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    Strategies for Military Spouses Who Can’t or Choose Not to Work

    Military spouses regularly find themselves in various scenarios, whether geographical or laden with time restrictions, that are not conducive to working regularly either from home or out in the traditional realms.

    Learning to make the most of the time available, inexpensively, is a skill military spouses should hone because...

    1. PCS moves are never reliable. A long stay quite possibly could turn into a short stay, and vice versa. The length of time may not be worth the spouse’s effort to invest in writing a quality résumé, networking, and searching for a job. Not to mention some of the base locations are less than hospitable for finding work.
    2. All too often it doesn’t make sense to spend money on expensive or inadequate child care. The math definitely has to swing in the spouse’s favor to be away from their children daily and earn enough to make the care worth the paycheck.
    3. Caregiving is a phenomenon that is increasing at break neck speeds. Spouses become primary caregivers to injured or ill servicemembers or they may be part of the sandwich generation, taking care of their children in addition to parents. 

    With the never ending uncertainty of military life, it would be good to have a few tricks up your sleeve when looking for options to improve yourself or earn a little bit of easy money.

    Continuing Education


    Continuing Ed doesn’t have to mean the full-fledged undergrad or graduate school application, acceptance, and study process. Spouses short on time or cash can further their education and engage their interests in various ways. 

    Online Auditing. Ever wanted to study like the kids at Harvard, Stanford or Yale? You can, for free! Many other less intense schools offer auditing too.

    Community College. Enroll in a class for fun, or take another to further your career aspirations. This is the time to try something and see if it’s a job possibility in the future.

    Big military towns often have classes on base for résumé and interview prep. There are also satellite campuses of nearby community colleges. Frequently, these classes are reduced or free for military spouses. 

    Think Outside the Box, Career Wise


    If there’s a little time to work and earn a bit of spending money (or more) head over to Work at Home Adventures. There you'll find leads on how to join a growing tele-industry with flexible job schedules. Everything from customer service to graphic design is mentioned.

    Applying for holiday help at department stores over Christmas or in a floral shop for Valentine’s and Mother’s day is a quick 4-6 week paying job that could earn a few hundred bucks. Experience not necessarily required.



    Volunteer because it’s great, but also so you can learn a new skill in a low pressure atmosphere. What PTA doesn’t need a grant writer? If writing is your gig, mastering this skill can add to your menu of services for future clients. The same goes for an organization’s website management or volunteer coordinator for your spouse’s Family Support Network. They don’t mind if you learn as you go!

    With these options, there’s no reason to sit home and suffer through an unwanted duty station. Put your head down and learn something fun or earn money to take a trip away!

    If by chance, you’re a spouse in a position to begin in-depth job searches, MilitaryByOwner has specific resources for spouse education and employment to help you on your way.

    See the following articles for even more detailed information and explanation of resources for résumé help, scholarships, and career opportunities, including DoD sponsored programs for military spouses: 

    Resources for New and Not So New Military Spouses

    Ultimate Guide for Military Spouse Employment

    What About Me? Coping with Military Spouse Career Challenges

    Career Resources for Veterans and Military Spouses

    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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