Milestone 1: Find a Work-Life Balance
Finding balance with work and family looks different for every person and can be a struggle for many – even without the added challenges presented by military life. As a military spouse who would like to balance a career or gain additional qualifications through professional development, you can take comfort in knowing it is possible to develop a rhythm and to make time for the things that matter most to you, personally and professionally.
Your schedule, particularly where, when, and how you work or learn, may be more flexible than your service member’s schedule; however, it may also be more independent and complex. Considerations include what type of career you have or what type of training or education you seek, and your current location. The operational tempo of your service member’s role may keep him or her away from home or allow for more family time. Whatever your situation, consistent communication with your partner about work and life schedules and requirements, while managing expectations, is necessary to meet everyone’s needs and to achieve your goals.
Use Google Calendar to organize your business. Learn how to, “Make the most of your day: 7 Google Calendar tips”.
Spouse Education and Career Opportunities
Manage your Time and Reach your Goals
Learn how to gain control of your time with these management tips.
Building Healthy Relationships
Free education-based consultation designed to strengthen your relationships.
All done with this step?
Learning to navigate upskilling needs
Skill development and degree attainment are just a few of the positive potential outcomes of furthering your education or training. Use every training or educational contact as an opportunity to broaden your communities of support, academically, in your career, and as a military spouse or partner.
Learn Through your Network
LEARN FROM CURRENT OR PAST COLLEAGUES
- Ask for training recommendations and suggestions.
- As you work with your co-workers and partners, request informal collaborations or training on observed mastered skills.
Build New Connections
- Seek out individuals, especially other military spouses, who work in your desired field or profession for training recommendations or suggestions.
- Seek out alumni from your school or training program to learn how individuals have leveraged their skills, certifications, or degrees to advance in their careers or to enter new professions.
Leverage Online Communities to Find out about Opportunities
- Follow relevant communities on social media to see training opportunities shared by the organizations and their members.
- Use these communities to ask questions and learn how others may have navigated similar challenges, particularly those who are part of a military family.
Build your Academic Community
Build a Relationship with your Academic Advisor or Program Manager
Your school or program will likely have a point of contact for you to reach out to for questions or to submit assignments and other deliverables. Establishing and maintaining communication with this individual can help you as you navigate the program. Many advisors have first-hand knowledge of job opportunities and may know of other training opportunities or scholarships that help you advance on your career path.
Look to Organizational and Educational Connections
Many institutions or organizations offer ways to connect outside of the classroom. Examples include the following:
- Alumni associations
- Military-connected groups on campuses nationwide
- Social media groups and affiliations
Connect with other Students in your Program
Create a study group to support one another throughout your training program, and foster these professional connections. You may be able to share other learning or job opportunities that can help you advance in your career.
All done with this step?
When it comes to finding professional development opportunities, the abundance of resources can be overwhelming. To help, use consistent strategies to search for the type of training you want that meets your needs and helps you reach your goals.
Searching for Professional Development and Upskilling/ ReSkilling Programs and Resources
Set Your Budget
Consider how much you can spend on a program or training. If cost is a concern, there are numerous, high-quality, free or low-cost options available for military spouses, or you may be eligible for scholarships, some of which are just for military spouses.
Start with Online Searches to find Virtual and Local Options
Use Google searches with keywords based on what you would like to learn. From this search, you will get suggestions about trainings that are available on that topic from an organization or an educational institution. For example, you can search for “active listening skills training” for virtual options, or add your location to check for local options.
Research educational institutions
Use College Scorecard, a comprehensive website that offers a wealth of information about higher education programs across the country to gather information about accreditation, enrollment, and graduation rates.
Seek trusted online resources
Inquire about vetting procedures for online courses and programs. Examples of questions include: Who teaches the class or training? What are their credentials? Is this online training peer-reviewed or endorsed by a trusted organization?
All done with this step?
Seeking time for self-care
Taking time for yourself – doing something you enjoy or that provides relaxation – can help ease some of the stresses of managing military life. Finding and dedicating self-care time is often easier said than done, but it is vital that you fit it into your schedule. So, put self-care on your calendar, and read a book, do some yoga, speak with a counseling professional, try a new recipe, or just soak in the great outdoors – do whatever activity helps you feel your best.
Confidential non-medical counseling provides service members and their loved ones with resources and support to address a variety of issues and build important skills to tackle life’s challenges.
USE MORALE, WELFARE AND RECREATION OFFERINGS
Go to installations.militaryonesource.mil and choose ‘I’m searching for a program’ and type in “MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation),” then select an installation or enter a zip code.
Examine recommended Wellness Apps from Military OneSource.
If you could use a little practice with making time for activities you enjoy, review this checklist. It will help you generate ideas on how to include self-care and create balance in your military life.
Weaving Self-Care into your Military Life
- Make a list of three enjoyable activities you would do if you had a day away from all of your other responsibilities. Choose at least one significant (e.g., day trip) activity and at least two activities that take less than 3 hours to complete. If you want to connect with a new networking group or gain more knowledge in a particular area, see if there are any activities with that population or related to that topic.
- Use Google, the newspaper, and social media sites to search for local opportunities to complete at least one of those activities locally.
- Schedule the activity for a few weeks into the future. Then intentionally weave it into your schedule.
- Invite a friend, neighbor, or co-worker to complete the activity with you.
- Go do the activity!
- If applicable, identify 1 to 2 ways that the experience helped you with your career or education (e.g.., mentoring, networking, skill development, teamwork, a creativity boost). Share your thoughts with your new network connection.
- Repeat as needed!