How Spouses Build Careers that Transcend Duty Stations
As military families, we never really know where the military will send us next, and relocating can be so tough on military spouses in many ways, especially in regards to having a career. Many spouses work in careers where they must get licensing, certifications, and training to be able to work wherever the military sends their spouse. Each of these requirements can vary from state to state, and while some spouses may only have to take a class or two to continue to work in their specific field, some may find themselves in states that require so much more, which can really put military spouses in a tough spot. Recently, efforts have been made, both at the state and federal levels, to help make it easier for military spouses to continue working in their careers even when they move to a new state, but often, the transition is still difficult. Military spouses have learned to be adaptive, though, and some even start their own businesses or work virtually, allowing them to still thrive in their careers while also being a supportive military spouse.
Family spoke with entrepreneur Desiree Martinez about what it’s been like for her as the owner of a thriving social media company – All In One Social Media. Desiree’s husband, Stephen, is an Air Force veteran. They have two children, Flynn (9) and Harley (7), and they currently reside in Michigan.
Did you find it difficult to relocate with your work as a military spouse in your chosen career field?
I did. I started my own business as a social media manager in 2009. As a social media manager, I would attend in-person events and networking groups to gain leads and make connections. Then, in 2014, we pcs’d for the first time. Then, in 2017, we pcs’d out of the country, and back in 2018. Moving from my location meant I had to pivot and find a new way to make connections and get leads. This is what caused me to start my YouTube Channel. The choice to start the YouTube channel was the best thing I’ve ever done for my business. I’ve been able to add multiple streams of income to my business. And what’s great is anyone can do this! For example, I recently had our first virtual event for female video creators (Women of Video Conference) with 35 female speakers. I could only pull this off because I continually find ways to think outside the box when it comes to my business.
What’s your best advice for other military spouses who are getting ready to PCS but are apprehensive about what will happen to their businesses or careers?
The thing about being a military spouse and military life that’s so frustrating is the lack of understanding of how we live our lives and why we live our lives the way we do. So, you can make yourself indispensable to companies, whether locally or wherever you move, by offering a skill you can do for them when you leave. When considering what you want to do, you want to think, “What could I do for people locally that I could do for them if I had to move?” So, specific jobs such as administration, digital marketing, data entry, and things you could do remotely and at home are a huge benefit. And make sure you’re upfront about the chance that you could move so the company that hires you to freelance or contract with them will know what’s happening and won’t feel like they were thrown off guard. Find and make those connections that will transcend duty stations, and your business or career may grow more than you ever thought it could.