Interesting topic, and I do have some experience with this.
After Ryan and I moved to Japan as newlyweds we weren't really sure what life would be like. I was still working on a degree and taking classes online. With all the major life changes I had just gone through I fell into a funk, got depressed, and spent a lot of time eating and watching movies alone at home. Ryan was (lovingly) fed up and basically told me to stop moping around and get a job and DO SOMETHING!
So I did.
For awhile I taught English at home to a few students. Although it was fun, it was also limiting and not everybody was consistent. Getting approximately $20 for an hour of conversation and reading assistance isn't bad though.
|Kayoko, my student, with me and Ryan at Hard Rock Café Tokyo in Roppongi.|
Then I branched out and started looking at what jobs I could get on base. Some stuff I wasn't interested in or the pay was crap. But I did get spousal preference when applying for positions.
Through NAF I got a job working at the base's Pet Boarding Facility. There were aspects I loved about my job: wearing scrubs to work every day, spending time with animals, chatting with co-workers, helping find homes for pets. But there was also plenty that wasn't so great: a facility that should have condemned, same sad story for quarantine pets not living with their families, sending feral cats to be euthanized, cockroaches, no A/C during the summer, and lack of heat in the winter.
|the cat room|
|Happy work day... right?|
Also? I was low man on the totem pole and basically had to work every weekend and holiday since living animals still have to be cared for regardless of the day. I wasn't considered Full Time so I didn't get vacations or benefits and things like that. Oh... and it was always split shifts. Though I did use that break to go to the gym all the time.
After a final run-in with another employee and being fed up with my schedule with no chance of advancement for a couple years, I began looking for a new position. Hopefully one that would allow me to spend more time with my husband on days he had off.
A supervisor position opened up with the base movie theater through AAFES. The pay was better and I had the ability to move to a full time position... so I took it.
Stress. Yes, I traded a fairly laid back, dirty job with crappy hours for a stressful, in your face responsible position, dealing with druggy teens, rude people, strange demands, and not seeing my husband in the evenings.
Some things were good and I was able to assist in making some great improvements and implement better managing but in the end I got burned and thankfully had already put in my 2 weeks notice before all hell broke loose.
During all this time I was still taking classes. It was slow going, but I was slogging through them with high marks.
I took my last job working at the GNC store. Again, another laid back job. And the pay was miniscule. Not long after being there Ryan and I discovered I was pregnant. Then a really creepy guy was hired and I was getting blamed for his lack of work. At that point I just decided to call it quits and focus on school, taking on extra classes so I could graduate before the baby was born.
And that's what I did. A couple weeks after Will's birth I finished my finals and earned my Bachelor's Degree in Paralegal Studies with an emphasis in Alternative Dispute Resolution. I graduated Summa Cum Laude.
|William (5 months old) with me at my graduation in Chicago|
I had chosen that degree so I could hopefully access and use it during the transient life Ryan and I would be living with the military. But after having one child and then another I feel that my job is to take care of the home and raise my children.
Occasionally I might make some money by selling a craft and even seriously entertained the idea of opening an Etsy shop. In the end I discovered the time I have to spend actually doing that isn't always the best way to spend my time.
So that's MY work experience as a military spouse. A couple base jobs in my early 20's and now I'm the mommy to 2 great kids. I still volunteer where I can and am active in groups on base but I don't get paid anymore. Maybe I'll find something in the future. Perhaps some freelance work in the legal field? Anybody got any connections?