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Finding Purpose: Three Tools to Help You Choose a Career That Fits Your Best Self


When I first started college, it wasn’t because I wanted a degree. It was because our family needed cash and I needed skills. I started school when my oldest son was about six months old and I was in my early twenties. I enrolled in a bookkeeping certificate program at a local community college, and the plan was to complete it in a year and go to work. That program eventually led to more school, a degree and a successful career in the defense industry. It was a safe, reliable and portable choice, and I managed to make it work for more than a decade. But, I always felt like something was missing professionally. Deep down inside, I wanted to be a writer.

A few years ago, I took my first self-assessment offered through the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) program. Self-assessments can help you understand your professional interests by evaluating the type of work you find interesting and what activities bring you joy. After more than 15 years in defense, I learned that there was a reason that writing had always been tugging at me. It was number one on my list of professional “best fits.”

I reviewed my self-assessment results with a certified SECO Career Counselor who helped me understand it was possible to change course and it wasn’t too late to have the career I wanted. So, I decided to go back to school. I also started pursuing more writing work. That was almost three years ago.

Many of you may be just starting this journey to determine your career path. I am happy to tell you that as a military spouse, you have access to tools that can help you live your best professional life.

  • MySECO. Imagine if you could research occupations, build a career plan, find a school, search for scholarships, build your resume and search for jobs using one website dedicated to military spouses. It already exists. MySECO offers the above-mentioned tools and a wealth of resources just for you.
  • SECO Career Counseling. SECO offers nationally Certified Career Counselors to help you determine your career path and educational goals. To schedule an appointment with a counselor, contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. Also, be sure to check out SECO’s new counseling packages.
  • SECO Assessment Tools. If you aren’t sure which careers are the best fit for your skill set, or even if you have no idea where to start, the SECO program provides industry-leading assessment tools to military spouses free of charge. From Entrepreneur EDGE™ to Myers-Briggs to Career Scope, SECO has you covered.

These tools made a huge difference for me. As I write this, I’m working to complete a graduate program in English and creative writing. I am excited about my professional future for the first time in years, and I finally feel like I’m doing what I’ve always been meant to do. Will you do the same for yourself?

Cassie Grainger
Written By Cassie Grainger
Marine Corps spouse

Cassie has been a Marine Corps spouse for more than 20 years. She is also a family readiness volunteer and moonlights as a writer and editor.

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