Dear Mrs. Molinari,
Thank you for your completed application. However, the work experiences you listed in section C were all prior to 1996. Without work experience from the last five years, I will not be able to offer you employment with our company.
Best of luck,Ms. Julie Robinson, Employment Manager
Wait, what? No WORK experience? Seriously? Ms. Robinson, do you have any idea what I’ve been doing the last 19 years as a military spouse?
Have you ever lived in 7 states and two foreign countries? I have. Have you ever completed the complicated paperwork necessary to file two successful Household Goods Claims? I have. Have you ever flown Space A as an unaccompanied dependent without getting stranded at Wright-Pat Air Force Base for three days? I have.
Have you ever moved three children, a 110-pound dog, two hermit crabs, a car and 15,000 pounds of household goods to a foreign country while your spouse was gone and you were suffering from a lingering sinus infection? I have. Have you ever read a set of military orders and understood them? I have. Well, sort of.
The point is, Ms. Robinson, that anyone who has ever lived military life has “work experience,” no matter whether he or she has an employer or stays at home to manage the family. In fact, ask any military spouse which she’d rather do — spend a day working in an office, or find another new gynecologist after her umpteenth PCS move – and I’ll bet she’d be running for her briefcase.
Despite its rewards, military life is hard work, and military spouses must necessarily be resourceful, resilient, frugal, independent, and mentally stable (most of the time, anyway.) Military spouses have to be multi-taskers, interpreters, accountants, decision-makers, entertainers, short-order cooks, mechanics, coaches, gardeners, mothers and fathers all rolled into one.
Many, like me, have professional careers that had to be put on the back burner so that we could support our active duty spouses and supervise our families through deployments and multiple moves. Other military spouses have managed to find employment after each move, but they are usually at a major disadvantage, starting each new job back at the bottom of the ladder, or having to apply for costly additional licensing in each new state.
What’s that you say, Ms. Robinson? Being a military spouse doesn’t qualify as “work experience?” Let me put it to you this way: If you have something that needs to be done, ask a military spouse to do it. I promise, you’ll be surprised by what we can do.
Coo, coo, ca-choo.
The October issue of Military Spouse Magazine is out! Check out my column “What drives us CRAZY! — I give and I give, but what do I get?”