Archive for the 'Career' Category

Highlighting How Anna is “Keeping a Career on the Move®”

Jan 21 2015

AStartzell HeadshotPlease meet Anna and learn how she is “Keeping a Career on the Move®”:

Q: What branch of service are you affiliated with?
A:  Army

Q: Briefly tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I’m the spouse of a very busy engineer, and mom to two even busier girls, ages 3 and 15 months. Friends and family were baffled when I started dating my husband, as I didn’t fit the mold of a “typical” spouse! But the military is more diverse than people realize, and it’s been nice to show that to everyone. I am an extrovert and am a student government junkie, which has been helpful as a spouse. I love meeting people and try to join every organization I can find at new duty stations.

Q: Where has the military taken you?
A: Norfolk, VA; West Point, NY; and Fort Bliss, TX.

Q: What do you do for a living and are you working in your chosen career field?
A: Currently, I am a Transition Employment Liaison. I help separating and retiring service members and active-duty spouses connect to military-friendly employers. As part of my position, I review resumes, conduct mock interviews, and help them with job search strategies.

My academic background is in nonprofit management and international affairs. I found my dream job right out of graduate school, and was able to use my language skills and travel the world for three years with a mission-based organization. But eventually, travel starts to wear you down, and I was ready for a new challenge. I was fortunate enough to find jobs I loved at our first two duty stations as a married couple, working in higher education and still keeping my toes in international affairs.

While my current job is outside my field, I’ve come to really enjoy it. As a spouse, I know how to look for jobs, network, and I love being able to help service members and spouses navigate the next phase of their career. It’s very fulfilling to know that you’ve instilled someone with confidence to go out there and make a successful transition.

Q: What resources, programs or initiatives have you used to keep your career on the move?
A: InGear Career! I found my first position at Fort Bliss while we were still at West Point through a posting on their facebook page. I did my phone interviews on the drive from NY to TX outside fast food restaurants while my husband entertained our daughter inside. It was actually great, because it gave us something to do on the long drive – my husband would play the employer, and I’d work out how to best answer questions.

I’ve also reached out to my professional network with every move. I let them know we are on the road again, and what opportunities I may be seeking. I make a conscious effort to keep in touch with former colleagues and supervisors, by sending them our family holiday card, following them on LinkedIn, and congratulating them when they publish an article or receive a promotion through a personal email. I think that relationship building and sustaining is key for all job seekers, not only spouses. I don’t want my colleagues to only hear from me when I need a job reference (again!).

Q: What advice would you give to other military spouses who want to keep a career through the military lifestyle?
A: Know that it’s possible and be flexible. I’ve seen people throw the towel in, and you have to really put yourself out there to make it happen sometimes. It’s more difficult, absolutely, but not impossible. Be open to new and different opportunities when they present themselves. I love the teaching aspect of my job, and it’s made me rethink my own career direction in a positive way.

  How are you “Keeping a Career on the Move®”? Share your story with fellow military spouses.
Email the MOAA Spouse team at moaaspouse@moaa.org to learn more.

 

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Highlighting How Leslie is “Keeping a Career on the Move®”

Jan 14 2015

Leslie Brians

Please meet Leslie and learn how she is “Keeping a Career on the Move®”

Q: What branch of service are you affiliated with?
A:  Army

Q: Briefly tell us a little bit about yourself.
A: I am originally from Virginia Beach, VA and I’ve been an Army spouse since 2009. I met my husband while I was pursuing a Master of Architecture degree from Texas A&M University in 2007. I’m a self-professed nutrition and design junky who loves yoga, CrossFit, my dog, traveling, and good food.

Q: Where has the military taken you?
A: In the five years I’ve been a military spouse we’ve been stationed with USACE New Orleans and USAG Schweinfurt in Germany. We just moved back stateside in May. While my spouse is deployed for a year, I’m living in Charlotte, NC. When he returns, we’ll be moving to Ft. Bragg.

Q: What do you do for a living and are you working in your chosen career field?
A: I am the Creative Director and co-founder of InDependent, a fiscally-sponsored non-profit with the mission of offering health and wellness support for military spouses. When five other spouses and I founded InDependent over a year ago, we were able to design for ourselves what our role in the organization would be. Its founding was rather self-serving in a way: we wanted to be employed where ever we were stationed, doing something we loved, and effecting meaningful change. I have a degree in Architecture, and since that’s not really a very portable career, I took the design aspect of that field and I’ve been able to make it work at each duty station. My family calls me a “career chameleon.” Since marrying the military, I’ve worked in fashion, marketing, public affairs, web design, and now in health and wellness. Having different jobs at each duty station has really helped me become more well-rounded as a designer and a professional. I now get to combine my two passions in life: health/wellness and design. It’s a perfect job for me, even though I didn’t ever intentionally set out to do it.

Q: What resources, programs or initiatives have you used to keep your career on the move?
A: Making connections as soon as possible at your new duty station can help more than anything else. I make a point to analyze wherever I’m PCSing to and think in advance how I can best get involved, whether a paid job or volunteering, as you never know how one might evolve into the other. For my first on-post job I actually volunteered for a year in the garrison’s public affairs office and with MWR Marketing just designing event posters and other marketing materials. I found that position just by doing a search on VMIS (Volunteer Management Information System). Within a year I had a paying job in the Public Affairs Office, primarily due to the relationships I was able to cultivate during the year volunteering. I also have relied heavily on off-post resources. Some companies, especially in an increasingly portable field like design, will be more than happy to keep you on once you PCS. The internet is making it so much easier for us to do everything remotely that the opportunities are endless.

Q: What advice would you give to other military spouses who want to keep a career through the military lifestyle?
A: Be positive, make friends, and never be afraid to adapt your talents and keep learning. You may be set on having a specific career, but military life likes to throw curve balls. You have to be flexible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do what you love. Define your passions and your talents, and them see how those can be tweaked for whats available in your area. You never know where it might take you.

 How are you “Keeping a Career on the Move®”?
Share your story with fellow military spouses. Email the MOAA Spouse team at moaaspouse@moaa.org to learn more.

 

 

 

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