By Tracy Flanagan
See this and more inside the July issue of Military Spouse Magazine!
In February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the national unemployment rate had dipped to 3.5%. But for military spouses, it was more than seven times that: a whopping 26%.*
The frequent PCSs of military service make it hard for the wives and husbands of military service members to both find and keep employment. Underemployment is also an issue, with military spouses often being forced to take positions outside their field or below their skill and education level.
That’s the situation Amy Stroop** found herself in. As an Army spouse for 23 years, Amy struggled to find a job that would allow her to utilize her journalism and marketing degrees. Eventually, in need of a paycheck, she took a retail job at Sears so she could help support the family while her husband was deployed.
Luckily, a wave of enterprising military spouses and entrepreneurs are paving the way for other spouses, creating businesses and opportunities that cater to this underutilized talent pool, or simply inspiring others to forge their own career paths. For military spouses struggling to find employment, here are three possible solutions to consider:
1. Become an entrepreneur.
Have a business idea? Maybe now’s the time to start. Entrepreneurship allows you to turn your passion into a payday, and offers flexibility to work on your own time, wherever the military takes you. So many inspirational milspouses have launched their own businesses, including Army spouse Maria Reed. Maria was named the 2019 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year® for creating, producing, and hosting Moving with the Military***, a home improvement series that seeks to bridge the civilian-military divide through design and community building.
2. Explore franchising.
Franchise ownership is another option for milspouses eager to run their own business. Look for veteran-oriented models, such as JDog Brands*^, that offer a nationwide network of like-minded businesses, business owners, and talent. When it’s time to PCS, you can turn over the day-to-day operations to a strong general manager and oversee the business remotely. This is the route Amy Stroop took once her husband retired from the Army. The couple now owns JDog franchises in three states!
3. Consider remote work.
Milspouses who aren’t ready to be at the helm of their own business can look to companies like Instant Teams^^ for a job they can take with them to each duty station. Co-founded by two Army spouses, Erica McMannes and Liza Rodewald, Instant Teams taps the large population of military spouses and other military-connected individuals to build remote teams for employers looking for writers, digital strategists, administrative support, and other talent.
The military lifestyle certainly poses career challenges for military spouses, but from business ownership to telework, military spouses have more options to find a fulfilling career than ever before.
About the Author
Tracy Flanagan is the co-founder and senior vice president of JDog Brands, a veteran-focused array of home and commercial services franchise organizations owned and operated by veterans and military family members. jdogbrands.com
^http://www.jdogbrands.com – JDog is a paid partner of Military Spouse
*JDog is a paid client.