Friday, February 29, 2008

Where Do I Go From Here?

When one becomes the spouse of a Coast Guardsman, it requires giving up some of the basic freedoms of "civilians". Oh, sure, we get to travel the country, see new things, meet new people, experience what makes this country what it is, but there are also other things we don't get to do. Work, for example.

Lainy described much better than I ever could, the struggles we have in finding a job, much less a career. Think they're the same? Think again. A job is something I do to make money (IMO), whereas a career...well, it's where I have a drive to go further in the field and go as far as my being will allow - breaking down glass ceilings and such.

Those glass breaking opportunities don't come around very often when you are in this lifestyle. There are always exceptions to the rule, don't get me wrong, but more often than not, we are pigeon-holed into low paying, limited advancement "opportunities" (I use that word very lightly). I know some extremely successful business women who also happen to be CG wives, and they have worked - and continue to work - very hard to get where they are and they deserve every bit of it. This is for the rest of us - myself included.

So, what can one do to get out of this rut? Every person must look at their own situation and make a plan to get where they are going.
  • If you are in a place that you just can't seem to find anything, how about work on furthering your education or using your degree to become an adjunct professor at a local community college. I've found that many local colleges love the "outsiders" to come in and teach, because they bring with them fresh ideas and experiences.
  • Discover another field you are interested in - it could be closely related to your current field or something entirely new that you've always wondered "what if" - and pursue it. What better time is there?
  • Try to find a need in the community that is not currently being met and create a plan to meet that need. It could be a new business or a new non-profit organization.
  • And since I brought up non-profits, volunteer! There are so many wonderful opportunities and you could use your expertise to aid in the development and betterment of the community - in turn giving yourself another line or three on your resume while also fulfilling your own needs and desires.
I write this not only for those that are soon to PCS, but also for those that feel the need for something new. Something more. Just something. Anything. For those who have no desire to work outside the home, this is also for you. It's important to have something for you, whether its a hobby or time out with friends, but there is something out there for you, you just have to find it and make it work for you.


Julie & Captain said...

Thanks for the ideas - job searching/career pursuing is one of the most difficult aspects of being a Coastie wife.

Oh, and just to introduce myself, my name is Julie and I'm a Coastie wife. I love reading your blog :)

Flo said...

You made a really great designation between the "job vs. career" conundrum. Even though I've got a stable job in a good industry, I've kept my options open for future job options because I know that not every newspaper will have job openings available. I'm flexible enough that I don't mind changing careers, either. :) Great post!

Just a Girl in a Port said...

Fantastic explanation. I've found that some spouses are more apt to give up because their spouse is staying in for the long haul. This is such a sad thing.

Being a Coast Guard spouse just requires that you be resourceful, flexible (thanks Flo), and driven.

Christina Cope Anderson said...

Carpe Diem. Exploring new options, expanding your resume, and seeking new adventures in a new home that does not offer your exact subject matter expertise is exactly what I would recommend. The world has so much to offer: the various cultures, nearby attractions and wonders, the new faces and personalities, the new challenges, etc. Forget knocking: pry that door open!