Digital Nomad: a person who uses telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner. (source: Wikipedia)
If the definition above sounds familiar at all, it is probably due to the fact that military spouses have been leveraging technology to earn a living long before the rest of the world coined this term and considered it a ‘trendy’ way of life.
And with an estimated 40% of the workforce expected to be freelancers/independent contractors by 2020, a unique situation is presented to military spouses who are interested in maintaining a job while on the move.
Here are 5 ways military spouses are the original digital nomads:
1. Tech Savvy
Digital nomads leverage technology in their favor in order to live a more independent, free lifestyle. Due to the nature of everyday life for the military spouse, conquering technology is a must have skill these days. An impressive array of tech skills are required to survive.
Navigating resources and benefits like TRICARE, finding organizations to join and network, making friends at your new duty station, managing databases worth of FRG and unit contacts, and knowing how to make a marriage thrive through Zoom or Skype are just the tip of the iceberg.
“Our familiarity and often dependence on technology allows us to learn quickly and adopt tech-focused communications with ease.”
2. Business Minded/Entrepreneurial
Obviously, any successful digital nomad is going to be business minded and/or entrepreneurial. Working no matter where you are requires a certain level of reliability, organizational skills, and business experience that military spouses possess innately.
Our tech savvy ways combined with our varied work histories provide us with a unique skill set and the fresh perspective necessary to launch a business and/or be a stellar virtual employee. More and more organizations to help military families take the entrepreneurial trajectory are being established every year.
These nonprofit groups and organizations would not exist if there were no need; 48% of spouses report they are interested in entrepreneurship, while 28% report they have earned income as an independent contractor. Move over trendy nomads, military spouses are about to take back the title!
Digital nomads see every day as a fresh opportunity and new adventure. Military spouses may not all inherently be the adventurous type, but military life in general presents unique experiences and adventures every day.
Survival in this lifestyle requires some ability to navigate life with the adventure mindset. PCSing across the globe to a foreign land or cross country, traveling Space-A to visit a service member during a port visit mid-deployment, and conquering a duty station bucket list are just the name of the game.
You can hate it or you can live the adventure to the fullest. It’s a mindset that military spouses adopt and can use as a tool to form an individualized definition, depending on the service member’s rotation schedule, deployment schedule, and many other lifestyle requirements that the family holds little or no control over.
“Military spouses are perfectly positioned to soak up the opportunity to travel and live like a tourist while earning a living because – #wanderlust!”
4. Community Oriented
Digital nomads are known for quickly adapting and tapping into local community, seeking opportunities to experience a new culture. They are community oriented and know how crucial it is to one’s psyche to have a sense of community and/or belonging.
Moving every two to three years can quickly teach a military spouse critically important things about themselves and how to connect. What do you need from a community? What are your hobbies? What kind of niche community do you feel like you belong? Where is the best food? Where are the best schools?
Military spouses know better than most that participating in your local community provides a shared emotional connection and fosters a higher level of emotional well being and that often, your neighbor is the one who helped you make it through the day.
5. Location Independent
All a digital nomad needs to work is a good wifi connection and a motivated spirit. Working from home, coffee shops, shared office spaces, etc., digital nomads get the job done. Military spouses, by default, live that very transient lifestyle for years, decades, even.
The average military family moves once every two to three years, which is seven times more than civilian families. Frequent moves may hinder military spouses from obtaining or retaining a typical 9 to 5, but they also provide a unique situation that forces us to seek options such as freelancing, entrepreneurship and remote work.
“Yokosuka? Okay. Fort Riley? No problem. Camp Lejeune? We’re on it! No matter where military spouses may go, as long as wifi is available they can get the job done.”
Think you’re cut out for the digital nomad life? Add your profile and up to 3 resumes on the MadSkills website for free to connect with businesses seeking your MadSkills!
Kaycee McCoy is a blogger for the MadSkills team. You can find her professional spouse profile and resume and connect with her at www.hiremadskills.com – an interactive platform created by military spouses offering the connection for professional military spouses to find remote jobs.