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Careers for military spouses?

pdt1530

Member
Thanks for the thoughtful responses everyone!! Villanelle and Synixman, I understand that I know almost nothing about military life as I am a non prior (hence, my naivety) but all the info out there is either entirely too vague or too specific so it might not apply. Where I could possibly be and for how long are full of "what-ifs" and "might-bes" that make planning almost impossible. We never expected her to be able to find some sort of professional job and I definitely wasn't expecting to be stationed in one place long enough for her to go to law school (unless there was a way to transfer credits or get educated on base or something of that sort). It was wishful thinking on my part. Thanks for the insight though. We just don't want her to sacrifice her professional life to later find out there was something we could have done to better assist her.

Also, E6B does offer good advice as well so thanks! We were thinking my time in the military could give her a good opportunity to raise kids if we were going to have them but she's worried that going back to school later on (after kids, after my service) would be too difficult. I think it would be too difficult to pay off law school if she were unemployed so I'm just looking for options for her because I definitely want us to both be going in to this "eyes wide open." I only thought it would be worth a shot for me to ask around for her sake. Our original plan was to just feel it out during flight school and we can decide if we can live this sort of life together. She suggested going to law school then once graduated, follow me around until after my service but I don't think anyone has gotten rich off of an 0-1 salary, correct me if I'm wrong. So going to law school planning for unemployment seems dodgy to say the least. She thinks that if she is more qualified, she might be able to find a job more easily. Can anyone help put this in perspective? The types of jobs she will be lucky enough to get while following me around probably won't depend on extra degrees. I'm guessing it won't make any difference.

I was and I am fully prepared to move a lot. From what I understand, orders can come on the drop of a dime and there's no telling how long you'll be anywhere. I just know that it's a lot to ask her to try to follow me around, basically unemployed, no ring (at first anyway), no kids and she's just sitting on a college degree. Anyway, I think our first option (putting up with time apart) is just gonna have to work out. I guess the adjustment that we both have to make from civi life to military life is that the Navy ALWAYS comes first. No one cares about our love story ;)

Anyway, with that being said, I don't want to come off as if I'm putting the cart in front of the horse. These are the kinds of things that are hard to think about ahead of time when I'm just trying to get the best possible packet together so I'm even given the opportunity! At the end of the day, I just want to be able to say I exhausted all of my resources to try to prepare for this big decision but I guess there are too many contingencies to plan for anything. It may work out, it might not. Thanks everyone for the help!!
 

Spekkio

He bowls overhand.
It's not an issue of qualification but of longevity. It will be difficult for your wife to find work as a lawyer (and many other well-paying jobs outside of what villanelle noted) because she will be a short timer. The answer to the interview question "where do you see yourself in 5 years" is most likely no longer residing in the same place. Companies don't like to hire someone for a year or two in skilled positions. It costs them a lot of time and money to find replacements. Couples make it work by accepting that one person will hop around entry-level jobs, start over professionally on a frequent basis, or living apart.
 

villanelle

Nihongo dame desu
Contributor
I think being a bit of a generalist works well for spouse's jobs. If all you can do is make a perfect widget, then if you move to a place with nary a widget factory in sight, you are SOL. If you work in HR, for example, that's something that can be done anywhere. Jobs dealing with hospitals (even if not directly in patient care) or universities are good, as those tend to be nearly everywhere. I'd also say that jobs requiring any kind of state certification aren't ideal, as the same issues with state bar exams pop up. That said, there seem to be a lot of military spouse's who teach. (My personal guess at why this is is that it is only based partly on the fact that it is a job that is needed everywhere, and that it is also in large part because for whatever reason, military spouses tend to be very kid and family oriented.) And you can be a substitute teacher anywhere (though many states I think still required you to pass the local exam), so that's not a bad gig to consider, but the pay isn't great. You can even be a sub at overseas bases in the DoD school systems. And if she's lucky enough to find a unicorn of a job that allows for 100% telecommuting, she'd of course be set no matter where you go. I'm not sure if that's what you were asking in your second paragraph, but that's my take.

