Billboard: HIRE MY WIFE


Sometimes I pity our active duty members. Officer or enlisted, they accept that part of their job description is the requirement to pack up everything and move to where the military needs you. But can you imagine what it feels like for them to watch their smart, able, proactive spouses struggle to find a new job at their new duty station?

Not so fun.

Maybe our service members would be tempted by the actions of a civilian Toledo man. For $700, Brandon Stuard plastered his unemployed wife’s face on a billboard: PLEASE HIRE MY WIFE. Stuard told Fox affiliate Toledo News Now:

 “Over the last five or six months, she’s had a few opportunities come along that we thought looked really positive and unfortunately they just didn’t work out. I felt a sense of, she was getting a little frustrated, but not losing hope. But I wanted to do something maybe help lift her spirits if nothing else.

A lot of military spouses who are looking for jobs are frustrated by the economy, by the limits of the places they work, by the employers who are reluctant to hire a military spouse. A lot of military spouses have service members who believe in them and want to lift their spirits. Is a billboard the answer?

I wish it was. Thanks to the Obama administration and the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, the problem of spouse unemployment is well known in this country. Consider the Military Spouse Billboard already hung.

Yet spouse unemployment is difficult for a family—not just the unemployed spouse.  It is hard to keep your spirits up when you are filling out your 87th application in San Antonio. Or cruising the streets of Jackson, NC wondering what kind of businesses might operate there.  Or applying for something on USA Jobs and never hearing anything about it.

Which makes me wonder: What kind of things can a servicemember do to show support to their job hunting spouse and get the “hire my wife” message across? What is the right thing for them to say that keeps a spouse going? What is the best support your partner ever gave you? We’ve come up with a few options for our poll on the right of the screen (with results below) — but what do you think?


About the Author

Jacey Eckhart
Jacey Eckhart is the former Director of Spouse and Family Programs for Since 1996, Eckhart’s take on military families has been featured in her syndicated column, her book The Homefront Club, and her award winning CDs These Boots and I Married a Spartan?? Most recently she has been featured as a military family subject matter expert on NBC Dateline, CBS morning news, CNN, NPR and the New York Times. Eckhart is an Air Force brat, a Navy wife and an Army mom. Find her at

14 Comments on "Billboard: HIRE MY WIFE"

  1. My husband tries to keep a positive attitude about it all, me on the other hand, well..not so much. I've filled out DOZENS of applications, both paper and online, I have a top notch resume and cover letter and I have two sets of highly marketable skill sets. But because my husband is active duty, no one wants to hire me because we might PCS in 6 years.

    I'm really tired of hearing about how the Obama Administration and the MSEP have made it apparent that there's a problem, as I'd they came riding in on a white horse to save the day. They can put the problem out there on a few morning talk shows, but the fact of the matter is, their campaign hasn't done a damn thing for MilSpouses.

    Go visit a Spouse page on Facebook or poll spouses on SpouseBuzz and ask them if they've all of a sudden seen a change of attitude amongst employers and their willingness to hire spouses. Most likely, the answer will be no.

  2. And I'm not saying that I blame the Obama Administration or MSEP for that In any way, but I'm tired of them being given all this credit like they solved the whole problem or something.

  3. dozens of applications? come on. looking for a job is a full time job in itself. you have a top-notch resume? good. you have an even more top-notch cover letter? super! are you REALLY looking for a job? doubtful.

    ask one of your civilian friends how many applications they have filled out… put your time and effort in and you'll get a job.

  4. True. It is very hard to get a job as a spouse. I am married to a recruiter so we do not have the community support that’s given to areas outside of a military base. I have a four year degree and massive experience, to include being a veteran myself. Like everyone here I am just going to keep going the good fight until something pans out.

