Thursday, December 18, 2008

Military Spouses Make The Best Employees

Well, they do when they are employed, but what about when you don’t receive a salary? In this difficult job market, some of us cannot get a job in our field and sometimes in any other field. We are over-qualified or do not have a traditional work history. If we want to simply take any job to pay the bills, companies do not want to hire us because they think we are going to get bored and leave, I suppose. Add to this your status as a military spouse, and it gets even more difficult.

This was a huge problem when I lived in Virginia. I was fresh out of college, but I was in my early thirties when I graduated. Many employers said I was over-qualified and they felt I would be dissatisfied with the mundane tasks put before me if they hired me. What?! I wanted a job, a place to begin my career and money in my pocket. They did not get it. I hear others are in the same boat especially with the current economy making employers leery of hiring anyone new.

Here is a newsflash to all of the employers out there who do not want to hire competent, well-trained workers with a great work-ethic who have been working from home for years while moving to new duty stations every few years. You cannot get a better employee. We work hard because we have to. In order to continue getting new business if we own our own, we have to constantly be on the prowl for new clients. When we get a job in which someone else is paying us, we are grateful, so we show up on time, dress professionally and fulfill our responsibilities. We are highly creative for the most part. I am not talking about crafts - though many of us are into making things - I am talking about things like these:

• Creative packing. We have to pack rather quickly which all milspouses know is a serious challenge. You need to figure out what to keep and what to save for that final house after retirement.
• “The Box.” As we near our PCS date, we use up the food in our cupboards, and sometimes come up with the most interesting meals, don’t we? We have to get rid of food by figuring out what is good enough to pass on to another family, what we should toss, and what will be helpful during our first days in housing. Babette Maxwell of Military Spouse Magazine calls it a “Departing Box.”
• Necessary deception. If our children ask a question the answer to which will disturb them, or if we simply do not have a good enough answer yet, we sometimes have to do a tap dance. We come up with something that takes into account their level of maturity and degree to which they need to know, then come up with an appropriate story until it’s time for the truth. It is a way of letting them down easy in case we have bad news later on.
• Finally, as military spouses, we frequently have to single-handedly run the show at home while our active duty family member is away for whatever reason. This is the time I give serious credit to all of the single parents I know. It can be difficult doing everything, but we get really good at it … because we have to.

So next time you think twice about hiring someone who has been at home for a while or is a military spouse, don’t think, just hire. We are a great asset to any business.


The 2009 Defense Authorization Act is now law, and includes a 3.9 percent across-the-board raise in military basic pay, effective on January 1, 2009. That means military members will see the raise in their January 15 paychecks.

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