One more comment--you said that "the Navy ALWAYS comes first". Yes and no. It's true to the extent that it is going to force you to do things you and she don't want you to, and that is can be un unstoppable force, no matter how much that interferes with your domestic life. It comes first when filling out your calendar and planning holidays and canceling weekend plans and missing her sister's wedding and moving across the world to a place you don't really want to be. But "the Navy comes first" can become a crutch and an excuse. There have been plenty of times where Husband's job was more urgent than our home life. There have been many times where something important to us or to me got trampled by the forward march of the Needs of the Navy. I've done an hell of a lot of sucking it up. But I've never, ever doubted that I was more important to him than the Navy, even if the Navy was more urgent and more obviously present than my needs.

He's made hard choices, and sometimes they led to disappointment or sadness on my part. But I've had to trust that he's always balanced our home life with his career success and made decisions accordingly, and to trust in his ability and willingness to keep me in mind when making his choices, to come to the conclusions that best represented that balance, and to stand up for me if and when it was necessary and possible. I've always known that if it came down to choosing and I truly needed something from him, that he would move heaven and earth to make it happen, and would sacrifice what he must professionally. (And I've been careful to define "need" very narrowly, so thus far it has never come to that.) Don't let yourself believe the Navy is more important, if you marry this girl, and never allow her to believe that either. The Navy may be bigger and more stubborn, and that's something she'll have to accept, but it should never be more important than your family. The Navy comes first with regard to logistics and planning, but if it ever comes first with regard to the things that truly matter, then you are in the wrong relationship. And she needs to make sure that she knows "working on Saturday because my shop is working and it would be fucked up for me not to be there, so sorry about our theatre tickets" doesn't mean that the Navy is more important than her or that she comes second. It just means that you have faith in her ability to adapt and rebound and this time, you know that when balancing the two, the Navy wins.
 

pdt1530

Member
Thanks for the perspective villanelle! :) It has been difficult to consider ALL the things I will have to deal with when I join the Navy (especially since my recruiter is painting an awfully glorified picture for me) so I appreciate everyone's input. I think it's best that the lady friend and I weigh all our options and consider everything before deciding we want to do this together. We both have a lot at stake (as I'm sure most have been in a similar situation). We both have a lot to figure out.
 

BackOrdered

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I'm going to give a plug to nurses. You can't go wrong with nurses. They can work ANYWHERE in CONUS, and if he/she can get a job at a military hospital, they can transfer easily. They will have to reapply for a license for each state, but it isn't as hard as it seems. The only issue I have seen is trying to get a job overseas, unless someone knows differently....
 

llnick2001

it’s just malfeasance for malfeasance’s sake
pilot
I'd second the nurse thing. It keeps the Mrs pretty portable. That said, I'm not sure being a nurse would do much for someone who wants to be a lawyer.
 

BackOrdered

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I'd second the nurse thing. It keeps the Mrs pretty portable. That said, I'm not sure being a nurse would do much for someone who wants to be a lawyer.
I know, I just saw the sticky and wanted to throw that out there as a viable spouse career.
 

e6bflyer

Used to Care
pilot
I'm going to give a plug to nurses. You can't go wrong with nurses. They can work ANYWHERE in CONUS, and if he/she can get a job at a military hospital, they can transfer easily. They will have to reapply for a license for each state, but it isn't as hard as it seems. The only issue I have seen is trying to get a job overseas, unless someone knows differently....
Ymmv with the licensing thing. It is easy in most states, but there are a few that won't simply accept a previous license and a small bribe and convert it into a new one.
Agree, though, it is a very portable career and they are in demand everywhere.
 

BackOrdered

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Ymmv with the licensing thing. It is easy in most states, but there are a few that won't simply accept a previous license and a small bribe and convert it into a new one.
Agree, though, it is a very portable career and they are in demand everywhere.
True. We had trouble in Virginia and I think it was mostly the inherent slow bureaucracy of the Norfolk area in general. What isn't difficult to do there? Research is important, but I never heard of a major showstopper that can't be mitigated by due diligence and foresight.
 

Angry

NFO in Jax
None
My wife is a special education teacher and (just recently due to a PCS) a behavioral therapist. She got a job 4 days after landing in Pensacola and then a week before we actually moved to Jacksonville. Could just be the state of FL schools, but from what I hear the job is in demand just about everywhere...
 

PenguinGal

Can Do!
Contributor
I am going to toss engineer/STEM careers out there too. Many of them can be done remotely which is helpful come PCS time. Additionally, for engineers, professional licensing isn't always required. For those fields in which it is, the NCEES allows one to apply for "NCEES Records" which streamlines the process of comity.
 
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