Author Topic: Portable career for military spouse?  (Read 7723 times)

kasalii

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Portable career for military spouse?
« on: March 21, 2013, 01:57:16 PM »
Hi everyone!

This is my first post. I looked through the forum a bit and didn't see anyting similar to my question, so my apologies if this has been answered elsewhere.  I am working retail right now, and my husband is career Navy.  We have to live close to the base, but sadly this means my only job options are retail, and I'm competing against all of the other spouses. I would love to be a Biological Technician, and I've started taking college classes for an Associate in Biology. My current job offers tuition reimbursement for any subject. The problem is that where we live now I don't think there are any opportunities in the science field, and it's very possible we will get orders to move soon.  We may even have to move to another country.  I'm tired of working retail, but I don't want to invest time and money into a degree I won't be able to use. Any advice?

SunshineGirl

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 02:13:53 PM »
Tax preparer? You could specialize in military families, and do it from anywhere.

Justaerin

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 02:15:27 PM »
Highly portable jobs with little investment in education and great returns:  Bartender, massage therapist, yoga instructor, personal trainer, things like that.  You can of course really expand your credentials by investing in more education in the physical training side.  You can try blogging, walking dogs, babysitting, more freelance type of stuff.

What is it you enjoy doing?

Villanelle

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 03:08:50 PM »
It will really depend on how much you are willing to commute.  As a military spouse myself, I've never been all that limited in jobs--certainly nothing to the extent you are mentioning.  I don't think have a husband in the military limits your choices geographically than having a spouse in any other career. 

Teaching is a very portable career, though you may have to take a certification test when you move to a new state.  In fact, it's one of the few you can even do if you are sent OCONUS since bases overseas have schools.  If science is your passion, you could become a science teacher. 

If you are okay with a non-professional career, personal training is a good one.  There are sometimes jobs at base gyms and with a community that tends to be fitness-minded, there are plenty of people around looking to get in shape.  Nearly all bases higher people to teach fitness classes part time, which you could do in addition to one on one training. 

kasalii

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 11:22:35 PM »
Thanks everyone! I have been trying to utilize the military spouse carer help that is available here, but they are NOT user friendly, and the choices seem to be retail or the shipyard. Teaching is an interesting idea, I do love science. I'll look into what that requires. Fitness training is something I never thought about. I do love me some zumba, but even I have trouble keeping up with the instructors (seriously, are they on drugs or something?) . I do have a small Etsy business. Without effort I make about $150-200 a month. It's nice money but I doubt I could replace my income with it. Although I have had boutiques request to carry my items, this would require a huge amount of time since I make dollhouse miniatures and miniature food jewelry by hand.  Since everything is made by hand one at a time there's no easy way to speed up production. I love my crafts, science (genetics especially), and Japanese, although my current fluency is that of a toddler. Honestly I think I would be happier freelancing, but right now I'd like a stable income so I can save all that money! Side note there are sooo many Mary-Kay and Avon reps out here it's ridiculous. They're in a swamped market and have no idea. Now, there are Biotech jobs in the nearest city, but that is a 2-3 hour one-way car commute! I asked the local sheriff's office about doing forensics and they said don't bother, we ship everything out to the city.

Ozstache

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2013, 12:00:52 AM »
I'm military and my wife has been easily able to get work in aged care wherever we went throughout my career, including in the USA.

capital

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2013, 08:50:02 AM »
Hi everyone!

This is my first post. I looked through the forum a bit and didn't see anyting similar to my question, so my apologies if this has been answered elsewhere.  I am working retail right now, and my husband is career Navy.  We have to live close to the base, but sadly this means my only job options are retail, and I'm competing against all of the other spouses. I would love to be a Biological Technician, and I've started taking college classes for an Associate in Biology. My current job offers tuition reimbursement for any subject. The problem is that where we live now I don't think there are any opportunities in the science field, and it's very possible we will get orders to move soon.  We may even have to move to another country.  I'm tired of working retail, but I don't want to invest time and money into a degree I won't be able to use. Any advice?
Computer programming is a job that can often be done remotely and has many job opportunities. Freelance web design/development can also be done remotely, and even locally pretty much every business needs a basic website. Likewise, pretty much every business needs IT these days, so that's a pretty portable job.

