This post was originally posted on LinkedIn Pulse in 2015. Unfortunately, many of the employment challenges discussed have yet to be effectively alleviated within the military community. It’s my hope that through continued advocacy and awareness, military spouses and caregivers will be economically valued and no longer discriminated against in the competitive job market.
Did you know that a sector of the military community is 90% jobless or underemployed?
Did you know this sector earns 38% less than their civilian counterparts?
Did you know that even those with doctorate experience unemployment of 15.56%?
Meet the Military Spouse: a dedicated individual that pledges loyalty and devotion to the brave men and women in uniform. The military spouse commits to frequent relocation, spouse absence for months to years at a time, foregoing professional opportunities that conflict with service demands, and is often left to pick up the pieces where subpar government programs leave off.
Technology dominates our lives.
Almost every job involves staring at a screen of some type – whether you’re planting a field of corn from a John Deere tractor or processing patient intakes at an area hospital, we’re all spending a considerable amount of our day on some technological device.
Despite our culture’s increasing reliance on tech-based innovations, the average user knows little to nothing of how such programs are run and are unable to describe even the basic of computer-driven functions.
The job outlook within the technology sector continues to increase (no surprise there), with many of these positions requiring little more than an online certificate and some project experience. For those with industry experience, like Front End Developers, opportunities routinely compensate six figures, with many of these offering remote working environments.
Few professional communities experience the un- and underemployment rates of today’s military spouses and caregivers.
At present, over 90 percent of military spouses are un-/underemployed, earning a mere fraction of what their civilian counterparts are able to bring in.
As a recently transitioned military spouse, I can attest that the job outlook doesn’t exactly improve when your family moves into the veteran community, especially if you’re tasked with post-war caregiving.
Such realities are the unfortunate plight of many members of the current military community. Some studies cite the ever-growing civilian-military divide, others blame poorly constructed workplace policies as the source of such widespread discrimination.
While I hope the employment struggles of today’s military and veteran families will resolve through effective community and government initiatives, the reality for many military spouses is that they need a job, like, yesterday.
This post is brought to you on behalf of the Forté Foundation. The content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Forté Foundation.
Until ten years ago, I had never actually met a professional woman – an educated female that made a living wage. Growing up in fundamentalism, I was raised in a culture that did not acknowledge gender equality and restricted women to very limited roles as wives and mothers. I had no idea what developing a career involved or even how to get started. The majority of my homeschool education had been focused on the domestic arts – childcare, cooking, cleaning, etc. – and neglected subjects like math, science, and finance (all the things you wouldn’t find in the job description for a housewife).
My junior year of college, I finally encountered a real-life professional woman – a visiting professor of biochemistry. She was confident, educated, and owned her own house. I knew I wanted to be just like her, but I had no idea how to get there.
Sixteen years. That’s how long it’s been since the terrorist attacks of September 11th that set into motion the cascade of events now known as the Great Recession and Global War on Terror.
Both my husband and I woke up early. While the morning looks like just like the start of any other brilliant day, it’s far from it. We talked about how things would have been different if 9-11 hadn’t happened – our friends that would still be alive, the careers that would have manifested, the wounds of war that we wouldn’t have to live with day in and day out.
I go for a run. I run whenever the realities of life after war cloud my mind. Closed casket military funerals. Jam packed VA Hospital waiting rooms. 87 percent divorce rates for OEF/OIF combat officers. Suicide after suicide after suicide. Veteran caregiver groups filled with sobbing spouses who are literally at their wit’s end.
I run another mile. We’d have a house full of kids by now if it wasn’t for the war. He’d be coming up on a promotion if it hadn’t been for those damn IEDs. I’d never have to sit through another VA suicide prevention class. Our lives as a peacetime military family would have been almost-normal by civilian standards.
Can you believe that summer is almost over?
Technically, my summer came to an end with the first day of fall semester classes. I went from riding horses every day to lecturing college students on business and technology. The annual change from a life in cowboy boots to sensible pumps is always a little drastic. I’m still getting saddle time in the afternoons and evenings, just spending most of my mornings discussing economic trends and marketing strategies.
Summer 2017 wasn’t exactly an awesome season for me thanks to unexpected surgeries, moving, and other not-so-glam events. I initially didn’t think the season warranted its very own blog post; however, jotting down a few of the highlights has reminded me that headlining summers don’t have to include Caribbean cruises and blowout weddings. Some – like this past summer – involve some pretty cool, albeit not-so-Instagram-worthy events that shape the year that follows.
So, as we usher in the autumn breath of color changes, football games, and harvest season, here’s five highlights from the Summer of 2017:
While millennials currently provide care for a variety of different demographics and relations, one of the most unsupported segments of this generation of caregivers are today’s military and veteran caregivers.
Like most wars, the conclusion of the longest war in American history has left many military families to pick-up the pieces of a life ravaged by selfless service for an ungrateful nation. The Global War on Terror resulted in the lowest casualty numbers, but highest number of days in combat and subsequent wounds of war.
For far too many military families, the war isn’t over – it just came home – and the task of caring for the wounded falls on our veteran’s loved ones.
Recent report by the RAND Group indicated the number of millennials providing care for disabled veterans is on a sharp rise, with an over 1.1 million post 9/11 caregivers currently providing care for wounded warriors. Continue Reading…
Meet Kathryn Sneed: Author, Entrepreneur, & Military Spouse!
My name is Kathryn and I am a military wife and mommy to two special needs kids. I work from home running my blog, Singing Through the Rain and my business where I offer virtual assistant and social media management services. I am also the author of Journey Through Deployment: Stepping Forward With Confidence During Military Separations.
My spouse led over 100 combat mission on one deployment. His platoon was responsible for route clearance, meaning they cruised the Afghan roads hunting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with (sometimes) functioning equipment. He detonated explosive devices day in and day out; the things others avoided (IEDs) he went looking for.
When he was out on a mission, I was in a constant state of panic. I’d spend my lunch hour throwing up in the ladies’ restroom. I’d start crying hysterically when attending a civilian social event. I hated days he was “running the roads”.