspire Up; the spouse of an active duty Coast Guardsman; and mother of two. When she isn't working, you can find her reading a good book and drinking too much coffee.
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