NextGen MilSpouse is going beyond traditional career tips and tricks for military spouses! We are sharing the real stories of working military spouses (just like you!) and their professional success stories on Wednesdays.
Name: Audrey Fairbrother
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your job title/profession:
I am the marketing manager for Worldwide101. We are a 100% remote premium virtual assistant company with VAs all over the U.S. and Europe. I’ve loved working for this company and they love hiring military spouses because they truly appreciate the remote, flexible lifestyle that the company offers.
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
How long have you been working in this career field?
Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?
Telecommute, work from home
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I love the company culture. I had a wonderful opportunity to go to the UK and meet with the rest of our company management team during a bi-yearly retreat. Everyone is so kind and truly believes in creating a win-win environment for our clients and our team members!
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I was stuck in a horrible corporate 9-to-5 that didn’t appreciate the flexibility military spouses need. I found this position through FlexJobs, applied and started as a virtual assistant. Three years later, I was promoted to marketing manager for the company.
Are you looking to connect with career-minded military spouses? Join one of In Gear Career’s 20+ local chapters around the world. In Gear Career is a part of Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Flexibility over ALL ELSE! Our lives are so unpredictable as military spouses. You need to find a career that really understands and allows you to flex your schedule and location around your life and the needs of your family. Remote work is a fabulous option. It removes the obstacle of having to start over in a new job every few years with each move.
How do you feel about failure?
Failure is just another lesson to learn. I’ve failed quite a few times in my career searches. But you can’t give up. When you find something that really fits, you realize why none of those other positions you applied for worked out.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
As I mentioned above, mainly just finding a job that allowed for flexibility! My husband is Army Special Forces, so deployments are sudden and often unplanned. If I need to take a day off to spend time with him before he leaves for 6 months, I want to be able to do that.
If I need to work flexed hours to make sure I can be there for our daughter when he’s gone, that’s important to me.
If I can get the same quality of work done from wherever we happen to be it’s important to me to work for a company that understands and supports that.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
The best piece of career advice I’ve ever received is from my dad. He said “Never use ‘It’s just business’ as an excuse to screw someone over.” I love this. It reminds you to be kind and fair over everything else in your career. It’s never steered me wrong.
The worst advice I’ve ever gotten was from an ex-boss who really did encourage employees to “be the first to arrive in the morning and the last to leave at night if you want to get ahead.” I disagree with this with every fiber of my being. Exhausting and overwhelming your employees will not make them happier or more productive, offering them work-life balance will.
Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?
My husband is amazing. He really supports me in my career in anyway he can. Whether it’s picking up and dropping off our daughter at daycare everyday, doing the bath and bedtime routines with her when I have to finish up for the day or just being a sounding board for my ideas, I absolutely couldn’t do it without his support. He appreciates and understands the sacrifices our family makes for his career and he does everything he can to return the favor.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks?
We split them! Cleaning, laundry and cooking are really my areas of expertise, and working from home gives me more time to do them.
He’s great at fixing things around the house, making sure the trash is out on trash day, handling paperwork and making sure our daughter’s room is “monster-free” at night. When he’s home, he’s really a 50/50 parent with me which is truly wonderful.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week:
Crockpot meals are a lifesaver. I’ve found some amazing ways to cook anything and everything in the crockpot! Set it and forget it. It gives you tons of time at night if you’re not worrying about what’s for dinner.
Also, I use Walmart’s online grocery ordering and pick-up. I haven’t had to step foot in a grocery store in over a year. It’s AMAZING. But even more so when you don’t have to haul an almost 2 year old with you! And it’s FREE!
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone.
My laptop obviously! Working remotely, your laptop is your office, so I treat it like the gold it is.
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
Slack! It’s amazing for quickly IMing co-workers. It gives me alerts throughout the day so I know if there is something that needs my attention immediately.
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
Lord Huron – She Lit A Fire. It’s so upbeat and fun.
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
Probably exercise. I always try to work it in as best I can. We live in Colorado Springs currently, so I love to run along the gorgeous mountain trails. But somedays, it takes a backseat. I’d love to make it more of a priority and it seems doable with an extra hour a day!
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
This probably sounds odd, but I wish I could emit Wi-Fi (Only remote workers will understand this haha!)
I have the ability to work from anywhere, so I love traveling and taking my work with me. But sometimes finding good Wi-Fi poses a challenge. If I could use this as my superpower, I’d work from the tops of mountains and boats in the middle of the ocean. I know it sounds like a strange super power, but that’s my wish.