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Thread: Having a hard time adjusting with my career and Navy life

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    #1

    Having a hard time adjusting with my career and Navy life

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    Hi guys,

    I haven't been on here in awhile and you have all been great in helping me get through some tough situations in the past. My DH is in the Navy. He is an officer on a fast attack submarine. We just got married in April of this year and are adjusting to married/military life. That being said I find it difficult to juggle my career with his. I have read many forums and I know I'm not the only one to feel this way. The thing I'm dealing with right now is that we hardly see each other with mine and his schedule. I feel like some days we live two different lives. Because of work, my DH has had to attend many Navy events alone and I've gotten many questions from the other spouses on why I never attend the wardroom meetings/functions. Mainly the reason is because I work as a nurse on the evening shifts 3-11 pm usually get home around midnight and every event/meeting is usually around this time. I'm thinking of going per diem which would be working only 1 day/week. I know we will lose my income but I would love to be able to actually enjoy our time together here while he is here. He will be deployed again next summer for 6 months and I regretted last time not being able to make a port call overseas with the other spouses. There's no way my job would allow me to take leave on a moment's notice and if I'm only working one day a week this wouldn't be a problem. I wanted to get advice from the spouses on here especially working ones that have strange hours like I do. How do you cope and do you think it would be better for me to cut down on my hours so I can be more present for my husband and the Navy?
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    #2
    While I am a stay at home mom I do have friends who are in that same situation. I know you might even find more info like on Facebook forums if you are on those.

    I had a friend who actually became a school nurse for a little while just so she could have a more normal schedule for a while. But she is back in a hospital now and somehow made it work. Granted this time for her recent deployment she has kids so she didn't go running off to port calls as much. I find today most spouses really do understand if you are working and all. Unlike the days of our parents and grandparents where more were stay at home spouses and such and it was looked at for the spouse to attend these events its not like that today. Sure people might ask if they don't know but honestly you are not being judged. Well maybe but if you are you shouldn't be. We currently have a COW who is a bit late to the navy game (they married only about 3 years ago) but she works and really in some aspects it's like a "normal" COW you might think of. But honestly none of us care. Those who have the time and all just do the work.

    As far as his job he is not being judged, they are not taking looking at you and saying well they won't be good command material. Maybe years ago but not today. If you feel like you are missing out on that particular community style you and you want that maybe changing some things is a good idea. One thing that you have to answer is if you want to be apart of the navy community. I have a cousin who honestly wants nothing to do with her husbands job. She doesn't really attend navy events, she hates living in base housing (i really do need to reach out to her since she is in base housing now) but that is her and she is ok with that and it works for them. Me i am the other way....I enjoy the navy community, attending the events and all. So even when I did work granted I had normal hours I would have shown up late or missed things cause of other reasons. It might be more curiosity vs anyone judging.
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    #3
    Is there any middle ground, like a full time job that has more regular hours? What will you do with your time if you are suddenly working 80% less? (I'm not saying there aren't things you could don, but it's a question you need to ask and answer for yourself before you decide to make that move.) Are you and your husband both willing to accept the repercussions to your finances? Would you be able to very easily go back to full time when your DH deploys, or would you be stuck with him gone and you only working 8/hr/week?

    Port call visits are great, but I wouldn't make a major life decision based on the possibility of going to one. I wouldn't make a major life decision based on being able to attend Navy Ball or the wardroom holiday party, either. (Almost certainly the people asking those questions are just being curious or even supportive in their own way, trying to let you know you were missed, not questioning your decision not to attend.) But being around more during the hours my husband was awake and home? That might be worth it.

    I would hate to see you quit your job and go down to extremely part time, only to trade your old set of woes for a new set. Really consider whether the sacrifice to your career both short and long term is worth it. I gave up my career, but only because there were really no other options that didn't include us living on different continents. (We've been overseas for the last 9 years.)It sucks. A lot. And even if I started working again tomorrow (assuming I could find a job with that massive resume gap, which is a serious stumbling block), I would have missed out on nearly a decade of promotions and raises. That's hard to accept sometimes. So in your shoes I would look into something of a compromise between what you are doing now and 1 day per week. Port calls are usually 4-6 days out of an entire year, so basing your employment partly around that seems short-sighted. Finding a job that might not allow for that, but that would give you something to keep you busy and fulfilled during the days and especially once your DH is deployed, but that also aligns your schedule more closely with his while he is home seems like a better plan.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #4
    I think it would be silly to essentially quit working and lose your income just to be able to attend Navy functions. Those who are close to you/your DH will know your schedules don't always mesh and those who aren't dont need to know. Functions can be nice to attend, but what you'd be losing is much more than you'd gain.
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    #5
    When DH and I got married, I was working similar hours and we were also living overseas so I would say the majority of wives I met weren't working at all ... needless to say it was rare that events that I could attend were scheduled. But I was making good money and I have always been career oriented, so I pretty much just dealt with it. I will say that even after I ended that job and took a job with more regular hours, I didn't do a lot of socializing related to military events. My social circles have tended to be more focused around my job than around his, but part of that was DH just really wanted to minimize the amount of military-related stuff we did. He's out now but I only ended up attending one ball.

