As we honor the brave men and women who died serving our country this Memorial Day, it’s also a great time to remember those who serve today — the ones on active duty and those who hold down the fort at home.
Regardless of the service branch, being a military spouse — and finding a company that knows how to support military spouses — isn’t easy. I know. For nearly six years, my husband, Paul, was a Navy Master at Arms.
Fortunately, my employer, Wells Fargo, is committed to finding careers for military veterans and supporting service members and their families while honoring the unique strengths we bring to the workplace.
How can you experience the same results at your company? Here are four ways employers can support military spouses and put us at “ease”:
1. Employ us. Being a military spouse isn’t for everyone, bringing deployments and long separations. But this also produces strong and self-reliant workers committed to keep marriages and families strong and thriving — the same qualities that make us great employees. Paul and I spent our first four years living in separate states. He was stationed at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington; I continued my career in communications with Wells Fargo in San Francisco. This provided stability and gave me purpose, especially during long periods of time apart. In many ways, my work put me at ease.
2. Assist us when our country calls our spouses to new duty stations. At first, I was nervous to tell my employer that Paul was in the Navy for fear I would be labeled a “job jumper.” When Paul received orders to Naval Base San Diego, the largest naval instillation in the world, I was excited but anxious. To my surprise, my manager, co-workers, and company valued my husband’s service to our country — and my professional contributions — so that I was able to transfer to another communications team as I moved from San Francisco to San Diego.
3. Support us during important military milestones. For me, that included being able to use my paid time off to go to Chicago for Paul’s boot camp graduation and to Texas when he graduated from “A” School, where enlistees learn their job assignments.
4. Embrace us, because community matters. I was born and raised in Johnson City, N.Y., and my entire family lives on the East Coast. There were times, however, when I still felt alone while Paul was away — like his deployments aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard. When I took Paul to 32nd Street Naval Base to disembark, I knew I wouldn’t see him for many months. During these emotional times, my teammates became my support system. I’ll never forget all the times they invited me into their homes for the holidays when I couldn’t make it back East, or how they kept me plugged in at work and into volunteer opportunities in San Diego.
On this Memorial Day, join me as I thank those in uniform — and their spouses, partners, and employers — for their service. Please use the ‘‘Leave a comment” feature below to share your own story, and the support that has meant the most to you.
For me, having a supportive employer has made all the difference. No one ever said being a military wife would be easy. But as I look back at those six years, I couldn’t be more proud of the character I built, the friends I made, and the career I launched while serving my country.
Savicky-Injaian is a Wells Fargo communications consultant based in San Diego. A 10-year company veteran, she’s responsible for media relations, executive advocacy, and team member communications for Wells Fargo’s Community Bank in San Diego and Imperial counties.