4 Career Tips to Help Military Spouses Succeed No Matter Where They Live
Military spouses often face two major obstacles to building a career and earning a steady income:
- You’re raising a family.
- Your spouse’s military career moves your family to a new city every two or three years.
It’s no surprise unemployment among military spouses is historically two to three times higher than the national average.
So how can you take control of your career and earn steady income while supporting your family’s lifestyle?
We talked to Tara Glenn, who previously served and met her husband in the Navy, and Caitlin Deigel, a hair stylist and also a Navy wife. Both have found creative ways to make money around their family’s obligations.
Here are their best job tips for military spouses:
1. Use Your Connections
To accommodate her pregnancy and care for her youngest child, Glenn started selling baked goods.
The business was inexpensive to start, she could do it on her own schedule and she could tap into her network for sales.
In addition to selling at the local farmers market, she reached out to parents at her kids’ school, to military neighbors and through Facebook. She earns about $500 to $600 in a good month after costs.
2. Be Adaptable
“The key to success and efficiency — whether it’s in the business world, military life or civilian life — is adaptability,” Deigel explained. She adjusts her focus depending on her business and home needs so she can give her best to both.
Glenn added, “Keep an open mind when it comes to employment.” Aside from her military service, she’s worked as a school photographer, gas station attendant and cashier over the years.
Your career path may not be straightforward, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work towards success.
3. Start With Your Passion
Deigel’s marriage has moved her from one end of the country to another.
To incorporate her experience as a hair stylist, her business management degree and her passion for volunteering she used to do at a homeless shelter, Deigel developed Social Worth, an online platform to provide free haircuts to the homeless.
“It is a happy coincidence that the business I want to run pairs well with military life,” Deigel told us.
Deigel can set her own schedule and priorities, so she’s available for extra responsibilities at home depending on her husband’s assignments.
4. Do Location-Independent Work
What’s great about Deigel’s business is she can take it wherever she goes.
“As long as I succeed in the (area) where we are living now, I can move the business and grow it in a new area when we have to move again,” she says.
Whether you want to own your own business or work for someone else, consider jobs that aren’t tied to a physical location.
Where to Find Jobs for Military Spouses
Freelance writing, graphic design or web design are great places to start if you’re creatively inclined.
You might also want to check out R. Riveter, a company created specifically to employ military spouses, wherever you are.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).