Time was running out. I was counting my to-do-list as we were leaving the city forever. The list was going on and on. Number of applications, transfer certificates from schools, payments and yes, one month’s notice to my office for resignation!I realized that my beautifully decorated house (though government quarters) will not be mine after a month. I am not going to come here again ever, in the house that has seen my achievements, failures, family and friend’s gatherings etc. In fact I have stopped counting number of houses we have shifted in a decade till now and the number of schools my children have changed; and travelling?? No point mentioning that!!! Correctly Guessed, I am defence officer’s wife!!!
My life has changed the day I became member of this organization. The first thing I realized that we will never settle at one place for more than two years and hence I need to revise my career to match with the environment.
In the age of equality and empowerment, women are achieving new heights, exploring various fields and standing above all in academics. However whenever I come across articles about working woman or woman achievers, it reminds me that we, defence officers’ wives, live in a different world altogether. Very few defense personnel’s wives have been able to achieve higher position in outside world.
Career was never easy for women. Amid various difficulties women are aspiring to reach top positions in corporate companies, government organizations and even in business ventures.In case of defence officer’s wives, the picture is slightly different.
Marriage with a defense person is not only about perks and privileges but loads of adjustments, commitments and surprises.
Minimum level of education amongst us is master’s degree and some are having PhDs too. However after marrying the uniform, career options for ladies get narrowed.Lady has to amend her interests and job options according to her husband’s postings. If husband is posted in the cities, ladies have option to pursue their interest. But if she accompanies him in small stations, her career takes a backseat.
Career for officers wives (survey conducted on 100 women)
Survey conducted on the issue of career options for uniformed men wives helps to shed some light on the life of these ladies. Despite having higher qualification in different fields like engineering, business administration, law, medicines etc, ladies choose to do B.Ed. after marriage. So that they get opportunity to work in a schools even after shifted to remote locations and can also take care of their children because of convenient timings of schools.
Nowadays freelancing is also considered as a suitable career option by defense person’s wives. Many women are doing online tutoring, online content writing, web page designing, counseling and blogging etc. sitting in any corner of the country. Today, various MNC’s offer work-from-home options for their employees. This facility has proved boon for the ladies who cannot physically go for work but can do that work from home.
Some remote locations lack electricity, communication and other such basic amenities. Naturally it becomes taxing to work sitting in these locations. Hence it is observed with the help of survey that majority of women in defence organization are home-maker.
Not every woman is ready to change her profession or adjust her interests according to the situation. Today it is seen that many officers wives prefer to stay back at one place pursuing own career rather than changing location every two years (sometimes even less than two years). According to them staying at one place brings stability that helps them in their career and also for children.
Staying alone is not easy as husbands get to come home rarely and unlike my civil counterparts staying apart get to see their hubbies on weekends. We ladies have to tackle problems on our own and are solely responsible for house and children. I have been witness to many such incidents where officers have been unable to join their family in the most needed hour. I know a lady who had to go alone to hospital in her labor pains and delivered baby. In another incident officer could not come to take care of his wife and son when they met with an accident.
It is always said that travelling teaches us more than any book. In that way, we ladies are the queens of travelling and shifting to different places!! We carry our bag of experiences that helps us to tackle challenging situations. But theses frequent relocations bring instability and apprehensions. It also affects education of children. Children too are expected to adapt new school, syllabus and teachers in minimum time. Much household stuff get damaged or stolen in transit process.So many times furniture doesn’t fit in the house as every house is different .Coolers and air-conditioners have to keep packed in case posted in mountains for years. For how many times will anyone buy and sale these stuffs?
Every coin has two sides. We have learned to look at the best side of every situation. Despite various challenges,many women among us have started pursuing career successfully which they have never thought of doing and that too while accompanying husbands anywhere he goes. And I am quite sure that in coming years women will find out new ways to nourish her talent and creativity.
Yes, it’s a real dilemma. While marrying a forces forces person means expecting disruptions, one might be able to minimise career damage by opting for online jobs and work-from-home arrangements, whenever feasible. But it is a drag all the same.