I get asked to take a lot of surveys, but when MOAA introduced their Military Spouse Unemployment Survey, I knew it would be worth every minute of my time. Why? Because the results were going to an organization who makes changes.
Often times it seems that we’re stuck in a never ending cycle of problems and issues. We’re asked to relay difficulties we’e facing to various organizations and government entities, but then time passes and we notice that nothing changes. It’s frustrating to say the least.
I’ve been plagued by the military spouse job loss epidemic and know what it feels like to have ditched my career aspirations several duty stations ago. I realized that I look like damaged goods to many companies due to frequent PCS’s and gave up on finding anything. The reality is that businesses should relish military spouses — they’re some of the most effective problem solvers out there.
Maybe you’re like me and have been stationed in less than desirable locations where the word “career” is something non-existent in your new small town. Heck, even getting a job that would be worth waking up in the morning for is next to impossible.
If you don’t know who MOAA is, then let me give you the skinny. MOAA stands for Military Officers of America Association, but don’t let the name fool you – they’re one of the largest military organizations in America who fight for the benefits of each and every military member and family out there, no matter one’s rank or tenure. You know that great post 9/11 G.I. Bill? Yup. You can help thank MOAA for that one as well as fighting Tricare hikes, getting Tricare Young Adult enacted, the Military Kids’ Education Interstate Compact and so much more.
How did MOAA get all this power? Because they have the 4th largest military service organization in the US and because they work directly with our lawmakers to propose realistic and viable solutions when problems exist. Bingo. They do something problems about the at hand.
Are you a member of MOAA? If not, I highly suggest you join today so you can be informed when our benefits are being attacked. You can help make changes with a few clicks of a button and even if you do nothing, membership numbers speak volumes to the government. Even better? It won’t cost you a dime because basic memberships are FREE.
I’ve already taken the survey. It took me 23 minutes all in all, including looking up my husband’s W2 to determine his gross pay. If you have a couple moments before you begin, you may want to gather:
- Your spouses’ MOS if you don’t know it (ask your military member directly)
- Your total GROSS income (see your tax W2 or MyPay)
- Your total NET income (add up the total of boxes 2,4 ,6 from box 1 on your W2)
- Of course you can always guestimate this information if your military member isn’t around to ask or you don’t want to wait to take the survey.
There’s a handy little bar at the bottom notifying you of your progression as you take the test. My personal favorite answer when asking what kind of employment I’m looking for? “I was looking for employment in the past but have given up, and currently am NOT employed.”
I really haven’t focused on the money I could have brought into our home if I actually had the opportunity to work in a career that I’m qualified and have experience working in (see below). This part of the survey focuses on income earned and what I could have made if I were working. For me, there were a lot of zeros in the top part.
This survey just made me realize that if I kept earning what I earned before I met and married my Marine with no increases in cost of living or pay raises, I would have brought in an additional $660,000 since we married. That’s a lot of lost income.
The survey is open from September 16 – October 16 and they encourage ALL military spouses (all ranks and components) to participate*: Active duty, National Guard, Reserve, Retired, Veteran, and Survivors.
Help us change the statistics and let people know how you’ve been affected by job loss. Yesterday I was told that approximately 35% of milspouses are affected by job loss. I think that number is completely wrong and way too low.
Please take the time and answer this survey. Let’s get them succinct information with issues that are affecting us today and help take the time to make some positive changes. If you won’t act on this, how can we expect people to act on our behalf?