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Old 09-14-2010, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am a way better working mom than a SAHM. I've been straddling both for some time now, and I've definitely determined that. When DD1 was born, I was working at an emergency vet clinic. I quit due to the hours and started FT in R&D at a veterinary diagnostic company. I quit there when DD2 was 9 months, due to severe health problems for DD2. Now I'm back at the e-clinic and have been for almost a year, part-time.

I have a B.S. in Biology and am 5 credits shy of my MPH (masters in public health), but I'm not thrilled with my career possibilities. Lately, I've been entertaining the idea of entering the Navy as an officer and maybe even pursuing becoming a pilot. I am a serious thrill-seeker, adrenaline junkie, and DH is 100% on board with whatever I decide. He makes a great SAHD, but we just haven't been able to afford it. Currently he works PT for the USPS and FT at a job he would really like to be done with. I also have an opportunity to work FT for a veterinary day practice.

I just don't know what to do. I know I feel the need to be the breadwinner and somebody has to take the plunge in our family. We are struggling financially and I am so ready for some wiggle room. Is there any moms here in the military? Any advice?

Nina Wife to DH
Mama to DD1-4y DS-3y DD2-21m
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Old 09-15-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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I am not involved in the military, so you may not want to hear from folks like me but why the military? We're currently at war with Afghanistan, aren't we? Did we pull out? Not to mention North Korea, Iraq, Pakistan, the threats made about Iran, and the whol Israel issue. I'm just saying, it seems more than "thrill seeking" to join the armed forced NOW. I was also under the impression that military salaries were pretty poor. Are they really better than a private sector job?

Could you get the benefits of government work in another part of the public service?

Here is what I do when I come to a crossroads. It's just a quick exercise that helps put things into perspective.

1st: make a list of ten things that bring you joy, that really make you smile and fill your whole heart with elation...not people, actions.

2nd: make a list of ten things you are really good at. Things you are skilled, knowledgeable, and excel in.

3rd: make a list of jobs (available or not) that meet at least three things from each list.

Then look at the jobs list and see which ones: A) meet the most from each of the first two lists. B) are the most plausible options and C) are affordable or realistic.

Then evaluate more practical issues like additional schooling necessary, time investment, flexibility with kids, etc.

This was what I did to find my way into teaching. Best thing I ever did and my lists all hold true today, over 12 years later.

That being said, from what little I know of an MPH, it seems like you have a pretty specific field. Were you planning on working for the WHO or something when you started? Any reason something like that wouldn't work?

I guess I am just trying to figure out how an MPH translates to a Navy Pilot.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:14 AM
 
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Officer salaries, when you combine them with housing and subsistence allowances, plus health and life insurance and pension benefits, etc, are usually really competitive with the civilian marketplace. And in many cases, you'd do better in the military!

Navy or Air Force deployments are probably not as bad as Army deployments. (Well... not as long. I won't claim that they're easy, or anything.)

I'm not in the military, but my husband is - and my SIL is a military officer and the main breadwinner in her family. It's a rough situation at times, but overall the military has a LOT to recommend it for the right kind of person/family, IMO!

There's a pretty active "military moms" thread over in Finding Your Tribe, if you'd like more input.

And finally, you can totally just walk in to a recruiter's office and start asking questions. My husband always advises people to take their husband/wife with them to ask the hard questions.

Science-loving mama to one little guy (11/09).
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Old 09-15-2010, 03:33 AM
 
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Make sure you end up in an OFFICER recruiter office if that is what you want. I have friends with degrees who were talked into enlisting - not the best choice financially.

Honestly I've been married to a military officer for over a decade and I can't say I'd ever reccomend it to a family that had other similar earning choices available. Really - the loss of control over your ability to be with your family, being stuck in a job where you don't have the same rights as in the private sector (ie. as the AD member you could be made to give birth in a hospital with an ob even if there were midwives available).

And since my daughter, at 5, is SHOCKED that Daddies can both have a job AND be home for dinner I think the "family friendly" sales pitch is bunk and that this job is incredibly hard emotionally on children.

Your User Agreement here at MDC, read it and make it your friend and read the FAQ to answer all the questions of the (MDC) world.
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I pursued the MPH because my original plan was to go to medical school and I thought the dual degree would be helpful, but in doing it, it's not for me. There are no civilian jobs that would compare in compensation and benefits. I would definitely be an officer although the nearest recruiting office is ~ 3 hours away. DH was in the Navy for 4 years before we met and he thinks that I would be a good fit. My original plan was to pursue a health scholarship and become a doctor for the Navy. The thought of medical school now just makes me sick.

Thanks for the tribe info - I'm going to wander over there now!

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Old 09-15-2010, 11:04 AM
 
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The military would be the absolute last career option I would pursue with a family. I wouldn't believe a word out of a recruiter's mouth.

How about one of the allied health fields? There are a number of allied health careers that pay pretty well with an associates degree.

Are you sure you have explored all the options that are available with an MPH? I work at a unversity with a school of public health, and our grads do all sorts of things, often at pretty high salaries. I also have a niece who graduated with an MPH, and her signing bonus was more than I make in a year.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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Well, IMO the military can be a great option for people. My husband is getting out of the military after 8 years and I am terrified of civilian life. He's only an E-5 and we do mighty well on his salary, I can't imagine what it would be like if he was an officer, and that's just pay, not including things like health insurance and perks on base.

If the military is truly a consideration for you try to find Naval officers to speak with. Not officers of other branches, not enlisted, not recruiters, someone who has nothing to gain by talking to you and will tell you the truth.

Agreed with Lalemma, military life can be difficult, but for many people it's a perfect fit.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't want to work a job that requires only an associates degree because I will have my masters. Public health is extremely broad. My biggest issue is my location, Maine, and my experience in public health, none. I would have to start at the bottom and I don't think I would find the work rewarding. I hated working in research. BORING. My vet tech job is rewarding emotionally, but financially not so. DH was an E5 when he ended years ago. I'm glad to here that it's good financially. I will definitely seek to talk to people in the position that I would like to be.

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Old 09-15-2010, 09:26 PM
 
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Ah, you have the same masters I do, and I have absolutely the same interest in using it. For now, I'm planning to be a SAHM for a couple years (until very recently, I'd been the breadwinner- just earning very little bread) then I will decide if I want to make the leap back to school for med school. Alternatively, I may go through the path to become a PA or NP - less overwhelming educational demand, and there is a very real need for them particularly in either urban or rural areas. There is slightly less demand in a suburban setting.

In Maine, there are some great FQHCs- particularly if you are willing to head north.

As for the military, it is not a choice I would make. My brother did, and it served him well enough financially, and helped him to segue to a federal job when he decided he was done. I would caution you, however, not to go down that path unless you are very willing to have your family take the back seat to your job.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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Another MPH-er here. I am into research though so...

I'm currently a research project manager at a university. We do pharmacoepidemiology studies. Before this, I was a project manager at a research center in a hospital where we did health services projects. This is totally my field. I'm in love with academia.

Me: New mama to DD born 11/17/2009. We And:
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