MSEJ May 2016 - Page 13

Did you know that CASY has a

recruiter connect program?

Chris Pape, Founder-Macho Spouse, Active Duty Military Spouse

As a military spouse I've faced many employment challenges, but easily the most prominent has been finding meaningful work within my career field after every few years. People often ask if deployments have been the hardest part of being married to

the military, and I always say, “no.” As many of your readers already understand, gaining quality employment is one of the most stressful, gut-wrenching experiences any career-minded person faces. As a military spouse who PCS's every few years, I get to live this horror often. I would then say that keeping my career on a positive, upwardly moving trajectory has been the second most difficult task as a military spouse. Once I find work, it's a race to gain the respect and trust from co-workers, while accomplishing as much as possible before having to quit and move on. It really sucks.

How have I overcome these challenges? Well, with a lot of hard work and perseverance. I know it sounds cliché and a bit corny, but it's true. I've kept my head down and just gone to work. I've swallowed my pride, understood a new reality, and tried to make adjustments on the fly. I've “punted” a lot over the last 12 years, meaning I've taken one or two steps

back to move one or two steps forward just to keep myself in the game. Maybe it worked, maybe I could've accomplished a lot more...who knows really.

The advice I have for fellow career-minded spouses is to be flexible and think creatively when it comes to your career. Our realities and career arches are different from our civilian counterparts, embrace that difference and don't ever quit tackling those challenges. If you're new to this military lifestyle and aren't tied down to any one career, think about building a career that allows you to move from one location to another without interruption. Think about work from home opportunities. Think

about how you can create your own opportunities and then act on them.

That's what I did with Macho Spouse. I birthed that idea because I couldn't find work in South Carolina. Be different, determined and confident that you can contribute to your community, whether through volunteer opportunities or starting your own business. (continued on page 15)

Be flexible and think creatively when it comes to your career. Our realities and career arches are different from our civilian counterparts, embrace that difference and don't ever quit tackling those challenges.