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.
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.
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:
Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher that lived a century before Plato, is credited with saying, “The only thing that is constant is change.”
Most of us have experienced tumultuous transition times during our lives.
Sometimes it’s for something exciting, like a new job, a new relationship, or even a new hobby.
Other times, the changes aren’t that awesome, such as the loss of a loved one, organizational downsizing, and moving into a crappy rental.
“Good” or “bad” changes, stress almost always accompanies major life transitions.
Are you nodding your head “Yes” right now? Have you recently experienced big changes in your life? Continue Reading…
This summer Adam Sandoval is hitting the road with Harley-Davidson for a cross-country ride to honor those who have served and give away bikes to eight lucky vets.
Adam is an avid H-D rider, and he and his chihuahua Scooter have crossed the country in support of military vets. His ScootinAmerica initiative has raised awareness for several veterans organizations, and he’s honored to partner with H-D to bring relief to more riders. He understands that riding can be a relaxing, restorative hobby for vets, especially for those suffering from PTSD.
Anyone can nominate an active military member or veteran to MISSION: THANK YOU by submitting their story of sacrifice, strength and courage to http://missionthankyou.com. Adam will be part of the group reviewing and selecting deserving patriots for the award. Continue Reading…
I’ve been taking pictures since Polaroids were a thing.
The whole “Smile! Flash! Shake!” was a pivotal part of my childhood, as I’d set up neighborhood “photo booths” charging kids a quarter for a “Glamour Shot” (in my defense, I had an impressive collection of Disney Princess inspired boas). Eventually, my early photographic style evolved into one that could be classified as more “photojournalistic”; however, that’s not how my neighbors saw it when I climbed over their fence and “documented” their family BBQ from the bushes.
In high school, I had the opportunity to take a few photography classes, but we amateur photographers were still processing film, as the digital option were priced well above my “after school job” budget. Taking photos got real expensive, real quick, so I had to limit the hobby to special occasions, shooting film only a few times a year. Continue Reading…
Meet Sarah Dale of New Rosie!
Sarah Dale is an artist, filmmaker and advocate for military families and veteran caregivers like herself.
Sarah specializes in using her creative skills to continue her journey of healing from secondary post-traumatic stress and help other military families find healing as well through projects such as: When War Comes Home, Flowers From the VA and more. Her advocacy work has led to her collaboration with organizations such as Hope for the Warriors, Blue Star Families and REBOOT Combat Recovery.
When not making art and films, Sarah is an actor and entrepreneur.
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 Adam Rivette, co-founder of Barrel Backers!
Barrel Backers is a powerful crowdfunding & discovery community for craft beer. Craft beer fans from across the country are using Barrel Backers to rally around the beers they’re excited to drink. When enough people support a beer, an order is placed and the beer will be delivered to their doorstep! Additionally, fans are also making their voice heard by submitting beers on their wish-lists and voting for the ones they want to see featured in the future.