You were so full of hope just a few short months ago. Your spouse was up for orders and you were kindly allowed to submit your wishlist. Gleefully, you hunted through all the duty stations. You connected on Facebook, hungry for info on where to head next. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are all full of, well, stuff for your favorite posts.
Those orders just hit. Congrats! You’ve been selected to go to the absolute last place either of you wanted.
Here’s exactly what to do when you get the last duty station on your wishlist
1. Get All the Info
Remember all the hopeful likes, favorites and pins from your wishlist days? It’s time to repeat all of that for your actual duty station.
On Facebook, connect with the local spouses’ groups and get on all the resale pages. Getting onto the spouse pages can help you to find a friend before you even get boots on the ground. With luck, your virtual friends will be super close to your new home. You’ll get instant PCS buddies, hopefully ready to wrangle kids during the unpack, drop off a welcome meal and show you the lay of the land.
On the resale pages, you’ll be able to find retail resources. It’s such a pain to PCS away from your go-to salon, makeup artist or direct sales rep. Use the resale pages to get in touch with these people at your new base! Plus, you can be on the lookout for essentials that are sure to break during the move. By getting in the loop now, you’ll be ahead of the game and ready to snag that dining room table ASAP.
2. Find Groups
Now that you’re tapped in on social media, you can start to connect with in-real-life groups. Make a list of things you love to do with friends at your current location. Next, look at Facebook or ask on the spouse pages.
There are usually groups for every interest from running to reading to knitting to cosplay (and so many more). When you join these groups online before you arrive, you can get a sense of how they operate. Check out their schedule, watch what other members are posting and pencil in future events on your calendar.
Before you know it, you might have a great group of like-minded friends. Finding people to hang with can make or break an iffy duty station.
3. Look Local
Part of your duty station research should always include local tourist websites. Even small towns have a website or Facebook page!
If there isn’t anything for your exact location, check out nearby towns and cities. You might find something super cool to do close to your next duty station. Filter your results based on what you and your family enjoy: wine tasting, museums, hiking, professional sports or the foodie scene. Then start saving places to check out in one master list or on your GPS mapping app.
You’ll have a bucket list before you know it!
4. Look on the Bright Side
“Bloom where you are planted!” Yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it. The super chipper statement doesn’t always help when you’ve got the PCS blues.
Instead, let’s find you some silver lining to an otherwise junk situation. What is possible at duty station XYZ that could maybe be ok?
Can you go back to school or advance your career in any way? Check out education or career opportunities on and off post. You never know what’s out there until you look. There might be a great, cheap program available or a plum job open.
What are you passionate about or want to try personally? A duty station with not much going for it can be a great time to explore personal passions or hobbies. You could possibly find a great side hustle or level up your skills!
What’s nearby and reasonably fun? Maybe develop a love of hiking or find a cool coffee spot. For those with kids, playgrounds are everywhere. You could make it a mission to find the absolute best one around you.
Make new friends and commiserate together. Enjoy beverages while you grouse about your base. You could end up making friends for life, and really enjoy this location as a result.
How is this good from the military angle? It might be a junk location for you, but your spouse could be non-deployable or in a training cycle with a cush schedule. Maybe this particular assignment will let your spouse request a great location next or work to ensure that promotion.
As a last resort, remember that everything is temporary and there are tons of awesome places to PCS next time.
How do you handle the news that you’re PCSing to your last choice post?
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