Monthly Archives: October 2020

On-base Job Opportunities Abound for Military Spouses

Now that you’ve decided whether you want to pursue a job or a career, your next decision is whether to work on base or off base. Opportunities abound for on-base jobs. And many have spouse preference when it comes to hiring.

Mrs. Tech Sergeant is the director at her base Child Development Center

The Military Spouse Preference program makes it easier for spouses of military members to get federal jobs. It can also help reduce the interruption of a career because of a PCS. Mrs. Tech Sergeant has worked in the Child Development Center field since she graduated from college. When she and Tech Sergeant moved from Alaska to England, she was able to get a job in the CDC in England. As a Government Schedule (GS) worker, she had a year to find a job in the same GS rank she currently held. That was okay because she was pregnant with Tony B at the time they moved. After Tony B was born, she took a job in the system in the base Youth Center. Then, when an equivalent position opened up in the CDC she moved over to that position. The MSP does not guarantee a job when you move, but it does put you on top of the list when a position does open. For more information on spouse preference go to www.sandboxx.us

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) or the Navy Exchange is another place to look for employment on your local base, especially if you want a job in retail. AAFES offers all kinds of jobs from hourly workers all the way through management and corporate positions. They use the Associate Transfer Program to help you find a job at your next duty station if you meet the requirements of PSCing with your sponsor, worked for the Exchange for at least six months, and get a satisfactory or higher rating on your performance review. I’ve known several military spouses who have moved up in this system to become managers. Also, since Exchanges are throughout the world, jobs are available overseas as well. Talk about portability.

The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) employs more than 18,000 civilians in 14 countries. DeCA jobs include baggers (who work for tips), cashiers, stockers (often hired by an outside company to stock shelves), and a variety of other jobs. Again, another source to gain experience in retail if that is what you are looking for. Jobs are listed on USAJOBS.

And don’t forget the Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) jobs on base. NAF jobs are different from civil service or government schedule jobs because they are paid out of funds raised through services on base. For example, money taken in from the clubs on base, Outdoor Recreation, etc. go to pay the salaries of NAF employees. NAF jobs include clerical, administrative support, managerial, laborers, crafts, and trades. Applications for these jobs are accepted on a regular basis through the NAF office on base, so put your application in and then wait.

The Civilian Personnel Advisory Center (CPAC) recruits workers from “every profession imaginable” for jobs in support of the mission of the military. Most, if not all, bases have a CPAC. It acts as the human resources department. For example, when Mrs. Tech Sergeant needs to fill a position, she contacts CPAC and they send her qualified people. She then hires the person she wants for the job. It is a good idea to contact your local CPAC to see what they can do for you.

To search and apply for most of these jobs, you go through USAJOBS. It can take a very long time to hear back from USAJobs, so if you know you are going to a particular location, you might want to search the website in advance of your move. In the meantime, federal jobs are open to anyone from no high school diploma to doctorate degrees and everyone in between. You will fill out a profile, upload a resume, and put down what types of jobs you are interested in. I saw a job on USAJOBS for a job in my hometown in Central Illinois. It truly is the clearing house for jobs on base.

 Local jobs are available for military spouses. You just need to determine what you are looking for, find the necessary resources and go for it.

Until next time,

Vicki

Job or Career: What Military Spouses Should Know

When the Good Chaplain went on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, I had a decision to make. I was the city editor for a local paper. I’d been working on newspapers for the last 10 years, and it was something I loved. But, I also knew our new lifestyle would include frequent moves, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be bogged down working full-time.

Luckily, my job was portable, and I ended up becoming a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines nationwide. Sadly, we did not need my income to survive. His salary as a beginning captain was what the two of us were making combined in the civilian world.

As your spouse enters his military career or continues if you married someone already in the military, chances are you will have to make the same decision. Do you want to work outside of the house, work from home, or not work at all? And the biggest question to ask yourself is, do you want a job or a career?

That question is key to the job search. Some careers lend themselves better to the military lifestyle. Teaching and nursing are two that come to mind. But keep in mind, it can be like starting all over again when you move to a new market. I’ve known many teachers who have to start as a first-year teacher each time they move. That sucks.

Making the decision of whether to pursue a career or a job depends on several factors.

  1. What is the area job market like? Is it saturated in your career field? What kind of professional positions are open? Is the area depressed with a high unemployment rate? Do some research before you even move to the area. I contacted the newspaper in Minot, North Dakota before we even left Alaska, and the editor called me while we were packing out, so I knew I had a job in my career field when I got there.
  2. If you are pursuing a professional position, do you have the necessary certifications? The military just made it a little easier for some professionals to move around with new reciprocal certification rules. Under the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, the service branches can reimburse spouses up to $1,000 for any re-licensing or certification costs because of a military move. Check with your branch to see what it does. Also, many states are using license portability for military spouses. This action helps make the licensing and certification go quicker. For more information on state-sponsored reciprocal agreements, click here. The site provides a map of which states are involved in the agreement and finding information on your profession.

Finding the right job is not always easy for military spouses, but using the tools I gave you last week and the information from today, it can be accomplished.

Next week I will talk about whether you want a job on base or off.

Until then,

Vicki

Share your experiences trying to transfer licenses or certificates in the comments below.

8 Sources for a Military Spouse’s Job Hunt

You want a job, or maybe a career, but it is hard to get established as a military spouse because of frequent moves. Don’t get discouraged. Plenty of jobs are out there if you know where to look.

