Whose needs are most important in a military family?

Now that we are out of Germany, The Man is no longer non-deployable (though, his current job is deployable only by volunteering).  What a nice few years that was.  At the same time, he had so many wonderful opportunities to experience extraordinary parts of his career field.

Being Security Forces is thought to be such a linear field.  You start as a minion, working the gate, checking IDs, sitting on the flight line, watching airplanes, running scenarios.  You work on patrol, responding to lost and found dogs, domestic disturbances, DUIs, underage drinking in the dorms, and, occasionally, a schizophrenic waving around a sword.  You eventually graduate to minion sergeant and do things such as desk sergeant, flight chief, work the back office in training or orderly room and the like.  And, when you have done enough, you do those same things in different capacities for 20 years.

You can settle into that life, or you can heed the advice of exceptional supervisors and other leadership along the way and do something.  You learn what the Equal+ listing is, where to look for job openings and opportunities, and keep your eyes peeled.  You search out opportunities and network (it really works in the military world just as it does in the real world).  The Man didn’t try just once for the job in Germany, but when he had the best references and the retainability, we finally left North Dakota.

But, then what?  What happens after the cool tour is done?  Some people can make that cool work drag on for many, many years.  We knew people in Europe who had been there well beyond the 3-4 year tour.  Well, I certainly don’t have that answer.  I have been encouraging my husband to follow his dream of nursing.  What a wonderful opportunity for our family.  If accepted to the program, The Man would finish up school, commission and be on his way in the medical world.  Specifically what interests him is being a flight nurse.  Since we were kids, it is what he has wanted to do.  He loves the fast paced, critical care of it all.

However, he battles with the idea of doing something more.  He is torn with the fact that he is mentally and physically equipped to do jobs that others won’t or can’t and the fact that he has a family.  Those “special” jobs aren’t exactly family friendly.  Maybe it is because these career fields are so small that I have this anxiety.  I have never actually met any wives of these jobs.  But, the schooling, itself, keeps him away from home more than an unaccompanied Korea tour would.  And, the jobs, well…I don’t know if our family is cut out for that life.

But, who is supposed to deny themselves, here?  Do we let our family take on the sacrifice for the sake of the job and the people who are affected by it?  Or, does my husband take on the sacrifice of not being fulfilled, even though there are other options out there?

It isn’t as if these questions are new ones.  He has always wanted to do something more.  But, at what cost?

This isn’t a post to complain – but a pretty candid look at the thought process behind changing careers.


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