Military Life: Job Searching from Across the County

I’ve officially been applying for jobs in Wisconsin since April 25th!

So far I’ve had two interviews (both with the same company) and I’m waiting for an official job offer early in June (not to jinx myself, but it sounds very promising that I will get the position!)

Having only ever applied for local jobs, I had no idea what to expect when I started this process.

Here are two of my “tips” that I’ve gathered so far!

#1: Be very clear about your relocation in your cover letter. I used something like this:

“I am looking forward to permanently relocating to Wisconsin this summer as my husband transitions out of the military and we return home.”

  • Let them know this is not a “if I get a job I’ll move” type of situation and that you are serious about moving.
  • Be as specific about the date as possible (in my case, I am willing to move before my husband gets out if I get a job, so I put “summer” rather than his actual EAS date)

At first, I was unsure about mentioning my husband or the military. I feel that military spouses in particular often mesh themselves with their husband’s career more so than other non-military spouses. However, this experience taught me to not be afraid of using the “military card”, because it ended up getting me an interview!

#2: Phone Interviews: After completing my first phone screening I was contacted from the agency again and informed that they wanted to move forward with me as a candidate and schedule an in person interview.

This was challenging for me. On one hand, I completely understand that a company would want to meet a candidate in person before offering a job. However, because I’m out of state, it’s a little illogical for them to expect me to spend upwards of $1k to fly out just for an interview.

After discussing it with my husband, my mom (who owns her own business and hires employees often) and other military spouses who have been through the same situation…I decided to be very clear about my situation and offer only a phone or Skype interview.

Initially, my offer was declined and they passed over me as a candidate. It was disappointing, because I really wanted the job, but I felt confident in my choice. It is just not realistic for my husband and I to spend that kind of money for an interview when we are preparing to EAS.

Here is where my comment about using the “military card” comes into play. I got a call later that week from the same company asking me to do a phone interview. They had discussed my situation with the hiring manager (who is former military) and they decided to make an exception for me because of my qualifications for the position. YAY!

Phone interviews are tough! It’s hard to hear if you are on speaker phone, people talk over each other, and you can’t judge facial expressions…your voice has to fully represent you as a person.

At the end of my interview I then offered to fly out and meet them; I wanted to be considered equally to locally candidates, and because I am very interested in the position, I am willing to make the trip now that they are seriously considering me for the position.

This is where my story ends. Right now I’m waiting for a call back by June 9th either offering me the job (which seems to be the way things will go) or asking me to fly out for another in-person interview. I suppose the other option is no call back and not getting the job…but I’m thinking positive!

All in all, this job searching experience has been a huge learning opportunity! But I’ll be glad when it’s over and I’ve secured an awesome job!

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EAS Fears

Well, looks like our time as a military family will be coming to an end in a few months. Jeremy has decided to EAS at the end of his current (second) enlistment, after nearly 9 years of service in the Marine Corps.

It’s a decision that I still struggle with. I am happy as a military family; it’s a life that I have thrived in during the last 7 years, and I imagine I would continue to be content for another 11 years until retirement.

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Jeremy is a wonderful Marine. He will be promoted this year if he stays in, and I know it’s hard for him to walk away from a career that he has dedicated 9 years too. I know it will be a struggle for him to start over, to go to college and be the “old” guy applying for jobs.

I also can’t help feeling responsible for this decision. Jeremy is getting out because he doesn’t want to have children in the military. He has seen his co-workers break down on deployments being away from their children. Combined with his own less than stellar childhood, he doesn’t want that life for our future children. Because I am the one who wants children in the next few years, this decision to EAS now is being sparked because of me.

Logically, I realize that it’s not all on me. It’s his choice, and I need to respect that.

But I’m afraid he will come to regret this choice. I’m afraid he won’t be happy with a civilian career. I’m afraid that I won’t be as happy away from the military life. I’m afraid we will struggle financially and I won’t be able to be a stay-at-home mom. I’m afraid we will struggle financial in general. I have so many worries and fears.

But I suppose that is normal with such a big change.

I’m trying to think of the positives…being near family, buying a house, no more moving, being able to settle into a career, having my husband home every night, etc.

breath in…breath out!

5 months and counting down!

