Spouse Calls: PCSing: The bad, and the good
January 18, 2009
Sarah, a new Army wife, posted a question on the Spouse Calls blog about maintaining her career and minimizing military moves. Diana, whose husband retired after 23 years in the Marine Corps, offered these thoughts:
I’m sorry to hear you’ve heard of so many who haven’t moved. Mostly, I’m sorry for them. They’re not being afforded the promise that only comes with actually moving around.
If it’s any consolation, it will get worse — assuming this is not your last move. Having said that, you should also know there is a great deal that gets better and will counter and exceed all that gets worse. This life is the great adventure in every sense of the word.
Moving all over the place is full of bad news and good news.
The bad news is, the move you just made probably won’t be your last. The good news is, it’ll be a long while before you have to worry about the dirt and excess that builds up in a home that’s been settled for more than a few years.
The bad news is, you’ll have to say goodbye to the friends you’ve made. The good news is, you’ll hone your ability to make friends, thus you’ll spend less time friendless at the next location. You’ll likely make a better quality of friend — specifically, the kind of friendships that last no matter where either of you go.
The bad news is, you’ll eventually have to quit any job you have in a brick-and-mortar location. The good news is, being the wife of a military man and having worked in a different state or country is an attractive quality to some employers. Any skill and talent you have that travels or can go to work online opens up many an opportunity for you.
Paid employment is not a military wife’s only résumé-building option. I would encourage any new wife to pursue a college degree and do as much volunteer work as possible — especially on base or post. This fattens up a résumé, expands your horizons, gets you in touch with your new community and puts you in direct touch with others in similar situations.
I could’ve done without the roller coaster ride that was my first three years as a military wife, but then I wouldn’t be who I am today. I wouldn’t have the skills I do; I wouldn’t have fleshed out the talents I now know I have, and I wouldn’t have made the kinds of friends that last forever.
Unlike what I thought when first embarking on this great adventure, it turns out the world is a relatively small place — and yet it holds so many fascinating people with so much culture, history, art, language and fun.
This life is filled to the brim with loneliness, anguish and hopelessness — all of which any seasoned military wife can tell you does ease with time and effort. This life is also filled with delight, wonder and experiences that are almost exclusive to the military lifestyle.
It’s understandable that you’d look for some stability in this unstable time of your life by seeking gainful employment. The military will, however, redefine "stable" and "gainful" in ways you might never have thought imaginable.
The process can be painful, just like growing pains that wake a small child in the night; but just like that small child, there is much to be said for being taller, stronger and more mobile than those who never suffer at all.
— Diana Hartman,Stuttgart, Germany
To read Sarah’s question and Diana’s complete answer, see their comments on the Spouse Calls blog here.
Terri Barnes is a military wife and mother of three. She lives and writes in Germany. Contact her at email@example.com and see the Spouse Calls blog here.