How military spouses can find balance between working and moving

Articles, Home Front |

To alleviate the stress and burden of finding a new job after relocating, consider unconventional, individual work options. There are two primary avenues they can take: starting a business of their own or working remotely for an employer.

A closeup of a woman working on a laptop. Text reads, "Entrepreneurship and remote work are great career options for military spouses."Unconventional working methods can make moving much easier.

Starting a business: Your job moves with you

U.S. Veterans Magazine offered this suggestion, and it's a great way to maintain a consistent job position despite moving so often. Owning a business allows you to manage your time on your terms and alleviates the stress of finding a new employer. If you work purely from home and don't rely on outside resources or vendors, you can easily relocate your physical office.

That said, there are several things to think about before venturing into the world of entrepreneurship. First, you should consider whether you're suited to start your own company. U.S. Veterans Magazine provided a helpful self-assessment, asking readers to examine personal details like:

  • Personal and business goals.
  • Current funds and investment requirements.
  • Existence or lack of family support.

Next, you should critically evaluate your skill set and identify what you can monetize in different locations. If you're moving to Alaska, for example, your talent for raising tropical plants probably won't be in demand. To get started, here are a few careers that are either universally in demand or don't require a local client base:

  • Computer programming.
  • Accounting.
  • Creative services (such as copywriting or graphic design).
  • Tutoring.
  • Child care.

Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, business law and taxes change between states, so relocating isn't a simple matter of moving your computer. To get a basic understanding of the scope of moving your company to a new state, the U.S. Small Business Administration provided a helpful legal guide.

Working remotely: Freedom and flexibility

Remote work, on the other hand, removes much of the complications of owning a business. Remote positions may have been hard to come by in the past, but research shows that attitudes are changing. According to Gallup, the proportion of employees who work from home grew from 39 percent to 43 percent between 2012 and 2016. This type of setup makes military spousal life much easier, allowing you to pack up and move at a moment's notice without leaving your job.

That said, you may need to convince your current employer that remote work is a good option. Point them to Gallup's State of the American Workplace study, which proves that remote work can boost employee engagement. Also note that working from home reduces employee churn and allows you to remain with the company after a move.

However, it's also a good idea to consider your current position before asking about remote work. Based on your job description, how likely is your employer to agree to let you work from home? You may be better off looking for a new company that offers a more flexible policy.

Additionally, even remote work comes with a few struggles. You'll still need to take time off for moving purposes, and you may feel disconnected from certain conversations or alienated from your coworkers. To solve these issues, ask your employer about working flexible hours – for instance, in the mornings and evenings instead of a strict 9 to 5, saving the middle of the day for the move – and travel back to the main office when you can.

Working as the spouse of a servicemember can be stressful, but these suggestions give you more control over your employment.