TBT: Surviving Deployment – the first few weeks

The next time I heard from Jeremy was the following morning, he was at the airport in Maine waiting for his next flight on the journey to Afghanistan. We chatted briefly, but he didn’t have much time to talk other than to check in with me.

Three days later, I finally got the call that he had made it safe and was all settled in on base.

I remember driving to school on that third day with no contact, it was the longest we had gone without talking to each other.

When that “unknown” number showed up on my phone, I immediately pulled over and excitedly answered the call. It was such a huge relief to finally hear his voice.

For the remainder of his deployment we had regular contact with each other. He was never able to get his Skype to work very well, but we always had email and sometimes phone calls.

Talking to other military wives who were also going through deployments at the same time, taught me to be very grateful for the communication that I did have.

I never had to wait weeks to hear from my husband; wondering if he was safe, wondering if he was injured, wondering if I would get that knock on my door.

Every deployment experience is different, and most of that has to due with the service members job.

Jeremy’s job involves being on a base working on aircraft and having computer access. Which means that we were blessed with frequent contact and I was never in fear for his safety.

There was an element of danger, of course. He was in Afghanistan during a time of war.

But compared to many of the other spouses that I knew, who were married to service members that were infantry or had another more dangerous job, my deployment experience was tame.

And that is something that I will always be appreciate.

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TBT: Afghanistan Deployment

Jeremy left for his first deployment to Afghanistan on November 3, 2010.

76606_453861516818_6808194_nHe had to report to Camp Pendleton around 2 am to get his weapon and load up on the busses so they could drive to March AFB and fly out.

We decided not to sleep that night, instead we stayed up cuddling on the couch watching movies and enjoying our last few hours together.

I was surprisingly unemotional the entire day. He loaded up his bags and we drove his truck to base. He checked out his weapon. We waited around for a few hours (because it’s the military and there is always waiting lol).

He left with a fairly small group of Marine, probably 25-30. The rest of the unit had left a few days prior and his detachment would meet up with them in Afghanistan.

A few other wives were there, only about 4-5. Most were crying. A few left before the busses came, probably to get home and get their kids to bed.

One other wife stayed until the busses left. I didn’t know her at the time, but we ended up being good friends when her husband and Jeremy became friends during deployment.

I didn’t cry when he got on that white bus. I didn’t cry when it drove away. I didn’t cry when I drove home.

But when I got home and saw the gifts that Jeremy had left me; a teddy bear with a voice box in each hand that he had recorded with his voice, flowers, and my favorite chocolate; I cried.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

And when I woke up in the morning; alone. One day down out of 7 months; the end seeming so very far away…I cried again, for the last time of that deployment.

I missed my husband, of course. But I felt that the best thing I could do for him during this deployment was to be strong. Be strong for him so all he needed to worry about what his job. He didn’t need to worry about me, about if I was sad or depressed. He had a job to do, and my job was to help him do that job to the best of his ability.

To be continued….

Don’t Cry

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around the internet about the latest Teen Mom 2 episode that aired on Tuesday.

I finally caught up a few days late and just finished watching it (one of the drawbacks of having your husband home is that you no longer have free reign over the TV lol)

Speaking of having my husband home, the main “drama” I’ve been hearing about the latest episode is Leah’s constant nagging of her husband when he goes out of town. She complains every time he leaves.

The one part that stuck with me most was at the end of the episode when he is talking about going on a five week job, she said that she can’t pretend to be happy when he leaves.

As a military wife, I’ve said “good-bye” to my husband many times; for as short of a time as a few weeks, to upwards of 7 months.

Now, I’m not saying that she doesn’t have the right to complain because “other people have it worse”.  My reasoning in pointing out my own experience in because I’ve come to learn how important it is to “pretend” to be happy when your spouse has to leave.

He doesn’t want to leave. Whether he is going out of town for a five week job, or going to Afghanistan for a year long deployment, I believe that no husband wants to leave his wife. And her certainly doesn’t want to leave his children. 

Crying about it, complaining about it, telling him how sad you are and how you don’t want him to go; all that does is make him feel even worse for leaving you. Because now he is dealing not only with his own feelings of separation and sadness, but he is responsible for your pain. He is the cause of your tears and the reason that you are sad.

