A Look into the Life of a Military Spouse
The experience a military spouse brings to the workforce is worth their weight in gold. During the month of May, we take time to specifically honor the commitment of military spouses across the country. Though, their sacrifices are deserving of recognition 365 days of the year. Unless you are a military spouse yourself or know one personally, it’s unlikely you know how much these individuals take on while their spouses are bravely serving our country. What is it like to juggle family, work, and life in general as a military spouse? How does experience as a military spouse set someone up for success in their career? We sat down with Amanda Jones, an occupational health nurse at Premise Health, to get a behind-the-scenes look – from challenges to the rewards.
What is your story?
Growing up in a very rural area in Ohio, everything in my life was so familiar. I went to the same places, did the same things, and saw the same people. That all changed when I met my husband. Little did we know at the time, we grew up living 20 minutes away from each other but didn’t cross paths until college. He made the decision to join the Air Force his sophomore year, and from there, I became a military spouse in 2007. Our life together has evolved through each chapter we encounter. Currently, we reside in Massachusetts, where I work as an occupational health nurse, in addition to being a wife and mother to our 10-year-old daughter. Massachusetts is the seventh state we’ve moved to, and the total number will forever remain unknown.
How would you describe your role as a military spouse?
Not easy. Being a military spouse requires an extensive amount of independence, patience, and flexibility. The biggest challenge of it all is being stationed far away from our normal support system – our families. Each location brings new faces, new friends, and new coworkers, but new adventures can come with separation and loneliness. It can be difficult to form connections with others when they aren’t in the same shoes. Each time we move, I hope the people I meet will understand and accept who I am.
Maintaining a balance between work and my family is an everyday hurdle to overcome. Aside from being a military spouse, being a mother has its own set of responsibilities. As a family, we are constantly adapting to each place we move to and doing the best we can to adjust during the transition. This includes finding a neighborhood, a house, jobs, school districts, and everything in between, all while knowing it won’t be our forever home.
Calling my family for help was never an option for us while raising our daughter. Our daughter is also highly involved in multiple extracurricular activities. When my workday ends, we’re off to piano lessons, gymnastics practice, or a soccer game. Being a military spouse and working mother, I’ve realized that sometimes balance means there are sacrifices to be made. Instead of putting myself out there to meet new friends in a new state, I will always be mom first. I often feel like there is never enough time in a day to accomplish everything I want to, but each day is a learning opportunity. When we first moved to Massachusetts, I decided to do something for myself and my daughter. Together, we attended a summer camp for three months before I started my current job, and it was one of the best decisions I could have made.
How has your role as a military spouse prepared you for roles in the workforce?
Being a military spouse, I’ve never been able to answer the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” While I’m gaining a variety of career experience, military spouses are typically offered entry-level positions. We aren’t guaranteed the chance to build up seniority or move up to higher positions because we often move from place to place. I’ve worked a mix of different jobs throughout my life, but this one [at Premise] is different. I’ve discovered there are several lessons I’ve learned from being a military spouse that overlap in my role as a nurse. In occupational health, there is no such thing as an everyday routine. As an occupational health nurse, I have to be prepared to dodge any curveball that comes my way. But lucky for me, I’ve conquered this skill my whole life as a military spouse.
I’ve found success in this career for many reasons. Each day at work, I’m evolving and applying the learnings I’ve gained as a military spouse to my job, my patients, and my team. Since joining Premise, my team and director have understood what being a military spouse means. They remain flexible as I continue to improve my work-life balance. It’s not every job where your peers accept you for being a military spouse or, let alone know what exactly that entails. But here, I am heard and understood by those around me, and because of that I’m growing as a nurse, mother, and wife.
The Big Picture as a Military Spouse
You don’t get to decide what happens in your life, but it’s up to you to make the most of it. If I had never met my husband, I would have never become a military spouse and missed out on several opportunities. The experience I’ve gained has allowed me to accomplish things I never saw coming, including finishing school, pursuing my master’s degree, and significantly advancing my career. I was even offered a spot in a pilot military education program called MyCAA, which funded my bachelor’s degree in nursing, leading me to where I am today.
Not every location has been glamorous, but each place has held its own set of surprises. At times, I thought the place we had to move to was going to be the worst experience, but I ended up gaining something great from it. When we were stationed in Oklahoma, we lived 45 minutes away from the closest mall and three hours to the closest city. Oddly enough, during that time we came across some people who are now our closest friends 14 years later.
One of my biggest takeaways during times of transition is not to be afraid of change. I’ve learned to accept change, and now I find myself looking forward to what’s next. Through each move, location, job, and chapter, there has been a purpose. Being a military spouse has never been easy, but I do know it has provided me a better life.
Thank you to all military spouses and their families for the sacrifices you make so that your spouses can defend our freedom.
Premise Health recognizes the value military veterans and spouses bring to the workforce. We have a dedicated program for attracting and retaining military talent. In addition, we provide a variety of resources for military veterans and spouses with a focus on creating opportunities for advancement to their greatest career potential. With over 800 locations across most of the United States, Premise is well positioned to accommodate the mobility needs of military spouses throughout their careers.
For more information on how Premise is working to support veterans and military spouses in fulfilling their career goals, click here.