Ep. 117. Michelle Still Mehta: Silent Sacrifice on the Homefront
“Military culture hasn’t changed while American culture has.”
Dr. Michelle Still Mehta
Dr. Michelle Still Mehta, who holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School, is the author of Silent Sacrifice on the Homefront: Military Spouses Share their Quests to Fit Career with Marriage, Motherhood, and Military Life. Dr. Mehta is a researcher, management consultant, and executive coach, with more than 20 years of experience helping leaders and organizations navigate strategic change and create healthy workplaces. As an active duty military spouse, she is dedicated to improving the lives of other career-oriented military spouses. Her research focuses on the working lives of military spouses as well as the psycho-social impacts of navigating career within the context of military life. Prior to launching her independent practice in 2004, Dr. Mehta was a Senior Manager with Deloitte and an internal consultant with Kaiser Permanente.
Stew and Michelle discuss what she found when interviewing military spouses about the profound psychological as well as financial impact of the military culture of frequent relocations. She observed a sense of loss of identity, some resentment, and the struggle to be essentially a single parent and sole caretaker of the home front. Michelle offers tips on how to better navigate what she calls the three “Ms” -- Marriage, Motherhood, and Military. They all involve open and regular communication with your spouse. And she advocates for a cultural shift within the military to create a talent marketplace wherein military members can choose deployment locations and timing that fit with their own career development and their families’ needs. She likens the culture of frequent relocations within the military to facetime expectations in the civilian workforce and proposes that both assumptions and traditions need to be questioned and new solutions found.