Military Spouses Thrive in Virtual Employment
by Leigh Searl - May 12th, 2022
Military spouses are a unique subset of American culture. They move more often than the average civilian, facing challenges the average person does not have to face. The distinctive characteristics of a military life are what make military spouses the most resilient, hardworking and dedicated people you’ll ever meet. Yet, their unemployment rate is three times that of their civilian counterparts.
This high unemployment rate for military spouses is directly attributed to the nomadic military lifestyle. But it doesn’t mean military spouses can’t have a professional career alongside their active duty spouse. With the recent explosion of working virtually, it just takes a little know-how, creativity, and tenacity for military spouses to find meaningful work.
How military spouses can get started in a virtual career
Finding virtual employment is not as easy as it sounds. First of all, there are many “work from home” scams out there, asking you to invest money or to provide your personal information. They say things such as, “You can make $5,000/month just by taking a survey!” These ploys are a waste of your valuable time and will only make you more frustrated in your job search.
As you begin your job search, be sure to visit reputable websites where employers know serious job seekers look to find employment. Check out sites where employers have pay to post a position or those websites that cater to remote jobs like Indeed.com, ZipRecruiter.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com or FlexJobs.com.
When searching for a virtual job:
1. In the “What” search box section, search for jobs that are remote, virtual or telework. These keywords will narrow down your search and pull virtual jobs for you to view. Searching remote or virtual in the location search box doesn’t always provide a quality search, which can leave you confused or empty-handed.
2. Telework jobs generally require the employee to travel to certain locations or an office setting on a recurring basis. There will be times when you as the employee would be required to visit a physical office location, which may require a drive or flight to the destination. Not a deal breaker, but worth noting before you take the job.
3. Pay particular attention to the language of the job posting, since some jobs require travel within a specific territory. While this is advertised as a remote job, you are still required to live in a particular area, which can be problematic for military spouses.
4. Some fields offer remote work more frequently than others. Human Resources and IT are some of the most common industries advertising virtual positions. Focusing your education and experience in these fields could provide you with an incredibly successful and rewarding remote career.
What does it take to be successful in a virtual career?
Having a virtual career is different than having a traditional office job. First, and most importantly, you have to be comfortable working alone. Virtual employment can be pretty quiet. If you are comfortable in this setting, then it can be a welcome opportunity.
Second, be honest and self-assess whether or not you are a procrastinator. This personality type will struggle in a virtual setting because it’s very easy to get distracted. Due to the fact there is no direct supervision, you have to know yourself and your abilities to focus. You have to be a highly organized, focused and diligent person to be successful in a virtual career.
Finally, you have to be dependable. Employers that hire virtual employees are entrusting you with a great deal of responsibility. So, it is important to understand there is a heightened level of trust involved and to treat that trust with the utmost respect.
For more info about the milspouse job search after a PCS, read this article.
Pitfalls of virtual employment that military spouses should avoid
Go after jobs that you are passionate about, jobs that excite you. Employers are looking for virtual employees who want to be part of their team, not just an employee. This is even more important as a virtual employee. It’s similar to the camaraderie of service members in a unit. If a soldier doesn’t want to be a part of the unit, the unit suffers. Avoid the trap of just “getting a job to get a job” because neither you nor your employer will be happy.
During your job search, dig deep and determine what you really want to do with your career and go after it. In doing so, you will be far more rewarded both personally and professionally. In turn, the employer will realize greater productivity. Virtual employment is a fairly new trend. Not all companies advertise these opportunities, but they are out there.
If you have a traditional job and are about to PCS, ask your employer about continuing to work remotely. Finding and having a virtual career can be a great solution to military spouse unemployment. Regardless of where the military sends us, we can continue to pursue our own virtual careers.
Pay it forward to military families moving into your neighborhood by leaving a review at PCSgrades.