I’m not graduating next month, unlike many of my friends on campus. If all goes according to plan, I’m graduating in December 2019. However, some recent talk of graduation over the last couple weeks has triggered employment-related anxiety for me.
I’ve met a lot of people over the course of this semester who, learning I’m working on a master’s in political science, want to know what I plan to do with my degree. I tell them teaching, which is the reason I started my program in the first place, though I realize I’d likely need a Ph.D. to teach at universities and starting a Ph.D. program as a military spouse has its limitations.
I’m also aware that the unemployment rate for military spouses is about four times the national average, and many other military spouses are likely underemployed. I’m sure part of this is the obvious difficulty with pursuing a career while relocating frequently. But military spouses are also often discriminated against in the hiring process itself. I’ve had my own experiences with potential employers asking me when my husband is getting transferred and getting frustrated when I tell them that I honestly don’t know.
A few people have advised me not to tell interviewers I’m a military spouse. I’m sure they meant well, but what am I supposed to tell interviewers when they ask how I ended up in Colorado? I don’t think telling them, “That’s none of your business,” will go over well. There’s also the issue that not being open in interviews and starting a professional relationship on a lie isn’t advisable either.
I’ve met other military spouses who’ve given up working entirely because, as they put it, what’s the point if they’re just going to spend their entire paycheck on childcare anyway?
Knowing I should start applying to full-time jobs in a few months, I know I should feel more optimistic and have a more positive attitude, but it’s hard not thinking about potential interviews with a sense of dread.
I’ve been coping by focusing on activities I enjoy, like writing, submitting my manuscript to publishers, and entering a writing contest. Of course, I’m aware that writing jobs aren’t exactly lucrative either, though at least I’m getting some fun out of it.