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The Military Family: ‘I’m not just this spouse on the side with gaps in between experiences. I am more than that’ Military wife finds purpose in flexible career

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo (KRDO) -- Carving your own career as a military spouse is a challenge, to say the least.

Multiple moves prove to be hurdles in momentum; the restarts are no minimal hiccups in progression.

Add in a growing family, and the obligations increase.

But amid the responsibilities in her supportive role as a wife and mother, Dei Jimenez found purpose through the many resources in southern Colorado, dedicated to helping spouses of military members find jobs of their own.

"How do I tell them I'm worthy with all my big gaps in between?" recounts Jimenez, looking back on her job search.  She was on track to become a store manager for a national retail chain, but the hours were not conducive to family life. 

Dei Jimenez works from her home office

As her husband -- who is currently stationed at Ft. Carson -- was considering transitioning to the civilian world, there was a wealth of resources she stumbled upon.

"They were trying to get him helping him with his resumes and everything. And I'm the one who kinda peeked my head in and I'm like, 'Do you do anything for spouses?' And they were like, 'We do so much!'"

That's when Jimenez connected with the Mt. Carmel Veteran's Service Center and its Family Services division. Free career services are provided for those looking to transition out of the military, as well as career placement for their spouses.

"There are resources out there for everything. If you feel insecure about your resume, there's a coach out there that can walk you through it. If you feel insecure about your LinkedIn, the way you can do an interview," said Jimenez. 

Soon, her connections led her to the Colorado Springs Military Spouse Career Coalition -- a collaborative partnership with area resources, catering to military members and their families.  It works in tandem with the Regional Business Alliance and Military Affairs Council.

Sallie Clark, the Senior Adviser to the Mayor with the Office of Community Affairs and Government and Military Engagement, sees it as her duty to encourage local businesses to consider these well-equipped applicants.

"There's the military component of the active duty, but there's also the families that are impacted by moving from place to place.  So, how do we at the city provide that hand up to help them to write resumes, to look at policy legislation?" said Clark. "Sometimes [living] in those local communities can be short, and short-lived, and so there is sometimes a tendency for those employers not to hire because the longevity and the potential isn't necessarily there -- and yet those military spouses are well-educated, they certainly have a lot of benefit."

Due to those partnerships and Jimenez's experience, she now telecommutes as an International Project Coordinator with the American Heart Association.

"As a military spouse, mentally, it's really hard to keep your head up, because you're keeping everybody up. I was reminded that I'm not just this spouse on the side with gaps in between experiences. I am more than that."

Here is a list of resources for military families:

Article Topic Follows: Military Family

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Heather Skold

Heather is the evening anchor for KRDO. Learn more about Heather here.


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