Spouse employment is one of the most pressing concerns for military families as the cost of living rises.
Veterans on a panel at the MCON convention on military and veteran culture in Las Vegas, Nevada, discussed the value of spouses in the workforce, as well as the reasons why they seek employment.
“Some Army families are now considering leaving service as a result in line to income,” said Eric Eversole, President of Hiring our Heroes. “We as a country need to wake up the way that we take care of families. It’s going to be critically important to maintain that all volunteer force, because for too long, military families were forced to rely on one income and they can’t keep doing it.”
According to veteran Tiffany Daugherty, who is also a military spouse and is now the Head of Military Talent for Johnson & Johnson, military spouses are the bedrock of their families — as emotional support but also financial providers.
“They bring tremendous skills, just like service members have a certain set of unique skills,” she noted. “Nobody understands how to be the glue of a team like a military spouse does when I work with them.”
Samantha Domingo, a military spouse who now works as the Staff Military Relations & Critical Programs Talent Strategist at Lockheed Martin, once worked in a commissary in Germany to help support her family. It took her nine years to finish her MBA program.
Despite her perseverance, she found that, in job hunting, she was always concerned about not checking enough boxes on applications.
“As a military spouse, oftentimes we really struggle with impostor syndrome,” said Domingo. “We think we have to be prepared and meet all of the requirements from the basic qualifications all the way through to the preferred and desired, and then we take the job, and we’re bored.”
Domingo suggested that finding a network of supportive people goes a long way.
“You need you need to have folks around you that see your value. And if they don’t, they’re probably not the right circle for you. And you just keep moving.”
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.