Remote Work Reality: A Military Spouse’s Guide to Jobs in the Quad Cities

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I recently moved to the Quad Cities, four cities that straddle the Mississippi River. As a military spouse, I am grateful that working remotely is more accessible to me. I am currently working from home due to COVID-19. However, we just received orders to move back to South Korea, so I’ll be looking for another job in a few months. My visa will not allow me to work in the local economy, so remote work is a viable option. Ultimately, working from home allows military spouses to stay relevant in the workforce. Consequently, remote jobs will diminish the impact of frequent moves on military spouses’ careers.

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woman-working-remotely-on-zoom Remote Work Reality: A Military Spouse's Guide to Jobs in the Quad Cities

Ranked #1 Best Small Cities for Remote Work

Forage ranked the Quad Cities as the #1 Best Small Cities for Remote Work in 2023. This recognition is due to affordability, quality of life, infrastructure, and economic stability, making it an ideal location for remote workers. For more details on the ranking, you can read the full report on Forage’s website here.

A Pew Research Study in 2023 found that 35% of U.S. remote workers work from home full-time, and 58% of white-collar workers prefer working remotely at least three days a week. For those with remote jobs, smaller, more affordable cities might be ideal. A study ranked 134 U.S. cities with populations between 100,000 and 200,000 based on factors relevant to remote work, such as internet availability, noise level, affordability, and local amenities.

The top five cities for remote work are:

  1. Davenport, Iowa: Low real estate prices and a good cost of living.
  2. Carmel, Indiana: Low housing costs and unemployment rate.
  3. Topeka, Kansas: Affordable homes and a low unemployment rate.
  4. Lafayette, Louisiana: High broadband availability and good library funding.
  5. Metairie, Louisiana: Excellent broadband access and low housing costs.

These rankings were based on criteria like high-speed internet, housing costs, noise levels, and local entertainment and services availability. The study encourages considering personal interests and the city’s offerings before relocating.

  1. Why Remote Jobs Are Important to Military Spouses
  2. Options for Working Remotely
  3. Remote Job Examples 
  4. Working from Home, Telework, and Co-working Spaces
  5. Teaching English Abroad
  6. How to Find a Remote Job
  7. Remote Access Boards
  8. Tech-Related w/ Remote Opportunities
  9. Freelance Opportunities
  10. General Skills w/ Remote Options
  11. Tips for Success
  12. Related Topics

Military Spouses Seeking Remote Jobs

Staying Employed While Your Spouse Serves

As a military spouse, I keep my resume updated at all times. As a result, certain aspects like continuity, tenure, or seniority are hard to sustain. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t have a meaningful career. It just means I need to be more creative.

Ultimately, the growing demand for remote work (as well as the technology that supports it) helps military spouses. As a black military spouse with a Political Science degree, I am grateful for the increased opportunities. Likewise, many companies are incorporating flexible work opportunities. These jobs act as a perk, not unlike higher salary and vacation time, but also as an alternative staffing model to lessen the impact of future pandemics like COVID-19.

Many employers acknowledge that military spouses possess valuable skills. Here is a list of the top Military Spouse Employers for the year. Although USAJOBS does not offer many remote opportunities, it is an excellent resource for military spouses seeking employment on or near a military installation.

Young-Living-Oils-Meeting-in-Daegu Remote Work Reality: A Military Spouse's Guide to Jobs in the Quad Cities

Options for Working Remotely

Definitions of Remote Work

Work from home is just that—jobs you can do from your home.

Telecommuting jobs allow employees to work from home (in cafes or co-working spaces) for organizations in the same general area.

Remote work is the catch-all phrase for work that can be accomplished anywhere in the world with access to WI-FI, a phone, and a laptop.

Virtual Jobs occur in a virtual environment.

All the above terms say the same thing. However, the differences will give you insight into what keywords you should use in your job hunt. While some remote jobs are 100% remote, there may be other stipulations that further define eligibility.

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Some of the Easiest Jobs for Remote or Location-Independent Work

  • Textual jobs (writers, editors, proofreaders, translators).
  • Media-related jobs (journalists, photographers, videographers, podcasters, bloggers, digital marketers)
  • Financial positions (accountants, online tradespeople and e-commerce shops, product promoters and affiliate sellers, consultants, insurance agents, etc)
  • Organizational roles (Online personal assistant, customer support, travel agent, researchers)
  • Teaching (online professors, online coaches, consultants)
  • Computer and IT-based jobs (programmers, database managers, software developers, web designers, graphic designers).

