Guest Author - Marie Indyk
Landing a new job after every PCS move can be a struggle. Many spouses of service members find themselves struggling to fill their time, especially if they do not have children to look after.
An ideal way to establish connections on a new base is through volunteer work. Volunteering allows you to work in your area of interest and also offers valuable job training and experience. Also, if you are interested in moving into a paid position, volunteers are usually the first to learn of job openings in their department. Since they have already demonstrated their ability and reliability they are typically the first to be considered for open positions.
If you are interested in volunteering, contact the family readiness or community service center on your installation. Most centers will have you fill out a form detailing your interests and experience. You will then meet with a representative who will offer placement options according to your background and preferences. Some centers offer job experience training in which a volunteer works 20 hours a week for 12 weeks and receives a certificate and a recommendation letter from their supervisor. Another perk of volunteering is free child care vouchers for on base family daycare.
Volunteer opportunities are plentiful on military installations and almost everyone can find something to suit their interests. Jobs range from coaching baseball to assisting in the legal office. If you have a degree in an area such as counseling you may be suited for the family advocacy office or if you prefer working with children, the DOD schools are always seeking volunteers in the classroom and for traffic control. Many opportunities also are available in the clinics and hospitals on base.
Volunteers are critical to the military community and they are not taken for granted. Awards and recognition ceremonies are held frequently to honor installation volunteers. Volunteering your time is a great way to network for possible job openings, gain some valuable experience, and make some new friends. Get on out there and give it a try!