So my advice to Leah, and to all military spouses, is to try to pretend a bit; for him. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be honest about your feelings and let him know that you will miss him. But crying about it and complaining about it isn’t going to make him stay (at least not in the military); and it’s likely only going to make him feel even worse about having to leave. 

So try to be a strong partner for him; because that’s what he needs most. 

ImageSaying good-bye to my husband when he left for his first deployment to Afghanistan; 11/3/10

What’s In A Name? – Link-up

I’m a day late, but I wanted to participate in this link-up! The prompt is asking bloggers to share the story behind their blog name:

My current blog is actually the second blog I’ve ever created. I decided to deactivate the first one after I started developing my career in Graduate School…I didn’t want client’s to be able to Google me and find my personal blog. Awkward!

So I switched formats (from Blogger to WordPress) and created a new blog, one that wasn’t attached to my full legal name.

I took the opportunity of starting a new blog to also create a new title. My current title is actually part of a quote that I very much relate to:

This quote first came to me when I was searching for “positive deployment quotes” when my husband was first deployed, back in 2010.

I’m a huge advocate of keeping a positive mindset during deployment, I think its is one of the major things that can help military spouses not only survive deployments, but to thrive.

There is no denying that there are many negative things about deployments, and I promise you, if you focus on them the time will drag by and you will likely be unhappy for most of that time.

On the other hand, if you look beyond those negative things, you can actually have a shot at happiness during deployment. A positive attitude makes the time fly by so much faster than wallowing in the misery and loneliness. A positive attitude helps your spouse maintain focus on deployment, since they aren’t worried about you or feeling additional guilt for your unhappiness.

The quote choice is also the reason why I chose the cover photo that I currently have, it was from my husband’s first homecoming from Afghanistan.

The smiles say it all.

Military life can be filled with many “imperfections”, but there are also many beautiful moments, like homecomings.

So I choose to be happy. Not because my life is perfect (there are deployments, trainings, work-ups, etc.), but because I chose to see the positives in my life and look beyond the imperfections.

Pre-Ball Photo-shoot at Sunset Cliffs

I wanted to share some photos from the pre-ball shoot I did last weekend.

I was looking forward to this shoot for weeks! I checked out the location, research the poses I wanted to try, and the entire week leading up I would longingly stare at the sunsets, anticipating beautiful lighting for my session. Then on the night we were scheduled to shoot, it was cloudy! No stunning lighting, no sunset. Just clouds. Thankfully the couple was stunning enough to compensate for the lack of beauty in nature.

Location: Sunset Cliffs, San Diego

Photographer: Alison V. Photography
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Which is it?

I have recently noticed a hypocrisy within the military significant other community, and I wonder if I am the first to observe this.

One of my big pet peeves with military significant others are those who think their service members, and their relationship, is “better” than a civilian. I can’t help but cringe everything I see an Instagram or Facebook insulting and putting down civilians. As if joining the military automatically makes a man better or a relationship better.

And yet at the same time, I constantly see women lamenting about how difficult being a military spouse is, and how undesirable it is.

I can’t find the photo of the other e-card I saw, but it was something along the lines of “you think being a military wife is romantic? You must like being alone”

I also saw one that said “I didn’t choose this life, I chose him. I wouldn’t be a MilSO if I had a choice”

So which is it?

Is being a military spouse a fairytale romance that is beyond what any civilian relationship could be? Or is it an undesirable burden that no woman would voluntarily wish for? You can’t have it both ways ladies!

“at least he isn’t deployed”

I wanted to write a post about something I’ve noticed among the Military Significant Other (Milso) community which, from my observations via FB and Instagram, mostly comes from younger military s/o who think their relationship is “better” because they are with somebody in the military. (see my previous post for my opinion on that issue)

The issue of “deserving” to miss your partner.

It tends to have many forms. My favorite example is the girl who sees a FB post of her friend complaining about missing her boyfriend while he is away for the weekend and proceeds to comment “at least he isn’t deployed like mine”.

First of all, thats just openly rude. Second of all, it’s like being mad at somebody for eating a cupcake because you’re on a diet. 

