bahama wrote:I spent 10yrs as an officer in the Navy and my experience doesn’t match a lot of what was said above.
Very few of the officer’s wives I know (college educated, many with professional degrees) continued working full time after having kids. The biggest part of it is the difficulty of working while being a de facto single parent much of the time while the military spouse is deployed or gone for training. Combine this with the fact that they don’t need to work for economic reasons, and that it is harder to stay upwardly mobile in a career when you are moving every few years, sometime to less than desirable locations, and it is not really surprising that a lot of people make this choice. A lot of these people said they were going to keep working after having kids, but decided it wasn’t worth it once they had to live it for a while.
I don't know any officer's wives who worked on base or for the federal gov’t, unless they were also in the military. This may be different at some of the AF and Army bases in the middle of nowhere where there aren’t any professional jobs available outside the base.
If you are married to someone in the military, the policy is to try and keep you in the same area. This is a lot easier if you are both in the same service since you could be assigned to the same base. If you are in different services, they will still try but there is a lot more coordination involved and you are more likely to end up in a situation where you are say at different bases 100 miles apart and split the difference by living somewhere in the middle.
Having said all that, I also know officer’s wives who were doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, defense contractors/consultants, engineers, nurses, teachers, paralegals, or even had their own businesses. The thing to remember is the military spouse’s career path is going to be different because you have to move every three years or so and sometimes they end up living in places that may not have the best career opportunities for them. So it is much easier to do with a “portable” or high demand career.
Making career sacrifices for your significant other at some point is true in pretty much any field, not just the military.
Not to take away from the post in general (which seems to mirror just about every piece of advice I've been given by officers in several branches), I think the bolded might be the most credited, on-point advice on the topic yet.