Many military spouses struggle to find their footing in the labour market for many peculiar reasons. The main reason for this is the constant absenteeism of their partners, forcing them to bear the entire family and parenting burdens alone. Another notable reason, especially for spouses who accompany their spouses whenever/wherever they relocate, is their inability to commit to regular 9-to-5 jobs. Others get their licenses invalidated whenever they move away from the states/counties that gave them their professional credentials. And for those who get married before completing college, their chances of advancing their studies after marriage borders on impossibility. The saddest of all reasons is that many employers are unwilling to recruit military spouses for the fear of “high employee turnover”.
Don’t be discouraged, though. If you are looking for work to either support your family financially, to keep yourself busy, or to maintain your existing professional skills, this article is for you. Let us help you figure out your next career steps as a military spouse in the United Kingdom.
Leverage the Benefits of Online Courses for Military Spouses
All you need to pursue an online course is a laptop and a reliable internet connection. There are many opportunities that you can find online, BFBS Academy (SMS Spouses) is an online and free program made especially for the spouses and partners of full time HM forces personnel. You don’t even need to break the bank for it because this program is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust. Any military spouse willing to advance their skills and career, in many various career fields, can apply for their programs. What’s more, with online learning, you don’t have to discontinue your studies every time you relocate or get a new baby.
Online Jobs for Military Spouses to Build a Career Virtually
Now that you have the needed skills for your dream career, go ahead and apply for a job that accommodates your flexible working needs. Virtual jobs allow you to literally move with your work, work from coworking spaces, and they can be as good-paying as any in-office jobs you can think of. Companies that offer such job opportunities to military spouses include:
VIPKid: This Beijing-based company employs qualified teachers, especially from native English-speaking countries such as the UK, to virtually teach English to Chinese kids.
Amazon: You probably have shopped with Amazon at least once in your life. What you probably didn’t know is that Amazon can hire you as a virtual customer service agent if you have the skills and experience to work in sales.
Disney: They can hire you to answer emails, calls, social media messages and to basically be dealing with customer queries from the comfort of your home.
Aetna Inc.: This Connecticut-based healthcare company has telework opportunities for professionals such as nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and psychiatrists, among other medicine-related fields.
Entrepreneurship for Military Spouses
For military spouses who want to make money but aren’t really into going back to school, or getting employed for that matter, venturing into entrepreneurship would be their best bet. It is, however, worth noting that starting a business from scratch, getting it up the success ladder, and maintaining it at the top level can be really tedious for spouses with huge family obligations. That is why it is important to choose a niche and business model that best suits the military lifestyle. You know, a business that won’t collapse when it’s time to relocate and that doesn’t require too much of your time.
Food business, for example, would be a great idea especially for spouses who live within military bases. While at it, be sure to take advantage of the available resources for military entrepreneurs especially when sourcing for business advice and funding. In the UK, for example, you should research for financial support given from different organizations or government’s funding support for new businesses such as applying for a Start Up Loan.
Virtual volunteering would work best for military spouses who need to maintain their skills and grow their professional acumen without primarily needing to make money from it. That would mostly be spouses to senior military officers who don’t have huge parenting burdens and whose families are quite stable financially.
Do you need viable volunteering ideas? Well, you can start by volunteering to help injured troops through their recovery and rehabilitation. You can even take on the challenge of giving moral support to military families in distress. If you want to support the Armed Forces community directly you can join SSAFA as a volunteer. If that is too tall an order for you, you can start writing inspirational material to help the youth or to share your expertise with young professionals who might need it.
Evidently, the challenges of “the military lifestyle” should never be a reason to hinder you from chasing your dream job. Take the most out of the discussed opportunities to keep your professional life moving. The most important thing is to understand who you are, identify what your career goals are, and then put in the required work towards your dream.
About the author: Sana is an expert in education coaching who focuses on helping students entering undergraduate programs. She is an enthusiastic contributor eager to promote personal growth through sharing their expertise with others. Sana has extensive expertise in advising students on their route to making big academic and life decisions and those who are preparing for undergraduate studies, by integrating numerous methodologies and tips that bring the best results.