Archive for the 'Career' Category

Relaunching Your Career

May 06 2016


More and more people are talking about taking “breaks” from their careers; to have and raise children, to take care of ill and elderly parents, to go back to school or change their career trajectory. Military spouses, on the other hand, have been doing and talking about this since … well, forever. That doesn’t mean those other people don’t have really good tips that we can use for relaunching ourselves into the career we put on hold because of a spouse’s military service requirements. Programs like iRelaunch are building businesses out of helping people get to the next stage in their career. I recently attended a panel discussion by the Women’s D.C. Bar Association about this very topic and took away some tips that everyone can use.

  • Network, network, network — Reach out to one, build one, find one. Whatever home support you have in your life — your spouse, your parents, your friends, your babysitter — be clear with them about what you can and can’t do during this transition and where you need help. You will be relying on them. Hopefully, you have also maintained the professional network you had before your break; get their input, their glowing references, and their help in connecting you. If you are on a new career path, find a network that matches it. Join an association of like-minded professionals, arrange informational interviews, go for coffee and feel out that new path.
  • Before you relaunch your career, you need to relaunch your confidence — This is probably one of the hardest and yet most critical skills that relaunchers have to use. Taking a break can make you feel like you missed out on important professional milestones, but you shouldn’t forget that you were likely learning new, important skills during that break. For whatever reason, your break mattered, and you have still have earned a position in the professional world. You don’t need a handout, nor do you want one. You are the right person for the right job – you just need to find it.
  • Take every interview — If after applying for a position you realize that it’s probably not a good fit and an interview is offered, take it. You need the practice and you have to relaunch your confidence, so hone those skills every chance you get. If your résumé gap/career break comes up – answer very briefly and without emotion (five seconds is probably enough), “I took a break to care for my family, and now I’m ready and excited to get back to work.”
  • Don’t limit yourself — Keep an open mind. Yes, you should have some focus on the direction you are going, but don’t get so specific that you miss a golden opportunity that just hadn’t occurred to you before. The world has likely changed a little since you took your break and you don’t always know what you missed.
  • But, know your boundaries — Don’t become so grateful for a job that you forget your own limits and value. A break is not a “go back to zero” proposition, so don’t start offering to get coffee or pick up the dry cleaning if that isn’t the job you were looking for.
  • Have patience, be realistic, and don’t be too hard on yourself — It’s likely you will have a few rejections before finding a good match. Don’t take that as a bad sign or that you aren’t good enough. There are a lot more mismatches out there than there are matches. Take the time to find a good one.
  • Don’t do this alone — Get a therapist, a life coach, a pastor, take a class … the list of support and growth opportunities are endless, and there is no shame in using any of them.

While this list of tips is by no means exhaustive, it is a great start. Lastly, if you are a MOAA Premium or Life member, we can help you navigate the process.

-Brooke Goldberg


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Partners in Life & Business

May 03 2016

Published by under Career,Military Spouses


Entrepreneurship can provide today’s military spouse with much needed professional stability as they navigate the life of service. However, despite its many benefits, starting a business ranks high on the “top marriage stressors” list. Even if your spouse’s day job involves a uniform, they can invest in your business through other resources.

Here are a few tips for starting a business and staying (happily) married:

Establish Good Boundaries

Small Business Trends reported 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their business at home. While that spare bedroom or revamped garage might seem like the perfect incubator space for your start-up, the constant presence of your home-based business in your family’s home life can present a challenge. Whether it’s checking emails at 11:55 p.m., or filling holiday orders as part of your Saturday morning routine, it’s easy to let your business take over when good boundaries aren’t in place.

While operating a home-based business, I maintain two different phone lines — one personal, one professional — to assist with preventing business communications from taking over my life. Additionally, I’ve learned to establish boundaries regarding office versus living space and strive to prevent this month’s batch of invoices from creeping over onto our dining room table. While establishment of physical boundaries might seem rather obvious, it’s a practice that’s often easier said than done with today’s tech-saturated entrepreneurs.

Money Matters

Many entrepreneurs rely on personal savings and family loans to get their business off the ground. Maybe it’s to purchase your first round of inventory or build a high-tech website — regardless of where your solicited capital comes from, you should always have a written plan for how you will manage business revenue and expenses. Sit down with your spouse and commit to a financial plan for your business you both can agree on.

Don’t fall into the trap of never paying back your investors (even if it’s your spouse) or draining all business profits as personal income without reinvestment. Even if your spouse isn’t involved as a 50/50 partner in your business, maintaining clear communication regarding your company’s financial plans and performance can help ease tension and prevent money misunderstandings within your marriage.

Work-Life Balance

A 2013 study by The Alternative Board found about half of all U.S. entrepreneurs worked 50 or more hours per week, with 20 percent working 60 hours or more per week. Now that’s a lot of hours! As anyone who’s launched a successful business can attest, putting in a lot of time is a typical requirement. Unfortunately, many of these self-employment challenges can come at the expense of the entrepreneur’s health and relationships.

When managing your business, don’t overlook managing yourself. Work with your spouse to honor established working hours and communicate when those overwhelming feelings of exhaustion begin to creep in. No one knows you better than your spouse — encourage them to hold you accountable to prioritizing your own well-being along with business performance.


Entrepreneurship offers today’s military spouses a way to achieve professional stability both during and following their spouse’s service. While the challenges of running your own business can be daunting, a supportive relationship with your spouse can help alleviate the strain. Few relationships are as strong as a good military marriage. My husband and I have a saying, “if we got through the war together, we can get through anything.”

— Hannah Becker

About the Author:

Hannah Becker is an author, entrepreneur, professor, and military spouse. She currently provides millennial marketing and public relations consulting services through Becker Marketing & PR, and owns the grass fed beef operation Willow Springs Farm. Hannah is passionate about military spouses achieving their professional goals. Follow Hannah on Twitter at @MotivatedGenY and learn more about her professional journey at:


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