We’ve all seen the stories lately about the job opportunities, or lack thereof, for our military veterans. Many are returning home after multiple tours of duty only to find a job market that is stagnant.
While successful initiatives like Mrs. Obama’s “Joining Forces” have been put in place to assist both military families and veterans in receiving job training and finding employment, there’s still much to be done in the private sector. I have a vested interest in this effort as I am currently preparing to begin a tour in Afghanistan as a United States Navy Reservist.
As a Reservist, following the initial training I am obligated to drill one weekend per month and train for two weeks out of the year. My initial term of service runs for eight years at which anytime I can be called to active duty. Most reservists find that the work they do in the military mirrors what they do in civilian life. My work in the military is as an electrician which is what I did as a profession until about a year ago. But my current employment doesn’t really lend itself to the military as there isn’t a big need for helping people with their vacation cruise reservations and itineraries.
You see, I currently work from home as a virtual call center representative. About a year ago my fiancé, Marine Corps Sargent Robert Bradford, also a Reservist, learned about a work from home opportunity with a company called Arise Virtual Solutions. They are a Florida-based company with about 23,000 agents working from home throughout the country providing call center services to Fortune 500 companies. With the U.S. losing more than 500,000 call center jobs to other countries over the past six years, the company is an example of the home shoring trend that is currently underway.
Robert had heard about Arise through some neighbors and launched his own company, Blue Falcon Communications, Inc., under the Arise banner. Currently he has 14 individuals working as part of Blue Falcon with one of them happening to be his fiancé doing something she never thought she’d do. And loving every minute of it. As an electrician I always got satisfaction out of knowing I was able to fix a problem so people could go on with their lives. But how many of us actually stop to think about electricity? We hit a switch and the light goes on. Enough said. But as a virtual call center representative I am getting immediate feedback from my efforts. And the chance to speak to so many individuals throughout the day and help them with something as exciting as a cruise has given me a different kind of reward outside the steady income.
Which brings me to an often ignored component of military employment and that is the job opportunities for the spouses of soldiers.
Any military person will tell you that part of the experience is always being prepared to go where the military tells you to go. On average, a military family will move every 2.5 years and with that move comes not only a new home but typically a new job search for a military spouse who is also often juggling motherhood. And with the fact that military bases are typically located a quite a distance from major cities, where most of the jobs are, the opportunities are few and far between. This is why I am quick to recommend virtual business opportunities to any military spouse or for that matter, any retired soldier transitioning in to civilian life.
Working virtually means you can take the job with you when you move and don’t have to tackle an employment search, in a city you don’t know that may be many miles away, while trying to set up a new home. There are substantial savings in gas, work clothes, lunches and if there are children in the house, eliminating the daycare bill can be a huge benefit to military families while also allowing working Mom’s to spend more time with their children. We know that the employment numbers are limping along. And the fact is that many jobs that have been outsourced, or lost due to the economy, might not be coming back. But with more forward-thinking companies understanding the benefits that come from virtualizing their work force, we find ourselves in a position where America can utilize our existing technology and lead in this new way of working.
And take it from me. If you do decide to work virtually with a reputable company I can guarantee that the one minute commute to your office will be something you will definitely enjoy!
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