I never thought the day I said “I do” to my Marine would forever change the path of my career; that it would head steadily towards a cliff and eventually topple over. Job loss is almost an epidemic in our community. Some spouses have jobs, but usually it’s just something to keep them busy. They aren’t following their dreams or even pursuing what they’ve been trained to do.
Imagine all the hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue due to following your military member around. Many companies look at spouses as lost causes because of the frequent moves. Even spouses with the best portable careers, like nurses and teachers, eventually fall prey because their licenses are no longer viable in the state that they’ve recently relocated to.
We all know that this is a huge problem, but many don’t understand the full extent of it. Recently, I was told that 35% of military spouses are affected by job and career loss. Personally, I think that number is far too low. Through years of living on base and being surrounded by military families, I’ve witnessed firsthand the large number of spouses who have fought the battle to maintain their careers and lost.
Many of our spouses have completely given up. Perhaps it’s because they moved to some Podunk where there are no jobs in sight. Maybe it’s because no one will give them a chance to prove themselves and they’ve reached the point where it’s easier to not try. Putting in effort only results in getting disappointed time and time again.
Our federal government and other organizations are trying to help solve the problem in our community with programs such as Joining Forces, Hiring our Heroes and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. However, in order to truly fix this problem, we need to understand the full scope of what is going on. MOAA and Syracuse University are conducting a comprehensive military spouse employment survey for exactly this reason. Open through October 16, the survey gives members of the military community the opportunity to help make a better future for generations of spouses to come.
All military spouses are encouraged to take part in the survey: retired, active duty, reservist, National Guard, veterans and survivors of all ranks.
Information gathered will be used to initiate legislation and create lasting change.