There is no comparison, and the whole “who has it worse” game has no winner. The Army wife can tell all the Marine wives that they don’t deserve to complain because they have 12 month deployments compared to 7 months. Then the Marine wives can all gang up on the Navy wives and their 6 month deployments. And the poor Air Force wives always loose with their 4 month deployments. (FYI – I’m generalizing the lengths of deployments, I know it varies depending on jobs within each branch). And let’s not forget the widows who will always “win”, they will never get to see their spouses again, so how dare everyone else complain about a deployment.

So let’s all stop that argument and agree that being away from the person you love sucks and you will miss them no matter how long of a time they are gone.

So why can’t civilian women miss their men when they are gone?

Just because it’s not 6 + months doesn’t mean they don’t miss them. I think it’s pretty normal, and healthy, to miss your partner when they are gone. I would be more concerned about their relationship if they didn’t miss them.

And finally, for a civilian, a weekend is a long time. For a military s/o, a weekend may seem like nothing, because we are used to more and we expect more. But civilian couples are not used to more, and there is nothing wrong with that.

So, in conclusion: Everyone “deserves” to miss their partner, no matter how long they are gone.

What Deployment Means to Me

I made this list while Jeremy was deployed last time (Nov 2010 – May 2011), adding things as they happened. Some are happy, some are sad, but that’s the way deployments go. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback and compliments on this list, I think almost all military spouses can relate to it, even if you didn’t go through the same experiences as me during deployment (moving by yourself, graduating college, etc.).  So enjoy, and let me know what you think.

  • Deployment means spreading out over the entire couch and wishing you had less space
  • It means making dinner and having left overs, because your not used to cooking for one
  • It means holding your phone in your hands during a movie so you don’t miss a call and jumping every time it vibrates
  • Deployment means forgetting to check the mail for the first week he is gone because that used to be his responsibility
  • It means tearing up whenever a patriotic song comes on the radio, because even though you hate being away from your other half, you couldn’t be more proud of him and what he is doing to serve his country
  • It means getting to watch all the chick flicks you want because you don’t have to share the TV
  • Deployment means having a smile on your face the entire day, just because you got a 15-minute phone call
  • It means getting excited to wake up every morning because you know you have an email waiting for you
  • Deployment means taking multiple trips to bring in your groceries
  • It means maintaining two vehicles; oil changes, registration, etc.
  • It means having to pay all the bills
  • Deployment means waking up in the middle of the night to skype and not caring that you’re losing sleep
  • It means trying to look as cute as you can for that middle of the night skype dates
  • It means doing things you have no experience in because he isn’t there to take care of its, like changing a tire by yourself and setting up a TV
  • Deployment means not only talking to your cat, but having a full-blown conversation with him
  • It means watching every football game so you can report back the highlights to him
  • It means taking pictures of everything you do so that he can still feel involved in your life
  • Deployment means crying over a letter from Afghanistan because you can’t believe how lucky you are to be married to such an amazing man
  • It means figuring out how to ship strange objects….like golf clubs
  • It means becoming obsessed with crafts because it keeps you busy on those lonely nights
  • Deployment means being grateful everyday that he is alive and that you somebody so wonderful to miss, because not everyone who says goodbye to their husband for a deployment gets to welcome them home
  • It means spending the holidays alone, but not being sad, because you know that you have the rest of your lives together to celebrate birthdays and anniversaires
  • It means girls night, is every night!
  • Deployment means having the post office lady recognize you because you mail out so many care packages
  • It means stressing about picking out the right apartment because you don’t want your husband to hate it when he gets home
  • It means trying to pick out an apartment when you’re 7,000+ miles away from each other and all you have is one email a day = nearly impossible!
  • Deployment means feeling happy/jealous when someone else gets their homecoming, because even though you are so happy for them that their husband is home, it hurts inside that it’s not you
  • It means packing and unpacking the entire house on your own
  • It means being so thankful that you have such amazing friend to help you move
  • Deployment means coming to a point when you realize that living alone feels normal and you’ve forgotten what it feels like to live with your husband
  • It means having to be the man around the house: hanging up pictures, assembling furniture, and fixing the broken washing machine
  • Deployment means forgetting the sound of his voice, the smell of his skin and the feel of his touch
  • It means that while everyone else knows exactly how many days are left till graduation, the only day you are counting down to is homecoming
  • Deployment means welcoming your husband home after 7 months, because no matter how many ups and downs you go through during deployment, there is always an end: Homecoming! And holding him again makes it all worth it