Jan 21 2015
Q: What branch of service are you affiliated with?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.