Last Friday, the Chamber of Commerce held the first ever Military Spouse and Caregiver Forum and Hiring Event. We were very pleased to be included and were on the schedule with Blue Star Families to provide a Caregiver Roundtable. As it turns out, we worked this more informally than expected, but it was apparent that we need to use every opportunity to educate corporations about the value of hiring caregivers. As you know, caregiving is on a continuum, and employers will be better able to offer positions with greater understanding of the phases of caregiving.
Since this was held near Bethesda, the caregivers that attended this event were still actively caregiving at Walter Reed (WRNNMC). First-stage caregivers are very deeply involved in their service member’s recovery, and possible jobs would need to be supremely flexible; not impossible but challenging. Importantly, though, this is a very good time to re-tool a resume, learn how to translate your skills into career enhancers, and to review priorities in interests and job choice. There is also a wide variation of skills and capabilities among caregivers, and an excellent workshop was held for those seeking to resume higher-level professional careers. Again, this is an excellent time to now translate your civilian skills into a possible governmental track, if this appeals to you.
The group that was underrepresented at this event were the caregivers who are now out of the hospital and in the community. At this secondary caregiving stage, we believe those who re-work their resumes and attend such events will find willing and eager employers. Flexibility, telework, and research are all possible for the stay-at-home caregiver, and VeteranCaregiver and Blue Star Families will continue to discuss the employment potential and value of caregivers to employers wherever we go. As you view the years ahead, caregiving and treatments will presumably continue to bring forth new options, and taking advantage of these community events is a great first step toward resuming your work, or calling.
One of the most remarkable things to us is that the military community is now purposefully inserting Caregiver elements into nearly all events. This includes medical care, education, employment, transition, communication, and outreach topics. In other words, could it actually be that Caregiving has reached the ears of enough people to resonate and expand the military’s perception? We say a resounding “Yes”!!! Take advantage of the events around you, re-tool that resume even if you are not ready to use it, talk to employers whenever possible, and realistically consider your options over time. Just as you thought little medical progress was occurring at the time – remember that you now view great strides from the place you now stand.
Caregivers are emotionally strong, resourceful, loyal, and persistent people. These attributes make for excellent employees. Where you are today will not be where you are tomorrow; be ready when the circumstances and opportunity arises.
We support you; let us know how we might help.