Facing the military retirement transition Part 1: Are you ever going back to work?

She has a graduate degree but isn’t doing anything with it.

“I’m a full time volunteer.”

Stay at home mom.

“My formal career ended 10 years ago to raise my kids.”

Well, it’s that time for me to start thinking about getting back into the workforce now that my spouse is looking at retirement from the military in only 4 short years. Whenever he thinks about it, the panic sets in for him and he begins to talk about money. “When are you going to get PAID for all this work that you do (volunteering outside the house)?

Are you ever going back to work?

I know these comments are rooted in the fear of not being able to provide once he gets out of the military. I’m not worried however. I say, “We can live in a box if we have to.” I continue to reassure my man by teasing, “Don’t you worry your pretty little head off- I can get a job working anywhere. I can do whatever to make it work.” (I know where my faith lies and Who is holding us up!)

But I don’t want you to just get any job- I want you to have a career.

Awwww. That’s sweet because all his misplaced comments sounded like I needed to get out there and start bringing in some major dough. “I want you to do what you want to do. So… what do you what to do?

Well DING DING DING!!! That right there is THE million dollar question that has been percolating in my mind since this started to come up more and more often starting about a year ago. Now, with our recent move overseas and the decision to start with the kids back into public school this leaves me with many hours free during the day. What am I going to do with all this time?

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True, I could take it easy and eat (or shop) my time here in South Korea away… but something about that just isn’t right. 😉

If you really want to know, I’d like to NOT be so locked into a job so that if things needed to be readjusted for the kids to continue to be homeschooled then I want to be able to do that. I mean, really we only have just a few more years until they graduate high school and move on to “bigger and brighter” opportunities.  (Technically, right now, we have about 6 years left. But, realistically, we probably have less years than that since they are already at the age where they question our sage advice as we are only their crusty old parents who don’t know anything. Are you also thinking back on how YOU or your friends were to your parents back in the day? sigh…)

My criteria…so many things to consider!

Like I was saying, I don’t want to be too set. Too locked into chasing my career. What career? Hmm…I don’t even know what it is!!!!  Somebody please tell me! And what about this new public school schedule? It’s not as flexible as the homeschooling schedule we were used to. School will now end at 1, 2 or 3pm depending on the kid and the day. (Tuesday’s are early release days.) Also, what about summer vacation? What do we do then when I am working through the holidays? What about school cancellations due to inclement weather or teacher workdays? What if they get sick? (They rarely do, but then again, we haven’t been in this situation since they were starting 1st and 2nd grade.)

I know that whatever I do, I would need to be available to continue to be there for my them.  I don’t have to, of course, but I want to. (Thank you God that this is a choice for us as we are not hurting for money.  Living on one paycheck has been more than fine for us all these years; I am grateful for that.)  The kid’s schedule now limits what kind of job/career I can realistically pursue right now. Of course the more mature they get, the more opportunities to allow them space to make more responsible choices- or not. (It will be teaching moments for all! Yay!)

And….since we are still a military family right now, I have to factor in that we will not live here in this place forever. Our home, even though we just relocated here, will be here for a few years- that’s it.  My time here is limited.  So planning to start over in a few years is just a fact of the military life.  That’s just the way it is.

What are my options?

What kind of career direction does this realistically leave for me? I’m thinking something that allows me to work flexible hours or work from home or perhaps working in the evenings (but that’s not likely. I remember my parents doing that and they never really saw each other.) Or, I could focus on going back to school (another degree that I might not use???) if that would help me to gain employment in a specific area.  Volunteering or interning for the purpose of gaining specific work experience in my desired career area are also options. This could be a great way to see what the work could be like and to know if I really want to continue to pursue that field full time later. There are so many thoughts swirling around in my mind as we navigate this change with my spouse’s future military retirement.

Check back here for Part 2 (scheduled to be published on Wed 3 Oct): “What are you passionate about?” Narrowing down what you want to do and gaining feedback from other leaders.

Check back for Part 3 (to be published soon!): “Thoughts on going back to school and gaining experience” Going back to school, gaining experience, and reviewing job listings.

Check back for Part 4 and more: “Job fair preparations, oh my!” “Realignment by trusted friends who have walked the walk.”  … stay tuned for more! (Let me know if you like this series by commenting or sharing these blog posts with others!) Thank you


Subscribe to follow our journey as a family of four moving for the first time from the United States to South Korea! I also blog about other things like foster care, military life and growing spiritually. Look around and click on categories scrolling all the way down below to read the blog posts that might be of interest to you. Feel free to share your thoughts with me as I’d love to hear your experiences and how they relate to mine. Let’s connect! See you online!

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2 comments

  1. I am unsure what lead me to your blog. Currently, I am laying my daughter for a nap and saw your blog post and wanted to read further. You have always been a book of wisdom, rather you realized it or not. All those questions pertaining to working or not are still questions I ask myself and I’m working. It is a big adjustment and much to figure out. My hubbae will be deploying in January, so I will be continuing to pray that God gives me strength and place the right people in my path. Happy Korea! Mail me a goody bag😄

    1. Hi Candace! I’m glad you ‘happened’ across my blog and made a comment! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂 Can I admit that I was surprised when I saw the photo of your classroom!?!?!? I know you just moved as well. So we have a lot in common with what to do with our time. Thanks for sharing that you still have questions even though you move forward. I suppose they will go away over time because we tend to get used to things. I know you didn’t want to experience a move and then a deployment….yet God knew what was in store. I’m glad to have met and worked alongside of you. I know your creative juices and bubbly personality will be a great fit in the work you are currently doing. Is this the type of you work you had hoped to be doing?

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