MSEJ May 2016 - Page 12

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Understanding & Overcoming Military Spouse Employment Needs

This year, the nation celebrated Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 6th. Of course, at MSCCN, we believe everyday should be Military Spouse Appreciation Day because military spouses are truly a resilient bunch. We work daily to support spouses in their professional pursuits, so we wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on hiring challenges and solutions. We know that these challenges and how we overcome them are unique to the individual spouse, so we invited some of our military spouse friends to respond to the following questions:

What employment challenges have you faced as a military spouse?

How have you overcome them?

What advice do you have for spouses like you?

Here’s what they had to say:

Alexanda Juan, Director – USS Kidd, Retired National Guard, and Military Spouse

When we were a dual military couple, I would work nights and he would work days so one of us could be there for the boys. When I got out of the military, I had to find teacher assistant positions or things close to the house that would allow me to be there for our kids since he was active duty. I basically put my career on hold so that my husband could continue to serve and not have to worry about things at home. Honestly though, when the boys were little, the biggest challenge was finding gratifying work that would allow me to have a great deal of flexibility.

I actually started volunteering a lot and meeting great people in our community who could help me manage when my husband was away. I also went back to school so I could eventually find a job that would provide more of an income for our family and open more doors for me to get ahead. That volunteer work led to great friendships and eventually lots of doors opening.

I highly recommend getting involved with your local Family Support Office. I started as coordinator for my unit and learned of all sorts of resources that were available for military families. You don't know what you don't know, but volunteering can help you change that.

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By: Erin Voirol