  5. It should be noted that getting "a job" and getting "a job that will further your career" are two very different things. Being a milspouse stationed halfway around the world presents some additional challenges when searching for a job that will further your career. After being in this position myself, my advice is this: You have to stay strong, be persistent, and keep trying even when all hope seems lost. Keep a list of websites where jobs are posted in your area and check them everyday. If you're pursuing on-base jobs (working legally out in town may be tricky overseas) and there's another base nearby do not be afraid to commute through a foreign country to another base. Try your best to keep your certifications and licenses up to date. There may chunks of time when the only jobs available are lifeguarding at the base pool or cashiering for $7.25 an hour. If you decide to try to get one of these jobs, remember your goal/career and keep looking for something better even while you're working at someplace that has nothing to do with your career, and try to find something in your spare time to beef up your resume (computer skills, classes towards a masters degree, etc.).

  6. Believe me I have done this so many time is ridiculos, moving all the time and raising a family. I got couple credit from a college not a degree, but I do have done many types of work. I got experience from Aafes to Child Development Center, to helping wound warriors in Walter Reed "This One I love" recently move again and here we go again applying for a job on USA JOBS and all I get you are qualify but not refer….What that mean?? Another one is Code 001 not all form were submitted?? I sent what you ask me for, when calling CPAC they do not know why I was not refer because I'm highly qualify this happen in all the places we go. I try to remind myself that I'm here to support my husband and the mission he is appointed to, but sometimes it gets rough. You will think that 20 years doing this it gets better but it does not. Just keep your heads up and keep marching forward…..God will provided and good look!

  7. My wife has been applying for many many jobs daily for the last five months. So far, only three people have called back for an interview (on base). Unluckily she wasn't selected for the positions.

  8. If your resume looks like mine, it's fairly easy to see that I'm a MilSpouse. Based on where I have worked and lived, which is all on an application/Resume (when they ask about your work history) I think they can pick us out easily. And then there's the fact that the jobs we usually apply for are located in a Military town.

  9. Steph — that's a great question and I'm looking for an answer. Back when MSEP was launched I asked that question and I was told that your application would be flagged and sent directly to the HR folks trained (because they claim each company has specially trained HR peeps to deal with military issues … and that doing so is part of being in MSEP) to handle your specific needs. However, I'm wondering if that's actually the case. It sure doesn't LOOK like it's the case.

  10. Currently we are not in a military town. Husband is instructing ROTC. I'm afraid my resume says flakey, not mil spouse.

  11. When you click the "apply to job" button on MSEP you are sent to the website for the company you are trying to apply to. How are they flagging anything? If I'm missing something someone let me know.

  12. Called the 800 number for MSEP and got an answer. The company will know you are a spouse one of three ways. The pathway by which you reached their website to apply, when asked where you found the job opening and select "government webite" (or similar option), or some job openings are only available to MSEP job seekers and no other outside sources.

  13. Honestly, I'm a little skeptical. I'm not an IT expert and never worked in HR, but I think its a little far fetched that a hiring manager would be checking the "pathway" by which I reached their website. Just my opinion ;) I also think MSEP is nothing more than a PR opportunity for some companies (although MSEP claims to check up on whether or not they are indeed hiring spouses). I just don't see how this could be as effective as everyone would hope it would be.

  14. I thought getting advanced degrees would help me I am halfway through my masters degree and hold a couple of years experience now we live on post and I keep gettin ppp matches but that’s all it seems to be even using military spousal preference and nothing. I am a very determined person but I’m sorry words at time can’t keep the spirit up and thought they are going through the legal process but even before the job posts they already have a fill for it and that thought is frustrating. Being completely qualified based on job tasks and qualifications and never making the interview list. I feel at times I have a better chance at winning the lottery then gettin a job in post. So great people made the issue apparent to people but I still see no proactive signs that they are really helping push a fix. My husband says its Pritty much how high on the food chain you are and who you know. How can a military spouse prove their work ability if they are not given a chance to try? This is beyond frustrating and watching our big savings deplete to nothing and there’s just nothing the military spouse can do even though fully qualified yeah my husband says nothing cause he knows there are no words that can help except an employer saying “your hired”.

Comments are closed.