 

black-woman-teaching-online Remote Work Reality: A Military Spouse's Guide to Jobs in the Quad Cities

Working from Home, Telework and Co-working Spaces

If you have a great job with a company you’d like to stick with, consider asking if you can work remotely during your next PCS. This conversation is also an excellent time to negotiate hours, benefits, and more. Don’t accept a pay cut without a fight. Re-iterate your value by highlighting the savings they’ll gain by not having you in the office, i.e., office space, supplies, and medical insurance. Opting out of medical insurance is a significant selling point for negotiating a higher salary.

If you’re looking for a job that you can do remotely, plenty of resources cater to military spouses. Search for placement brands or apply to gigs that are 100% remote. You might also consider becoming an independent contractor. Be aware you will have to file a 1099 tax form. But be conscious that you will be responsible for your taxes. The IRS does not deduct taxes from your paycheck, so you must put it aside or be hit with a huge tax bill the following April.

COVID-19 has kept me out of coffee shops and co-working spaces. For a small fee, co-working spaces are an excellent option for working from home when you need additional resources like printers, WI-FI, faxes, or a little human interaction.

Teaching English Abroad

DoDEA and ESL 

Teaching is a very viable option for military spouses in the DoDEA  (Department of Defence Education Activity). DoDEA does not list teaching jobs on the USAJobs.gov website. The USAJOBS.gov page contains DoDEA staff and educational support positions. These jobs require a teaching certification. However, individuals with a high school diploma/GED or higher may apply as a Substitute Teacher, AVID Tutor, or a Training Instructor.

I taught English as a volunteer in South Korea and enjoyed it. It was a chance to earn and learn. I am currently researching the different certifications available. There are online and hybrid, online, and in-class options. But don’t forget, in places like South Korea, word of mouth and who you know is very important. You can make a decent living teaching English to just a few students.

finding-a-remote-job Remote Work Reality: A Military Spouse's Guide to Jobs in the Quad Cities

How to Find a Remote Job

Resources Every Military Spouse Should Know.

Locating a remote job comes with a diverse set of challenges, according to the remote job platform FlexJobs. However, there are several resources and strategies to help you find remote work. Here are some of the ones I’ve started using. I recently signed up with It’s a Travel O.D., a resource for finding a remote job. Andrea has a duffel bag full of tips and resources for distant job hunters. Here is the resume she created for me as a resource for you to create your own.

However, be wary and do your due diligence because there are scams out there. You should never pay any money upfront for a remote job opportunity. And accordingly, run the other way if someone promises or guarantees you a job making a ton of money.

Download Flexjobs free guide for finding a remote job. Complete the form and check the military spouse box for more information.

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Resource Boards

Remote Only Job Boards

  • FreelanceWriter
  • Flex Jobs
  • No Desk
  • Panigan
  • Remote.co
  • Remotive
  • Jobspresso
  • JustRemote.co
  • Remote.com
  • RemoteOK
  • SkiptheDrive
  • TextBroker
  • VirtualVocations
  • WeWorkRemotely

Tech-Related w/ Remote Opportunities

  • PowertoFly

Freelance Opportunities

  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer.com
  • Upwork

General Skills w/ Remote Options

  • Top 100 Remote Friendly Employers
  • CareerBuilder
  • Indeed
  • Idealist
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Tips for Success

Discipline, Support, and Additional Training

  • I belong to a few Facebook groups for military spouses, where we exchange ideas, including job opportunities.
  • Create habits and dedicated office space in my home, where I work daily.
  • Multi-level marketing or referral marketing can be a viable source of income, but make sure you know what it takes to participate and make money from it.
  • You may have to get authorization to operate a business on-post or in a foreign country.
  • I paid for my resume ‘remotified‘ to qualify for more remote job opportunities.
  • Update your skills. Remote jobs use many newer technologies like managing social media, photo editing, e-commerce, digital collaboration, scheduling, and communication software.
  • I signed up for the Blogging Like a Boss course by Gloria Atanamo after we met in NYC in March.
  • I also signed up for an account with Skillshare. Skillshare offers many classes, and you can get two months for free.
  • Be prepared to answer the following questions: Where do you work when remote? Why do you want to work remotely? How do you handle distractions?
  • And finally, discipline is important when you work remotely. This isn’t for everyone.

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3 thoughts on “Remote Work Reality: A Military Spouse’s Guide to Jobs in the Quad Cities

  1. I thought I wanted to work at the Commissary or Exchange but I don’t want a ft job at all. I am a military spouse about to start a blog and I would love to travel all over Korea We are pcsing to South Korea next year and I am looking into getting my teaching certification before we go. Do you think that’s a good blog idea?

    1. If you plan to only write about teaching English abroad its a great idea. I think its also a great series for a lifestyle/ travel blog too. You might want to reconsider working on-post part-time at least because to make money to sustain your blog and have some money in your pocket until you can monetize your blog.

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