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View Diary: "Help Military Families by Limiting Moves" (65 comments)

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  •  But why shouldn't that change? (9+ / 0-)

    Like you, I don't want this to be a work out of the home versus stay at home debate. I see it more as a military retention issue.

    Blue Star Families' military family lifestyle survey this year showed that of the large percentage of military spouses who are unemployed, more than 60 % want to be employed, but cited frequent moves, deployments & child care issues as the top three reasons why they're unable to work.

    The spouse's satisfaction with the military lifestyle is one of the top deciding factors for whether or not people stay in the military, hence whether or not the spouse can work becomes a retention issue.

    We no longer live in a society where we can expect one parent to stay at home. If they want to, great, but if they need to work (whether for personal or financial reasons) we need to make that easier.  And it's not just a bias against hiring spouses. When you move, even if rehired, you lose seniority, longevity pay raises and maybe even a significant amount in matching funds in a 401K from your employer.

    As an attorney, I've never had a problem finding a job, but every time I move I start over from square one in building a client base, which significantly affects my income. I've also lost tens of thousands of dollars in 401K money. Get barred in a new state is actually the easiest and the least expensive part for me.

    The long term financial consequences of not working and being widowed at an early date or, heaven forbid, divorced, fall overwhelmingly on the spouse. (And mostly women, just as it does in the civilian population.)  It's just another consideration for society as a whole. Women (and their children) tend to have fewer financial consequences when something catastrophic happens if they work and that's a choice we should all have.

    But, once again, it all comes down to retention.  In hindsight, I enjoyed moving as a child and I think I'm a better person for it. I'm lucky my husband is now retired because my career would take a serious hit if I had to continue moving.

    Another issue - while I don't think moving is inherently bad for all children, at some points it can be harmful, particularly if you have a special needs child.  We have one child who is struggling in school.  He's getting help, but at 6 years old I was would be more worried about moving him than I would be moving me. What happens over the next few years is absolutely critical to his development.

    If my husband were still active duty, all of these things would be a big consideration about whether or not he stayed in. We can't eliminate moving, but we should always be open to change that can improve the military lifestyle, still meet the needs of the military and improve the bottom line.

    What is feminism? "...People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute." Rebecca West

    by Lawyer Mama on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 09:38:53 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  A thought on special needs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaNang65, angelajean

      My ten year old has severe autism, and her older brother struggles in school.

      Though I have not been happy with the idea of moving with kids that have greater educational needs, one benefit I have noticed is that I was able to see and learn to assess good programs and bad.

      If we had stayed in CA, where I thought the services were top-notch, I would never have known how much was out there that we didn't receive.  

      We've had the good luck of getting better programs each time we move.

      Of course, the flip side of that is that each time we move I wonder when that good luck will run out...

      I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

      by coquiero on Wed Mar 02, 2011 at 01:08:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  If it came down to retention (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero

      we might need to revamp the system that drastically. But we don't need to keep people. The Air Force actually needs to get rid of some.

      Recruitment rates are being met. Retention rates are being met.

      If we changed moving families in order to make it easier for spouses to keep jobs, how long would be long enough? I know that you're not insisting we stay 20 years in one location, but what is the right amount?

      And, if we're not moving folks, who gets to stay at the 'better bases' for longer periods of time?

      I think we basically agree that the Air Force's approach - 4 years for officers and 5 years for enlisted - is pretty reasonable. Are the other services not on board? I know the Air Force introduced it as a cost savings measure, not for family support, but the policy is in place. It rarely works for officer families because active duty officers want those assignments that are shorter - commands and schools.

      Basically, it comes down to having to make a choice in a two career family. Those choices aren't much different in the civilian world either. You can't have both partners in a marriage come first on the career path. It just isn't possible. You can have one and then the other, but not both at the same time.

      I think a lot of these issues come down to choice - we all have the choice to stop. Our husbands and wives can get out if they choose. I know it's not an easy decision, especially if they've served enough time to see that 20 year marker, but there is a choice.

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