Involuntary career disruptions. Extended physical separation from loved ones. Worries about the health and safety of those dearest to you. The country’s leaders asking you to make personal sacrifices for the safety of your neighbors.
If this sounds familiar to you, you are doing your part amid a century-defining global pandemic. Or, you have been a military spouse at some point in your life.
When the COVID-19 crisis arrived, no one had a playbook with all the answers. But the military spouse community has developed (individually and collectively) strategies for dealing with many of the challenges now confronting all of us.
Most military spouses I know have resigned a cherished job to follow their servicemember across the country or globe, then hustled to find new work; which quite often may not be aligned with their long- term career goals. Most have coped with the uncertainty of short-notice or extended deployments. Many have felt anxiety as a newscaster reports a bombing attack in a country where their loved one is deployed. Some military spouses have experienced all of the above in the same year.
The military spouses I know have taught each other powerful strategies for coping with change:
1. Manage short-term expectations.
Once the initial shock of change passes, give yourself permission to move ahead deliberately. Rushing into life-changing decisions often extends the disruption.
2. Resist the “easy way out.”
As human beings, we tend to magnify and obsess over the negative aspects of change. (This is why high schoolers think a blemish on their chin can be viewed from outer space.) Don’t quit, reorient yourself. Run the numbers, and you’ll realize the situation is not so dire. Staying positive isn’t just a Zen bumper sticker; prospective employers detect confidence, and everyone wants to work with a team of champions.
3. Focus on the long-term benefits of change.
A change of place and a change of pace creates a change of perspective.
4. Lean on your support network with openness and honesty.
It gives everyone permission to be vulnerable, which strengthens bond within the group.
5. Mobilize your contact list and get to “The Ask” fearlessly.
A senior executive once remarked to me, “I interact with many people every day, and I’m constantly surprised that so few of them ever ask me, “Can I have a job?”
As our nation faces growing challenges, struggles, and an abundance of change, our strength is being tested. But struggle ultimately begets strength. Throughout my 15 years with The Adecco Group, I have observed this resiliency in the military spouse community as I’ve worked with military spouses to maintain their career momentum amid frequent moves, deployments, and uncertainty.
While the unemployment rate among military spouses remains high, our company’s resolve to find great positions for them remains constant. With workforce trends moving to remote work environments, military spouses can expect to see an increase in job opportunities that accommodate their portable lifestyle.
Today, I am one of more than 2,000 military spouses across The Adecco Group family. We are proud to be recognized as a military spouse friendly employer, and we want to wish military spouses everywhere a very happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day! We celebrate your service, friendship and sacrifices.
About the Author
As the Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships for the Adecco Group US Foundation, Rachelle is passionate about helping military spouses and veterans succeed in the workforce. She is equally inspired by the the Team USA athletes her team supports through one on one career coaching.
Rachelle joined Adecco, the global leader in workforce solutions, as a recruiter in February 2005. Following positions of increasing responsibility within the Government Relations team, Rachelle served as Adecco’s Government Relations Manager from the Fall of 2007-Spring 2010. Tracking political issues of importance to the workforce industry, she conducted research and analysis on employment trends in each congressional district and engaged policy makers on Capitol Hill.
Rachelle now serves as the Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships and is the Military Liaison for Adecco Group. One of the specialty recruitment programs that fall under her leadership is the military spouse and veteran recruitment program, Adecco Group Military Alliance. Rachelle liaises with Adecco branches and military installations around the country, serving as Adecco’s national representative to the military and numerous military affiliate organizations and partnerships.
She’s also the Adecco Group US manager for the Athlete Career and Education Program, a program designed to provide Team USA athletes with career counseling, job placement assistance and employment opportunities. Adecco is an official sponsor of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and partners with the USOPC to facilitate the ACE program.