Monday, February 11, 2013

Ramblings of a Disgruntled Military Wife

Image found here.

I have always had pretty high career aspirations.  When I graduated with my B.S. in Political Science and History, my big plan was to move to D.C. or some larger city and work in either Policy or Lobbying.  Not for just anything, but for something I was really passionate about.  I even toyed with the idea of Law School to work in Constitutional Law.  When I got a job in Germany working for the military, I kind of put those dreams on hold.  Even though I'm somewhat of a pacifist, I really wanted to help our military out in whatever capacity I could.  And hey, who wouldn't kill (figuratively, of course) for an opportunity to live and work overseas?  So, I put my professional future on hold.

I actually really liked what I did for the military. I was basically a glorified office manager, but I took a lot of pride in my work.  And hey, government pay and benefits were pretty good.  I never intended to love what I did, but in reality, I kind of did.  It was challenging and rewarding, and I felt like I was making a small difference.  There would be plenty of time to make an impact later.

Enter Joel.  The man of my dreams, my soul mate...even though I swore I didn't want to be a military wife.  But, I thought that I could kind of have it all.  The career and the relationship.  When we moved to this base, I thought it would be easy with my experience, education, and drive to pick up right where I left off.  But, I was wrong.

It took forever to find a job on base.  Like, almost a year.  In the meantime I took a rewarding internship and substitute taught in the local school districts, and decided that I myself would go back to school for special education, to make a difference in my local community (wherever that ends up being).  I never meant to give up on my dreams, but Law School would be impossible if I were to move every 2-3 years, and Joel obviously didn't get orders anywhere near D.C.

I was ecstatic to finally get a job on base again.  I thought I would show them my drive and passion, and there would be plenty of opportunities to advance.  But, what I didn't realize is that the organization I signed on with consisted mostly of technician positions.  Positions that I am nowhere qualified to hold.  So, I put my efforts into schooling, but I increasingly felt like a failure for being stagnant in my profession.

An opportunity came open at work that I believed I would be a perfect fit for.  It was in a different division, but I thought all of my qualifications would at least warrant an interview.  Plus, I was internal.  No adjustment period required!  I began to get hopeful, and even talked to Joel about maybe trying to make this area a permanent home for us, which would have completely changed our lives around.  But, for whatever reason, I (along with about six other folks I work with) was never even given a chance.  No interview, no explanation.  I was crushed.  If it was in my Division, I know my boss would have pushed for me to get a chance.  He always tells me what a great job I'm doing, and I recently received a stellar performance review.  I began to question my worth, my professional future, and my abilities.

It's hard making a name for yourself, especially when you basically live as a nomad.  I had such high hopes for myself, and now I wonder what my path should be.  I try to trust in my faith and put these kinds of decisions in God's hands.  But, I'm only human, and I am weak when it comes to leaving those kinds of decisions up to Him.  I have issues letting go of control.  Especially decisions like this.  But, obviously it's completely out of my control.  I feel like I have taken what ever steps I could to be successful, and just haven't been able to take advantage of the minimal opportunities this base has to offer.  And now with sequestration looming, the chance to move up here, or anywhere, is looking slimmer.  I may lose out on paid days even in my current position, and I pray that all of us here in our organization avoid any cuts that may happen.  The fiscal crisis doesn't just affect the $100K and over crowd.  It affects us little guys, too.

I have no choice but to soldier on.  I will focus on what I can control.  I will complete my master's degree this year.  If I can't move up here on base, I will focus on trying to get orders to a base bordering a bigger city with more opportunities.  Other than that...well, I'm still not sure what path I am supposed to be on.  Hopefully trying to leave it in God's hands will bring me some much needed peace.


Jen said...

I know what you mean, sometimes this life can be tougher than you would hope it to be.

Katiellirb said...

Oh my! I had no idea about that job situation. I can't believe you never even had an interview! I hear you with Sequestration lady! As a defense contractor, I worry daily that I'll even have a job tomorrow. While I enjoy what I do, it's not really a transferable skill. If I didn't move every 4 years, I KNOW I would be working elsewhere, but the military def stuck me in a corner professionally and now this is the best I can do to accomodate someone else's dream. While I love that someone else, it's not what I thought I'd be doing 10 years out of college.

The Blatchford Family said...

Hugs! I am sorry your job situation is looking grim. Maybe check into Tucson, AZ next. We would love to hang out with Joel again & meet you too! I hope you are able to find fulfilling work again soon.