Oftentimes, I work with clients who are all jazzed about a new work-from-home gig. However, a few months later, they realize that they’re struggling in other areas of their lives. They may be having trouble maintaining friendships, feeling unfulfilled in their marriages, or even letting their health goals lapse.
For many of us, it can end up feeling like whenever we take two steps forward with our careers, we then take one step back in another area of our lives.
This is natural! Whenever our career roles change, even for the better, it’s common for some chaos to follow. That’s when it’s time to take a deep breath and realize that you are far from alone. When taking on a new career goal, task, or entirely new job, take some time to share with your spouse, friends, and other loved ones that you could use their support as you advance your profession while learning how to rebalance your happy relationships.
I know first-hand that working, raising a family, and being a supportive spouse are hard to do all at once! That’s why we’ll be looking at tips for balancing your wealth goals along with those for love and health as we dive into 2018. Plus, for more support, join me at my free monthly telecast.
A Dream Job That Fits Your Needs
When I review career assessment results with spouses, I go through the list of “suggested careers.” While some may be a good fit in terms of skill and interest, I often think, “Well, that won’t work with military life,” or “Sure, I could see this client starting their own online business. But what if their husband comes back from deployment and feels like he was left out of this big decision?”
There is a LOT more to finding a perfect career fit when it comes to military families—we simply have to do much more balancing than the average job seekers. To help guide this journey, I suggest spouses seeking new careers read both Do What You Are by Paul Tieger and colleagues and the authors’ other book, Just Your Type: Create the Relationships You’ve Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type. Our health, work, and relationships are all so interconnected that I’ve started calling myself a military life coach instead of a military spouse career coach; it’s all the same process of taking baby steps from where we are to where we ideally want to be.
So, when searching for a dream job that meets your interests, desired pay, skills, and logistics, remember to also take these other areas of your life into consideration. After all, working 60 hours a week in a high-pressure firm may excite you and pay quite well, but the time away from your family (and the gym) will also take a toll!
Self-Care Beyond Career Coaching
I work with my own life coach named Amy. Usually I plan to use my coaching hour to talk about growing my business, encouraging more military spouses to sign up for my mailing list, or balancing work with being a mom. However, I’ve also been known to spend my whole hour rehashing an argument I had with my husband of eighteen years.
While I know that getting into arguments is typical for any marriage, I love having her ear and reassurance that arguing from time to time is perfectly normal. She often assigns me extra research to dig into after I hang up. After all, just as we network, keep up with the latest news, listen to podcasts, and read books about our jobs, we can also get encouragement and tips for our relationships from these sources.
Following her advice, here are a few suggestions I’ve picked up for debriefing after an argument with one’s spouse:
- Talk to a life coach or friend that you fully trust about the issue—chances are, they’ve been through the same thing. Even if they don’t have any tips for moving forward, just being reassured that your experience is totally normal can be so important for self-care.
- Write out and read over crucial conversations or arguments you’ve had. Try to see things from your spouse’s perspective. For example, my first impulse upon tripping over the slippers my husband left at the bottom of the stairs (yet again!) is to yell at him for being irresponsible. However, if I try to think about how tired he must have been slipping them off at the end of a long day, I can feel a bit kinder when talking to him about the issue.
- If, like me, you’re sometimes too angry to attempt the first few exercises, try going to the library and checking out books like the Five Love Languages instead. While your irritated self may initially feel full of judgement (“this author sounds so 1950s!”), after you calm down, you’ll likely find a useful nugget or at least some empathy. I find that every book and suggestion makes me realize that my arguments with my spouse are totally normal. I also feel validated that there are so many resources out there on the topic of marriage—more than a few of us can clearly use guidance!
Working Around the Military
I know I’m not alone when it comes to using a whole coaching hour to vent about my husband and his career. After all, as important as our work on the home front is, shaping our careers around our spouses’ makes our non-spouse jobs extra hard. So, it can really help to process relationship struggles aloud in a trusted space.
I have so many military spouse clients who come to me for career counseling but clearly have a lot more on their minds. As we discuss their careers, I often hear a lot of resentment in their voices towards the military—as proud as we are to serve our country, it makes sense that a lot of us get exhausted from the constant maneuvering and sacrifice it requires. Spouses oftentimes end up settling for underemployment and then, years later, wish that they had earned enough to set aside money for their retirement.
While I help spouses position themselves as best they can while providing support and accountability when it comes to finding work, there truly is no magic wand. Simply put, handling multiple moves and deployments is hard. And, for some clients, adding traditional work on top of everything puts too much additional stress on the marriage and the home life. It may not be a full-time, office-based, high-stress job that serves you best—finding the career path that fits your various needs, including those that support your relationships and self-care, requires some in-depth communication. Between you and your coach, you and your family, and, perhaps most importantly, you and yourself.
Learn More at This Month’s Free Webinar
This month I’m offering a free teleclass on how to create a vision for your marriage and other relationships. I really hope that you’ll join me as we walk through the process and learn how a relationship vision board is different from a regular vision board. We’ll also discuss why it’s so powerful to create one!
This vision board isn’t just about the law of attraction—it’s also about setting your mind to focus on the aspects of your relationship that you want to see grow or improve while focusing less on the small things you don’t like.
Relationships aren’t easy, but taking this course will equip you with the tools you need to move from where things are now to where you want them to be. This is a content-rich seminar that isn’t aimed at selling you expensive coaching programs—it’s truly an invitation to share struggles and resources with other military spouses.
To learn more and sign up, visit the announcement post. Hope to see you there!