jenstill

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2013, 09:27:48 AM »
I just wanted to second the tax preparer idea from SunShineGirl. When my father was in Okinawa, there was a great deal of competition for spouse jobs as a large percentage of on-base and base-related employment was reserved for Okinawans. My mother who was a registered respiratory therapist for 15 years was not able to get a job at the hospitals or even at any of the retail places. So, she did something different: she got a job working for H&R Block on-base, completed their course and worked for them for a year. After that, she went into business for herself doing tax preparation, specializing in the tax situations affecting my dad's co-workers: foreign-earned income, rental properties back in the states, hazard pay, housing allowances, and a whole bunch of other military and overseas-contractor stuff I don't understand. She got more business than she could handle and literally had to turn people away, with many of them willing to wait for her to get them (even when it meant late fees) because she was educated, accurate, timely, and far less expensive than H&R Block who charged a mint to prepare these complicated returns. Even after returning to the states, clients would bundle everything up and send it to her at tax time, so her business continued to prosper even after returning home. She just retired this year, much to the disappointment of many a serviceman and woman. Anyway, she loved it, and made enough money in half the year to make her feel fulfilled -- and positively contribute to their net worth -- for the whole year. If you have any interest in it, it can certainly pay off for you.

ace1224

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2013, 09:52:03 AM »
Hi everyone!

This is my first post. I looked through the forum a bit and didn't see anyting similar to my question, so my apologies if this has been answered elsewhere.  I am working retail right now, and my husband is career Navy.  We have to live close to the base, but sadly this means my only job options are retail, and I'm competing against all of the other spouses. I would love to be a Biological Technician, and I've started taking college classes for an Associate in Biology. My current job offers tuition reimbursement for any subject. The problem is that where we live now I don't think there are any opportunities in the science field, and it's very possible we will get orders to move soon.  We may even have to move to another country.  I'm tired of working retail, but I don't want to invest time and money into a degree I won't be able to use. Any advice?

hello! my job is in the science field, and i work near camp lejeune, nc.  obviously i'm not going to tell you not to do something that you like but i will say that being a tech that requires a lot of training they don't like to hire people who are going to move every three years.  in my interview they asked in a very round about legal way to find out if i was a military spouse, and you're right there aren't many jobs.  to run the whole lab just requires me and my lab partner. 
my lab partner did medical lab transcription before this job and said she learned a lot.  she did it from home and lived in a couple of different states working for the same company (medquist)

jrhampt

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2013, 01:15:37 PM »
Oh, I like the tax preparer idea...I may steal that for myself.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2013, 02:55:49 PM »
Nurse. They're needed everywhere, and you don't have to worry about getting your license recognized in another state/country if working in a (US) government hospital.

CrochetStache

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Re: Portable career for military spouse?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2013, 06:03:17 PM »
For the long term I see the expansion of your Etsy business with a focus on the Kawaii aspect and improving your Japanese.
I'm a trailing spouse and an artist here in Japan, I can sell things here for 3X what I sell them for in the states.

When we moved here we immediately took the time to learn the language and I do have a 90 minute commute each way
into Tokyo to make the connections I need to be a successful artist here.

You do need to make the extra effort to make yourself a success in your chosen field, whatever that may be. Remember, that
you are making sacrifices for him to be successful in his career, he will need to make sacrifices for you to be successful at yours.
Sometimes you won't be there to make him dinner. I stayed behind at one location for an extra 5 months in a studio apartment with
just me, my blow-up mattress and all the work I needed to do on my art installation because it would have been more expensive to have the Navy move all of our stuff including my art project and then try to move the art project back to the states for the show.

How badly do you want your own career and what will you and your husband do to help make that happen?

Most bases have VITA: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance which is a FREE tax service for servicemembers and their families to have their taxes done and filed electronically. All for FREE! While the idea of working and earning money at an HR Block place is a good idea, I hope your are going to your local VITA to file your taxes instead of spending it at an HR Block :)