With my husband on a roll and progressing through his syllabus at a rate greater than one flight every several months, it is starting to sink in that we really might find ourselves out of FRS limbo in a couple short months. I get a little jolt of adrenaline just thinking about it, and I’ll work myself into a tizzy if I dwell on everything that ought to get done in case of this or that eventuality of duty station. I’m trying especially hard to avoid getting caught up in speculation over how many slots there might be for each squadron and how that breakdown matches up with the stated preferences of each student in my husband’s class, but it is hard to keep from tripping down that line of thought. Rather than thinking about the short-range implications of PCSing or not PCSing, I think I need to extend my view to what I want to do after we are settled wherever we might be for the next three years.
The obvious choice is to get a job. We made the decision early on that I wouldn’t sweat looking for employment while we were living with the frequent moves and general uncertainty of flight school, and for the most part I think that was a wise decision for us. I have been able to be flexible and supportive throughout some big changes and short-notice moves. I have had the privilege of being home when my husband is home during a time when his schedule is different every day. Besides, the job markets in some of the places we lived were, shall we say, not exactly brimming with opportunities in my field. A lengthy search process coupled with the fact that we were only in a given place for an indefinite (usually short — under three months, in one case) period of time would have made for an absurd state of affairs both stressful and pointless. So, I figured that it would be best to wait to begin my search in earnest until the Nasal Radiator of the family was firmly ensconced in his fleet squadron and we were looking at a luxuriously lengthy stint of three years in one place.
Of course, neither of us had any idea that it would take quite this long to even approach that point. That’s the Navy — and more specifically, flight school — for you.
I now find myself nearly four years out of college without any real work experience with which to pepper my résumé. I have volunteer experience I can play up, but I cannot shake the grim suspicion that it’s not going to look ultra-fabulous that my credentials rely heavily on academic work from four or more years ago, especially in a fast-moving, constantly changing field. Hearing of job searches for people with much more relevant experience dragging on for half a year or more fails to inspire confidence in my ability to land meaningful employment. Optimism doesn’t always come naturally to me, and I am terrified that prospective employers won’t give me another look after they say to themselves, “Hmm, graduated with a solid academic record, honor societies and club leadership and such… and then immediately got married and became a housewife? Next, please, and this is for the shredder when you get a minute.”
I think it boils down to nerves and uncertainty about my ability to do something I haven’t done before: make the transition from college to the working world. Most of my peers have already done it because they didn’t have to immerse themselves fully in an “All Navy, All the Time!” bubble shortly after graduation. I do not regret my decision to focus on our fledgling marriage and the necessary adjustment to the military lifestyle; adding my career angst to the mix would have made these last few years more stressful than they have been. Up until now, my husband’s progression through flight school has been our top priority. Now that we are nearing a point that has, until recently, seemed so far off in the future that it wasn’t worth thinking about, I’m just a little anxious about taking the first steps toward figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.
Oh well. It does give me something to think about other than how much I wince at the prospect of seeing our crap go into cardboard boxes again.