I have a confession: I am an extremely overqualified army
wife and I am tired of being rejected. After finishing two master's programs simultaneously, we had a PCS (aka Permanent Change of Station) to Fort Stewart, where I found few opportunities that
seemed relevant to my studies, interesting enough to warrant 40 hours in the office every week or paid more than $30,000 a year.
Maybe my expectations were too high, but instead
of jumping into a job I hated, I turned to my freelance business and decided
to wait until the time was right to look for the perfect position.
In the past
year, a few really fantastic positions have come along, all at great times for
our family. Applications, initial phone interviews and first formal interviews
have all been successful and extremely positive—leading me to think it would
be a good fit and that the prospective employer is interested. I never make my
status as a military spouse and mom overt, but I definitely don’t hide it, either.
A quick Google of my name will show blog posts, articles and social media profiles that mention it all, very proudly. However, once it comes up
in an interview, the mutual excitement quickly simmers and the questions start
Do you think you can handle the stresses of your
personal life with the demands of the job?
What’s it like?
Do you think it will be a problem for you?
Did your husband see combat? (Also known as, "Is
I’m tired of feeling like my husband’s service to this country immediately gives me, as an applicant, a negative review.
Obviously, no, I don’t think my husband’s job is a problem
for this position, or I wouldn’t have applied. But that isn’t the point, is it?
The point is that prospective employers definitely think it does. They immediately
perceive the applicant as an emotional, needy, dramatic character from their
favorite Lifetime series and discredit the years of relevant experience, actual
character and fit for the position. Let me tell you, I’m tired of it. I’m tired
of feeling like I should hide that part of my life. I’m tired of feeling like
my husband’s service to this country immediately gives me, as an applicant, a
Here’s the thing. Being a mom is tough—no matter your
spouse’s career choice—but as a military spouse of a combat soldier, I’ve
learned (very quickly) these things:
How to manage my time between mom, wife and
business owner (or potential employee).
How to manage my emotions. Keeping emotions in
check is paramount to keeping my sanity and still being a productive member of
society—and running a successful business.
How to focus on multiple things at once. Just
because my husband recently returned home and is dealing with the various
issues of reintegration, again, doesn’t mean the world stops. There are kids to
be fed, projects to complete and a life to lead. I am more able to manage
stressful situations now, with complete ease, than ever before.
How to be creative on the spot. If I have a free
15 minutes, the wheels start turning and I am rapidly going through my to-do
list, finishing projects and getting things done. There isn’t the luxury of
unlimited free time or endless brainstorming sessions, so I figured out how to
get in, get out and do great work efficiently.
To all the military spouses out there trying to make it work
and juggle the dynamic roles of mom, military spouse and careerist, I salute
you. Keep chugging along and don’t be afraid to stand proudly alongside your
soldier. The right fit will support your role as a military spouse and value
how that side of your life will positively impact the business.