    I'm not sure if Navy is different or if maybe it's an officer vs. enlisted thing, but I was able to shut down the questions about why I couldn't attend pretty quickly. Granted it took me a bit of time to get used to it, his XO really threw a wrench in the works and threatened DH's rank when I didn't attend an event and it freaked me out. But it was also a learning moment that I didn't have to put up with being treated like that. Not that I was snippy with people honestly just asking, but for the people who overstepped I was quick to shut it down with an "I'm not about that life" and blank stare and then they got the hint lol.

    All that being said, it was stressful for us to work opposite hours. I had to quit that job anyway after we moved, but at our next duty station one of my priorities was to find a job that was more 9-5 M-F and that worked better for us. I could still build my career but we weren't missing each other all the time. Do you think something like that might be an option, like changing your shift vs. cutting work all the way down to one day a week? That seems drastic as a first step, but I am not really familiar with nursing either.
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    #6
    If you went per diem, maybe you could still pick up close to 40 hours on the weeks you wanted and then did less hours when you had a function, or needed more time with your DH? Per diem seems pretty good because you can really make it flex to your schedule or needs
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    #7
    So DB is a chief in the Navy and we're planning our wedding but not married yet but the Navy (his command, not him) already sent me a book about being a chief's spouse and duties that entails and Naval terms/things I need to know as a chief's spouse. I definitely think there's an expectation that the spouse also has a role to fulfill. That being said I do work full time and I don't plan to quit my job, but my hours tend to already be around daycare schedules so I am free evenings and weekends for events.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by AMP1984 View Post
    So DB is a chief in the Navy and we're planning our wedding but not married yet but the Navy (his command, not him) already sent me a book about being a chief's spouse and duties that entails and Naval terms/things I need to know as a chief's spouse. I definitely think there's an expectation that the spouse also has a role to fulfill. That being said I do work full time and I don't plan to quit my job, but my hours tend to already be around daycare schedules so I am free evenings and weekends for events.
    Nah. There may be sort of an expectation in that it's what is typically done by the "average" spouse, but no one much cares anymore if it isn't. If you got much beyond what to expect during the chief season, know that (or the typical Compass/Navy 101, what the acronyms mean stuff, service etiquette, etc., all as an FYI) it is extremely unusual, to say the least.

    No one cares is a spouse doesn't attend the holiday party or the OSC (in the OP's case) meeting, or anything else.

    Trust me. I've actually been sent to training with the Navy (offered for spouses at a certain point, entirely optional because once again, opting out is just fine). Even at that, they reiterate that spouses do as much or as little as they want, and no one cares, and it won't be used for or against the service member. So if you don't want to go to the khaki party with your DB (who may be essentially required to attend himself) or an FRG meeting, don't go. Period. Full stop.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #9
    That's good to know - I am obviously new to this as I am not even officially a wife yet and I got the impression that the bake sales and events and balls were mandatory so it's good to hear from someone who knows more

    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    Nah. There may be sort of an expectation in that it's what is typically done by the "average" spouse, but no one much cares anymore if it isn't. If you got much beyond what to expect during the chief season, know that (or the typical Compass/Navy 101, what the acronyms mean stuff, service etiquette, etc., all as an FYI) it is extremely unusual, to say the least.

    No one cares is a spouse doesn't attend the holiday party or the OSC (in the OP's case) meeting, or anything else.

    Trust me. I've actually been sent to training with the Navy (offered for spouses at a certain point, entirely optional because once again, opting out is just fine). Even at that, they reiterate that spouses do as much or as little as they want, and no one cares, and it won't be used for or against the service member. So if you don't want to go to the khaki party with your DB (who may be essentially required to attend himself) or an FRG meeting, don't go. Period. Full stop.
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    #10
    Oh wow! I can't believe the XO threatened your DH rank. Luckily, we haven't had this situation. Although most of the spouses in our group do have "regular" hours and don't work weekends or they are stay at home moms so they don't understand where I'm coming from. I would love to have a nursing job with regular hours. However, because of the location we are at most people know we are a military family. This makes finding a job outside of the hospital hard since most of the nursing office jobs with 9-5 hours are usually looking for nurses who will stay there long term. Unfortunately, the hospital is the only one willing to hire me and we have rotating shifts with every other weekend that we are required to work. I'm going to still try to look and pray maybe someone will take a chance on me. If not. I plan on going per diem next year at the hospital I'm at now and can pick up extra shifts if need be.

    Thank you for this advice and everyone else. It has helped so much even if I really don't have a solution to my situation. We do plan on starting a family next year. I may have to end up being one of the stay at home moms. Until then I am going to take it all in stride and like you said, ignore anyone who has an opinion or comment about our lifestyle. I support my DH but working is what makes me happy as well for the moment.
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