What goals do you have for yourself? How can you achieve them? What obstacles do you face, and how can you overcome them? These are the questions that can allow YOU as a military spouse to become who YOU want to be and do what YOU want to do.
I married my husband immediately before he shipped for training. His recruiter, upon learning of our decision, advised my husband, “Just make sure she’s not one of those McDonald's wives.” My husband and I had no clue what the recruiter meant. Today, I don’t really know what a McDonald’s wife is. I do know that I’ve thought a fair amount about what it means to be a military spouse.
I’ve figured out that there’s no one way to be a military spouse, and that goes for being a military spouse with a career too.
Be Who You Want to Be: I was young (and pretty naïve) when we started my husband’s military career. Honestly, I never thought that I would give up my career for his. At the time, I had a master’s degree in English, a certificate in Education, and school districts calling me day and night to interview for positions they needed to fill. We selected our first duty station so that I could apply to a PhD program the following academic year and achieve my goal of becoming Dr. Boyle, a goal that I completed six years later.
To this day, I have never given up on my dream or career. I’ve changed my expectations, and I’ve rethought my goals, but given my field, I would have had to do that anyway. The job market for academics is comparable to that of military spouses (double whammy!), and tenure-track jobs are increasingly scarce. But right now, I’m a teacher, a writer, and an editor, all the things I would be if I were a civilian and lucky enough to find a full-time tenure track position.
Do What You Want to Do: While discussing my career with another military spouse, I casually mentioned that I finished my English degree in 2012. She laughingly asked the question that too many English majors face, “What are you going to do with a BA in English?” I corrected her, “It was my PhD, and I imagine I’ll figure it out.”
Too often, we let comments like that dictate what we do and what we dream for ourselves.
As military spouses, we can get frustrated; we can limit our dreams because we believe military spouses have to settle for whatever’s left, whatever’s available.
Maybe getting a PhD as a military spouse was a silly idea, but it was my goal. Having that degree has allowed me to have a successful career so far, and I don’t know what doors it might open in the future.
Bottom line: Don’t let OBSTACLES and ASSUMPTIONS stand in your WAY!
Want to go to school or return to school? Ed Centers, brick and mortar schools, and online classes make almost any educational goal a possibility.
Want to run your own business? You aren’t alone; you’ll find like-minded people at the Military Spouse Business Association.
Looking for a career? Need help figuring out how to reach your professional goals? Well, that’s what MSCCN is for!
As military spouses, we face great struggles, but we also have great opportunities.
Be bright, be brave, be bold…and be you.
Story by Jamie Boyle