Have you all seen this article?
Yesterday it came to my attention on Facebook and I have to say.... it made me really angry. "12 Great Jobs For Military Spouses". As someone who is currently looking for work it definitely caught my eye. Maybe I missed something, maybe there could be tips and hints and advice for lots of women out there in my exact same position.
I was wrong.
The article starts off well. It talks about how compared to the overall public military spouses are more educated. 84 percent of military spouses have some college. Further more 25 percent have a bachelor’s degree and 10 percent have an advanced degree. Those numbers don't even include other marketable skills that require special licenses. 35 percent of military spouses in the workforce are in jobs that require a professional license (which is an initiate that Michelle Obama and Jill Biden are working to allow those spouses to work in all 50 states without transferring licenses every three to five years). In fact 85 percent of spouses are in my exact situation. 85 percent. That number seems disturbingly high to me.
Seeing those numbers made me proud. We are a well educated community with a lot to offer the world. Our spouses being military does make that more difficult, but not impossible. Moving so much does stunt career progress sometimes, you may work for a company that has no representation in your new location, so you have to start over. I can relate.
But then I got pissed.
The twelve great jobs this woman writes about? Insulting. For an educated group of people it seems more like a list for a high schooler looking for their first job. Hell, if the article had a different spin, it may not have annoyed me so much. Maybe if it was "12 Money Making Endeavors for Military Spouses Between Jobs" or "Extra Income Ideas" it may not have annoyed me so much. But for saying how educated we are and what we can achieve.... it boils down to this.
Direct Selling (like Avon or Pampered Chef), Child Care and Babysitting, Selling handcrafted goods online (Etsy), Tutoring and Substitute Teaching, Errand Runner, Catering and/or Cake Making, Pet Services, Gift Basket Creator, Personal Trainer, Administrative Assistant, IT Specialist and Tax Preparer.
Those are the 12 great jobs?? Now, some are fine, even terrific careers. I know plenty of spouses who do direct selling or have amazing Etsy shops. If you love numbers a tax preparer is great. If you want to teach, it is a good choice. But gift basket preparer??? Errand runner??? For being as ambitious and educated as you make us sound that is honestly the best you can come up with? THAT is where it gets insulting. And the descriptions... oh man. I have been talking to Ryan about going back to school for culinary arts, more specifically a pastry chef. I have taken cake decorating courses and I love to bake, it is something I have been toying with, but the description from the article made my blood boil.
"Those hours spent watching the Food Network might be the genesis of a money-making plan. If you have great culinary chops, try catering parties or backyard cookouts, selling homemade baked goods or offer your services as a personal chef. A course in cake decoration, candy making, and baking from a community college or gourmet food shop can boost your presentation skills."
I spend hours spent watching the Food Network?? In between keeping the house clean, taking care of the dog, grocery shopping, maintaining the cars, the yard, laundry, cooking dinner (and baked goods for Ryan to take to work), blogging, writing articles for SpouseBUZZ and applying for jobs I spend hours watching TV???? Most days the TV isn't even turned on in our house until after dinner when we sit on the couch and watch Doctor Who on Netflix together. And just because you watch the Food Network does not make you a chef. People go to school for years to do that. Yes, home based businesses can grow from talented individuals, but the way that the article says it anyone can turn a TV show into a career.
And I am so glad I went to college for four years to be a babysitter. Because that is all my bachelor's degree can get me. I worked my butt off in college for four years. Yes, my concentration was theatre, but I have a BA. I took all sorts of liberal arts classes.... math, science, philosophy, religion, Spanish, psychology and anthropology to name a few. I had a full course load of classes (and homework and studying) plus I would be at the theatre five hours a night during the week and all day Saturday. And I worked in the scene shop in the theatre part time so I could make money. Full course load, rehearsals and a job.
And I can babysit.
The article is from The Jacksonville Daily News. Jacksonville, a huge military town, has the nerve to publish something so backwards from 1960? You are a major paper in a military town. You claim spouses are these educated people and we can run errands. Insulting. How do you think people would react if this was an article directed at women in general? Civilians?
Yes, my husband's job makes me move.... but I shouldn't have to be a secretary until I retire. We are worth more than entry level jobs for the rest of our spouses' military careers. We support our spouse and they support us. Our dreams, aspirations and goals may be harder to obtain, but not impossible. I will stand by my husband's side and do what I can to help him and his career... and I know he will do the same for me wherever he can. The military has given us so much, sometimes is really sucks (deployments, field ops, PCSing as soon as you feel 'settled') but that is the life we choose to live. But gosh darn it I can have a career too. I can support my husband, hep keep up a house, a dog (someday kids) and still pursue what makes me happy. We all can.
We are worth more.