As a military spouse, it can feel overwhelming to try to have a career of your own, and even then, its tough to find one you want that meshes well with the military lifestyle.
Recently I came across an article We Are The Mighty syndicated a few years ago: The 10 coolest jobs for military spouses. The list was filled with things like "be a babysitter!" and "be a dog groomer!" among other things.
I understood the premise behind the article: careers that are mobile. But overall, it was a list of starter jobs that — when you're in your mid 30s and trying to have a serious career — don't exactly scream "I am a professional!"
Adulting is hard, but it's even harder when you're constantly moving, constantly having to search for a new job, and constantly juggling the responsibilities of parenthood and spousehood and...you get the point.
This made me wonder if typical spouses generally just settle into jobs like babysitting and dog grooming and selling mascara, so I went to a group of military spouses who've managed to have successful careers and successful marriages, and I asked them to tell me what they do.
The following careers are all careers that current and former Military Spouses of the Year have, and it just goes to show that being a military spouse does not have to mean you're doomed to sell makeup or babysit for the rest of your service member's career (that is, if you don't want to).
*Note: there isn't anything wrong with direct sales. In fact, I've done direct sales, and a lot of spouses do, because it is extremely mobile. The purpose of this list is to think outside of the "military spouse" box.
- Brittany Boccher owns an apparel company called Mason Chix
- Lakesha Cole owns a brick and mortar children's boutique called SheSwank in Jacksonville, NC
- Valerie Billau founded a kids consignment shop, which she sold after three years when her husband took orders elsewhere
- Melissa Nauss owns Stars and Stripes Doulas
- Andrea Barreiro is an agent for professional athletes.
- Heather Smith is a tennis coach.
- Ellie OB coached college basketball for 12 years
Physical and Mental Health care:
- Lisa Uzzle is the director of healthcare operations at a medical facility
- Melissa Nauss is a certified doula
- Alexandra Eva is a nurse practitioner who hosts clinics in rural areas of third world countries that don't have much access to medical care. She has worked in Uganda, South Sudan, DRC, and Mozambique, among others
- Paula Barrette is a licensed optometrist, though due to the difference in each state's current licensing laws, she often finds herself volunteering as an optometrist at military clinics rather than getting paid
- Dr. Ingred Herrera-Yee is a clinical psychologist for the Department of Defense, and the founder of a network for military spouses in the mental health field
- Amber Rose Odom works as an administrator in a dental office
- Michelle Lemieux is a registered nurse for adolescent psychiatry
- Zinnia Narvaez is a medical assistant, and practices OB/GYN at a community health center
- Stephanie Geraghty became a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) in order to provide better care for her son, who has special needs. In some states, the state will pay for up to a certain number of hours per day of in home nursing care, and in Geraghty's state, immediate family members qualify to provide the care. Geraghty put herself through the schooling and passed the board, and now officially works for her son
- Anna Blanch Rabe is the CEO of a communications company that specializes in service non-profit organizations with high quality communications content, strategic planning, and business advice. She started her professional career as an attorney, but current licensing issues prevent her from practicing in most states her service member gets orders to
- Erica McMannes is the CEO of an outsourcing and virtual staffing agency for military spouses
- Amy Hanson is the executive assistant to the Vice President of a "billion dollar company"
- Lisa Wantuck is the Director of National Sales for an IT staffing company
- Elizabeth Groover is an executive management specialist for a chemical and biological firm
- Kori Yates and Cassandra Bratcher founded non-profit organizations that involve military spouses
- Maria Mola is the development director for a non-profit that focuses on providing 24 month transitional housing for homeless veterans and families and formerly incarcerated veterans
- Erin Ensley, along with her daughter, make and send teddy bears for the Epilepsy Foundation
- Amy Scick is the Director of Community Relations for a non-profit that focuses on military spouse employment
- Leslie Brians is a graphic designer and creative director for a military spouse focuses non-profit
- Mindy Patterson works with an agency that is addressing the need for assisted living for people who don't qualify for it through other various government programs
- Jessica Del Pizzo is an account manager for a cyber security firm
- Alex Brown works in cybersecurity, and notes that analysts, remote support, network security design, consultants, and even administrative database managers are excellent remote positions, and with the need for cybersecurity specialists, most places are willing to work with remote employees
Education and child focused:
- Jennifer Delacruz is a special education teacher, who also writes children's books about special education
- Elizabeth Lowe is a personal in home one-to-one therapy caregiver to a child with severe special needs
- Brittany Raines is in foster parenting licensing
- Rebekah Speck is a "parent navigator" for a state run program that provides families of disabled children with an advocate to help them address things like IEPs, etc
- Courtney Lynn is a 3rd grade teacher
- Christina Laycock is an accountant
- Stacy Faris is a business administrator
- Grace Sanchez is a bookkeeper
- Kelli Kraehmer is an account manager for a large wireless company
- Kennita Williams is a legal aid for a DoD Staff Judge Advocate
- Ashley Ella is an agricultural appraiser
- Hannah Weatherford is a braille transcriptionist
Independent Consulting and Freelance:
- Loree Bee is a life coach
- April Alan is a freelance writer and independent blogger
- Susan Reynolds insists her official title is "badass". She is an advocate, a freelance writer, and the hostess of SpouseSpouts
- Tara Glenn is a freelance writer when she's not working for the Navy
- Tesha Jackson and her children paint, sew, crochet, and knit — among other things — and they sell those projects through Jackson's website
- Ann Woyma is a veterinarian
- Kelly Stillwagon is a paranormal investigator, and when she and her husband are stateside, they run classes on how to become investigators
- Brian Alvarado is a real estate executive, and the Vice President of Marketing for a real estate brokerage in San Diego
- Hope Griffin is a pastor, and an author of Christian books
- Vivian Vralstad is a medical writer for a pharmaceutical company, but she began her STEM career as a neuroscientist