We have all been there — that uncomfortable position where we don’t know anyone at the next duty station. The thought of moving and having no one there to help or answer questions starts our hearts racing faster and faster. We not only want to find like-minded people, but we also want our families to find new friends right away so that the recent void of leaving wonderful friends behind doesn’t hurt as bad. I know that this is a part of military life, but no matter how many times I move, I still get nervous.
I recently read The 10-Minute Activity That Will Help You Find Your Hidden Network. The entire time I was reading the article, I asked myself how could I use this activity as a military spouse so that I am not starting at square one every time I move.
Then it hit me that I already use a method similar to the one they provided. During, and even prior to PCS season, I see updates from my friends and family members as to where the military is sending them all over the world. If I know of someone in the area where they are heading, I try to make a connection with both people. As I move to more locations and meet more people, then my network grows making it easier to put people in contact with each other.
To get an idea of what your military network looks like, try completing these simple steps:
- Make a list of all the military contacts that you know (your friends, their spouses, family members).
- List the locations where your contacts are located (if you don’t know the installation, then list state or city).
- Beside their name, list their interests or facts about them (has two small kids not in school, has a dog, loves to run, lived in ____ for several years during school).
- Then, when people move, or someone asks you about a new duty station you can put them in contact with someone who may be able to answer their questions.
One of the things I find most rewarding about being a part of the military world is that even though the military itself is so large, I feel that I can reach out to any of my friends and family in my network and ask them for a contact to help me with whatever issue I am having, whether it is finding a job, learning about the area, or just meeting a potential new friend.
If you’re career-minded, check out In Gear Career to help you grow your network. They provide a free forum for professional development, community support, information sharing, and networking. If you’re lucky enough to have a chapter in your area, their meet-ups are not only informative, but they also provide a great opportunity to meet other military spouses with similar interests.
How do you build your military network? Has it grown quickly?