The Naked Truth: Emily’s Story

The Naked Truth: Real Military Spouses Share Their Employment Stories - Emily's Story

Emily immigrated from Russia at 18 and says that experience prepared her for the adventure of military life. Although moving around has delayed her career progression in the human resources field, she has just landed a GS job that she hopes will put her on a career path she can take with her to future assignments. She says it is like checking the last box, and she is happy that her life feels complete.

When I was working in Montana, I was working as a social worker and I became a good friend with one girl. Her husband and my (now) husband were best friends. So when my husband was stationed in Spokane, they introduced us. I just quit my job to move with my husband, and I wasn’t really planning to work until we moved to a different station because he only had one year left. And then I just became bored, so I applied to the CDC and got a job because it seemed to me this is the easiest job I could have gotten. So I just applied to CDC and worked there for about a year until we PCS’d (to Washington DC).

I started working in downtown DC. That was my first human resources job. I wanted to do something different and human resources was something I was interested in. I loved my job so much. Meeting new people, having this busy schedule, payroll, and the people I worked with. It was just a good environment. It was just perfect. If you describe your perfect job where you feel like you want to go, you want to get up and go, that would be it. That’s why I liked that place. And the boss was great, the president of the company. He was taking care of their employees and my pay was good.

(I felt) good, like I was going up the ladder, a ladder I wanted to start climbing. I felt like I accomplished things.

I was really happy with my job position, the people I was working with, the responsibilities I had to do. Honestly, my husband knows that if he was not in the military I really would like to be professional. I would really love to make a career in human resources. So I was real upset to leave because now I feel like every time I have to start from the bottom. So I didn’t want to go (to Misawa).

I just always wanted a career but, like I said, being married to a military man, you know you have to sacrifice something.

He keeps telling me maybe when he retires I will start my career, but I don’t think I will want to at this age. I mean, it’s not that important. I’m happy where I am, but for your own satisfaction that you did something in life you want to say, “I have a degree and I’m a professional.” That’s important to me. I don’t know why. I think everybody wants to be successful in life.

(Emily goes on to talk about her next assignments in Japan and Turkey, where she had two children and became a stay-at-home mom.)

It was just a different job, staying at home, and I figured I’m still going to try to apply for a GS position. So I was fine. Plus I didn’t trust anybody to take care of my kids when they were that age. Even if I had a job, I don’t think I would be going back to work so soon.

For some reason we have been so lucky with our assignments. Every assignment we’ve been happy about, and every time we were ready to go. We were ready to start from the beginning because we enjoy the change of scenery. Even with my job in DC, we were ready to go. We wanted adventure, especially when we found out we’re going to Japan. We can just travel and enjoy.

I still think I loved my job in D.C. It’s been six years? I still think that was the best employment I had. But I can’t think, “Oh I wish I stayed there.” That’s not what I chose. I chose to be married to a military guy so something better will come up.

Then another thing I was thinking if I get a GS position, I will be able to go up.

(Now in Germany, Emily explains that she has just accepted a job offer as a GS employee in a human resources function.)

I’m excited, but also I was doing good. I mean, I was enjoying it too because I like to exercise. So when I drop my kids I go to exercise. I do some groceries. I do whatever, clean the house. You know, just me time. But I can’t say no to a job in HR. (I can) get that experience, so I can start climbing the ladder in (the) GS (system). At least in the back of my mind I know that I will have preference when I go to a new place to get a job. It will be much easier for me to get a job if I want it. So it just gives that security feeling of, “Okay, that’s it. I’m in.”

What do you think you’ll get out of this job for yourself?

I guess just that fulfillment that I’m back being a career woman. It’s not like I have anything against staying home moms, but I always knew that I’m not going to stay home forever. I always knew that I’m going to start looking for a job and I just want to be busy. I just want to do something besides clean the house and take care of my kids. I love my kids. But it’s my time. I go and I do something. And I still want to go up the ladder.

It makes me happy. I don’t know how to explain it. Like inside of me, it’s like a “check box.”

And now that checks the box in me. The kids are taken care of, and every aspect of my life seems good. We are in Germany, we are enjoying it. So there are all these little check boxes, and then there’s this thing like, “What am I going to do with myself?” And then finally this is like the perfect ending to the story. Just check the box. You are in.

I hear these people talking about their bad days, but to me we are lucky.

We’re lucky on all our assignments. We were lucky that we got our degree before kids. We did that check box. I’m happy with our military career and myself. There’s nowhere to go for me. It’s taken care of.

My husband was my Prince Charming who came and rescued me. He took me out of that hole. No offense to anybody from Montana. He took out me out that hole and just pretty much said, “Here, do whatever you want.” And he has always been supportive of me. That’s important too. He’s always been supportive with me getting an education. He was supporting me not having a job if that’s what I wanted. And he’s happy that I’m happy.

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