When I was younger, I always thought I would have the same job for a long time. My father worked at a local television station (and has been there for than 40 years). My mother was a veteran teacher who has since retired after 31 years teaching kindergartners. In my own little world, I thought that was just the way it was.
My life didn’t quite work out that way.
You see, I met an Air Force Academy cadet, and within nine months of our first date, we were engaged. And the military is all about change, a constant relocation of your life. You don’t settle and establish your roots. You pack up every two years (or less) and start over in a new town, with new friends and a new job.
So my plan of establishing a career at one company diminished. Instead, my resume reads like a travel book: Kansas City; Charleston, SC; Birmingham, AL; Dayton, OH; Washington, D.C., and finally, back to my hometown, Wichita, KS. At each of these stops, I added another notch to my resume.
I often worried that prospective employers would be turned off by my frequent changes. But I consider my experience to be somewhat of an advantage. I’ve done lots of different things…from walking the boss’ dog, making travel arrangements, stuffing envelopes and answering the phone, to coordinating a golf tournament, editing a museum’s quarterly magazine, updating a nonprofit’s website and managing media for a local visit by NPR’s Cokie Roberts. And in different places…a touristy city, the deep south, a Midwest city with a major Air Force base, our nation’s capital and in the Kansas heartland.
Having experienced other parts of the country allow me to compare cultures and cities. I bring different views, opinions and ways of life to the table. Just the ability to find my way to an interview in a strange town called for research, flexibility and planning ahead.
There were a couple of jobs I loved, and hated to leave. But there were also a few I hated, and loved to leave. But that’s part of being a military wife.
My husband has since separated from the Air Force, and now works for the Federal Government. We’ve been in Wichita for nearly six years, four years longer than any other place we have lived. We have no plans of moving. I have been in my current job for almost three years. The previous record holder was The Dayton Art Institute where I worked as Director of Communications for exactly two years. Our family has settled. The question is, have I?