In today’s post, because I am no expert on the military spouse job hunt, I am going to refer you to some other sites that do a good job of helping you land that dream job, or get the training necessary for that job.

Helpful Websites to Read

Military spouses should all have the Military OneSource website saved as the go-to site for everything military. On this website, you can find help with taxes, financial and legal help, of course, education and employment, as well as a wealth of other topics about military life. Make sure you check it out.

Under the tab, Spouse & Family, on Military.com, are links to military spouse jobs, among other topics. Also, on Military.com, you can select the service branch you which you want information. Click the link above to visit this site.

CareerStep has a section on career training for military, veterans, and their spouses with several programs eligible for financial assistance through My Career Advancement Account (MyCAA). CareerStep offers online training to suit the needs of the military lifestyle. A link to MyCAA is available through Military OneSource.

Check out what the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network can do for you during your job hunt. In addition to an impressive array of national corporations that hire military spouses, the network matches you to hiring managers looking for your qualifications. They also provide skills training, readiness training, and resume preparation.

Most of us have heard of Monster.com, but did you know they advise careers and job searches? The link above takes you to an article about the best companies for military spouses. While you are on the site, look at some of the other help it can give you.

Helpful Books to Peruse

The Stars Are Lined Up for Military Spouses: For Federal Careers (Ten Steps to a Federal Job) 

Advancing the Careers of Military Spouses: An Assessment of Education and Employment Goals and Barriers Facing Military Spouses Eligible for MyCaa

Mobile Military Spouse: Make Money From Home with Print on Demand Products Merch by Amazon & Kindle Direct Publishing (Military Spouse Entrepreneurs)

By exploring which companies are most friendly to military spouses and using tools available through these and many more websites and publications, you should begin to decide what kind of work you want to do.

Next week I will discuss whether you are looking for a job or a career.

Until then,

Vicki

Do you have any experience with job hunting as a military spouse? Share them and any tips you have to offer in the comments below.

The Challenges of Raising Military Kids

Raising a family in the military can be a two-edged sword. Yes, your children are still children, but they are also part of a community where they may have to grow up a little faster.

More is expected of military children than most children in the civilian world. Generally, there are always exceptions to the rule; military children are better behaved and more polite than most children. They learn early on how to listen to their elders and interact with all sorts of people.

Changing schools — often

Photo by Arthur Krijgsman on Pexels.com

The girls’ school at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, was run by the Department of Defense. Only one other Air Force Base elementary school in the Continental U.S. was a DOD school. Teaching at such a school was a prime job, and many of the teachers stayed their whole careers at these schools. I think the pay was higher, but parents also played a role in their child’s education.

Many bases we lived at had elementary schools, but they were run by the local school district. Even then, teachers sought out jobs on base. One teacher told me she loved teaching military children because they were nicer than kids in the other district schools.

Moving around the world

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Other aspects of growing up military are not so positive. Our children moved eight times with us, so they went to several different schools. Our girls went to three different elementary schools on the same base.

Moving can be stressful for children who have to leave their friends and possibly extended family. Children are resilient and tend to make new friends faster than their parents, but it is still hard. As a parent, you can help your child through this transition by listening to what they say and don’t say. Pay attention to cues they might not be adjusting. Be encouraging but not pushy. If your child doesn’t want to play soccer, don’t force them. Offer several activities they may enjoy and let them choose.

A good way to transition to a new location is to read up on the location. Find out what the base and the local town, or even state, have to offer. Let each child pick something they want to do to explore their new surroundings. Help them get excited about trying new things that are particular to that area. And be excited about the area yourself. We looked forward to moves because of the adventures each held for us.

Those deployment blues

Deployments are also tricky. Children miss their deployed parent and they react in different ways. Some act out at home and in public, others withdraw and don’t express their sadness. Setting a routine quickly is crucial.

Whenever the Good Chaplain deployed, we had a chick-flick night, where we would put on our pajamas, watch movies, and sleep in the living room on the first Friday he was gone.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Planning special outings, like a drive-in movie or a trip to the swimming pool, help give the kids something to look forward to. Also, having a system to count down the days until the parent comes home is helpful. One friend put Hershey Kisses in a jar to represent the number of days of the deployment. Her son got one Kiss a day, and when the jar was empty, that was the day Daddy would come home. When the return date got pushed back, she simply added more kisses to the jar. I think that only works on younger kids.

Positives of being a military kid

But on a positive note, nuclear military families seem closer to each other in part because of all the moves. We turned moves into vacations and stopped in interesting places. Plus, being twins, our girls always had each other to lean on whenever they experienced something new. But it does seem generally military children are closer to their siblings and their parents.

Military children also get to live in places other kids can only dream about. They meet people from all over the world, and their friends are of all races, colors, and ethnicities. And no one bats an eye.

Kids get to do new things like dogsledding in Alaska, snorkeling in Hawaii, or traveling through three countries to get to school every day, as Tech Sergeant had to do when his family lived in Belgium. Some people never leave their home state.

Mrs. Tech Sergeant dogsledding in Fairbanks, AK

Raising kids in the military opens up more opportunities to shine. It builds confidence. It builds character. It shows the children how adaptable and strong they are in new situations. If they decide to live a different lifestyle in adulthood than a military one, they can. Illinois Girl chose to plant roots. Mrs. Tech Sergeant chose to marry the military and continue to live this particular adventure.

Next up I will be talking about careers for the military spouse.

Until then,

Vicki

What things have worked for you in raising your military kids? Reply in the comments below.