resilience2Bouncing back. Rolling with the punches. Rebounding after an unforeseen or negative event. Grow from our misfortune, not let our misfortune pull us down. Resilience is a term those of us in the military world are familiar with. A military buzzword, our spouses get resiliency training from their respective branches to help combat the obvious and sometimes not-so-obvious stressors exacerbated by their military duties. And resiliency is not just for our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines — it’s for military families as well.

Merrium-Webster’s defines resilience as:

1: the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2: an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change

Resiliency is one of the key skills military spouses offer in a competitive workforce. We combat constantly changing circumstances and are resilient in the world of military uncertainty. We seek resiliency so that we can more easily adjust to the highs and lows that we encounter everyday.

We can use these skills in another area — our career. Michelle Martin, of The Bamboo Project Blog, argues that as the work landscape changes, all workers need to retain career resiliency:

Today’s careers require us to be agile, flexible, and adaptable. To see opportunity in challenges and to develop our capacity to deal with constantly changing parameters and requirements. When you build your resilience, you are in a better position to adapt to ongoing changes. You accept change as a part of life and see change as an opportunity, not as a series of insurmountable obstacles. 

She also outlines four behaviors and ways of thinking that we should incorporate into our lives to create career resiliency:

  1. Clarify who we are, what we do, and how we bring value to the work that we do;
  2. Be purposeful and intentional in developing those connections that will most support us in adapting to change;
  3. Create a plan to achieve our goals, learn from our mistakes, and engage in new experiences that can grow our skills and networks;
  4. Develop effective coping skills in order to feel our emotions, but not allow emotions to overwhelm our ability to act.

These are lessons we can adapt to our career development. We talk a lot about making your legal career compatible with military life. But multiple PCS moves, licensing obstacles, deployments, family obligations can all make it seem like building that career is an unattainable goal. We can’t control the curve balls that life throws, but we can control how we react to them. If we can apply our resiliency skills not only to the home front but also to our careers, we can work to maintain our perspective and optimism and, ultimately, remain open to opportunities that come our way.

What do you do to build your career resiliency? Let MSJDN help you build your career resiliency at our Making the Right Moves event May 22 in Washington, D.C. Connect with other military spouse attorneys, learn job skills unique to your military life, and celebrate service with Maj. Gen. William Suter (Ret), Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, the D.C. legal community.