Be all that you can be: be an “errand runner?”
The JDNews (Jacksonville, NC) clearly hasn’t taken the pulse of the military community lately or they are working off of all of the stereotypes reinforced in part by the military community (see my previous posts). That is the only reason I can think of why they would publish an article entitled, “12 great jobs for military spouses” that includes such illustrious careers as: child care/babysitting, errand running, pet sitter and let’s not forget my favorite: being a temp.
This despite their citation of the Blue Star Families lifestyles survey which indicates that “84% of spouses have some college, 25% have a bachelor’s degree, and 10% have an advanced degree.” Clearly those 84% of spouses are looking to be an errand runner, right? WRONG! Believe it or not, military spouses aspire to be more than wrist bling to their service members. We have our own career aspirations. That message doesn’t come across very well because most working spouses are not the ones sitting around having coffee klatches in the middle of the afternoon. They are off running companies, editing books, lobbying Congress, researching the natural world, teaching at every level, nursing and diagnosing the sick and afflicted, and generally out busting their butts and taking names. The message of working spouses doesn’t get through because we are so busy keeping the plates spinning, we aren’t dominating the conversation. It’s easy for us to fall through the cracks.
And when we do speak up and ask for recognition of our careers, our lives, and our desires, we are threatened by people who think we ought to get back in our place (see the latest comment by David on my previous post).
While the JDNews clearly insulted most military spouses and they owe us an apology, now seems like a good time to look ourselves in the mirror and ask what we can do to get the message out that we are more than just spouses. We have real lives, goals, dreams, and aspirations that need not be set aside because of who we married/with whom we partnered. We need to change the conversation or we will be reading articles about what great “errand runners” we can be 10 yrs from now.
Grab your bullhorns ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to get loud!
*Author’s Note: I want to be clear that I believe men and women have the right to choose any career they want, including no career. I just don’t think it is appropriate to continually have the military and other organizations, including JDNews tell us what we are allowed to be or misconstrue what we capabilities we have. In fact, I have done some of these jobs and at one point I worked as a servant, so I would never denigrate any work any military spouse does. I just think we need to lay down stereotypes about what military spouses are capable of being.