Working from Home: Tips for Military Spouses
As a military spouse, you mostly likely knew that a life “married to the military” would include frequent relocations, lots of change, and even extended periods of time when your spouse would be away on deployment. While you accepted these challenges, you probably also quickly realized how this lifestyle can be particularly challenging on a person’s professional career. In fact, approximately 26% of military spouses face unemployment.
The good news is that in today’s super-connected society, working from home is more and more a reality for many military spouses. It can be a bit daunting to begin your search, especially knowing that there are many scammers and unreliable “employers” out there. But by leveraging the resources below, you’ll find a wide range of career options that fit the lifestyle of a military spouse.
In 2011, a Presidential Study highlighted the need for Federal support to assist spouses of the nation’s fighting force in finding jobs, as a reported 77% of them wanted and needed employment. Building off the Army Spouse Employment Partnership, the U.S. government expanded this initiative to the other branches by creating the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Program. The initiative partners with private sector companies and today includes more than 335 partners who have hired more than 100,000 military spouses. Partnering companies include: AT&T, Amazon, CVS Pharmacy, GEICO, The Home Depot, Lockheed Martin, Starbucks, and more. To access the career opportunity database, a military spouse must simply register online. Spouses who do not have access to a computer or want to talk with a live counselor may also contact the DOD’s Spouse Education & Career Opportunities (SECO) initiative by calling 1-800-342-9647.
Portable, Professional Trades
Military spouses are eligible to receive up to $4,000, or $2,000 a year, for up to two years, to cover education and training required to enter a “portable” career field through the Military Career Advancement Account (MyCAA). Career fields considered portable include health care, education, financial services, hospitality management, and skilled trades like carpentry and plumbing. Eligible recipients are spouses of service members on active duty in pay grades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2 and O-1 to O-2 who can start and complete their coursework while their military sponsor is on Title 10 military orders, including spouses married to members of the National Guard and reserve component in these same pay grades (unfortunately, Coast Guard spouses are not currently included). There are many restrictions on how these funds can be used, so be sure to review their downloadable MyCAA FAQ booklet. Professional jobs that are ideal from working from home, regardless of your city, include:
- Medical Secretary
- Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
- Legal Secretary
- Social Media Manager
- Human Resource Assistant
- Professional Bookkeeper
- Project Coordinator
When faced with a project, a problem, or a goal, many of us take to the Internet immediately to search for articles and tips on how to be successful. If you yourself have a skill set that could help others – cooking, designing, crafting, knowledge of tools and renovations – your know-how can translate into cash in your pocket, as long as you’re able to format it into easy-to-read articles. Sites like eHow actually hire hundreds of contract writers who have “DIY in their DNA,” meaning they can and like to “do it themselves” and can share their step-by-step processes with others. You’ll need a collection of your writing to apply, but check out the site to get an idea of the types of articles they publish and how they are written. You can brainstorm and write a few example posts of your own and apply online for a few contracted articles.
Many smaller businesses out there in the world sometimes have a need for short-term support in specific skill set areas. If you have a college degree of extensive knowledge in a professional skill set, you might want to check out sites for freelance/remote/contract workers. From helping a company build an end-of-year Power Point presentation to helping design or edit an annual report, there may be projects that a company does not have skilled full-time employees to complete. Instead, they hire a freelancer to complete the project at an agreed upon rate of pay and timeline. Sites like Fivr include very small jobs for any level of free time you might have to take on work. Remember that these small jobs, done well, can lead to more projects with the hiring company. Although freelance work is more sporadic, its flexibility is great in that you can take on work when you want and are able.
Written by Megan Hammons