May was Military Appreciation Month, and this weekend is the fourth of July, perfect opportunities to salute the noble men and women who serve our nation, and remember those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.
An often-overlooked occasion came earlier this year: Military Spouse Appreciate Day on May 6.
These spouses (both male and female) often have to hold down a job while single-handedly caring for young children.
According to the Department of Defense, the unemployment rate for civilian spouses of active duty service members is 26 percent, compared to the U.S. unemployment rate of five percent. It also found that military families relocate 10 times more than the average family.
I recently learned about Cambria Briggs, a Senior Vice President, Human Resources Generalist at Bank of America who lives in Newport Beach with her Navy reservist husband and their two children.
She has endured her husband’s two deployments to Iraq and other deployments overseas. Fortunately, Bank of America was able to accommodate Cambria as an employee through its work from home program. The flexibility allowed her to take care of the household and her two children while her husband was away.
“As a military spouse, it can be tough for a whole host of reasons, not the least of which is temporarily being a single mother,” said Briggs. She noted that her flexible work schedule allows her to care of her children while her husband was away.
“Such flexibility has been a blessing, allowing me to be able to take my two children to routine activities such as a dentist
appointment and to important milestones like their school plays,” she said. “It’s also given my husband some much needed peace of mind while he’s deployed, not having to worry about what’s going on at home because I have a job that allows me to maintain some resemblance of our normal family lifestyle.”
As a human resources manager, Briggs has worked with fellow employees who are military spouses and helped hire some as well.
Briggs explained that military spouses often don’t stay at a job long enough to earn seniority or they face a string of lateral moves rather than a series of promotions, but at Bank of America, employees who are military spouses do continue to grow professionally and get promoted despite the unique challenges that come along with military life.
“We as military spouses have plenty of things to worry about, but a job and job security should not be one of them,” she said.
So as we recognize our military members this weekend, give a special thanks to the military spouses who often go above and beyond the call of duty themselves.