Business Name: Schofield Strategies
Year Established: 2011
Your Name: Michelle Campbell
Military Branch Affiliation: Army
Years as a Military Spouse: 16
Children: 13, 5, 3
Business Name: Forte Virtual Support Solutions
Year Established: 2012
Tell Us About Your Business: Forte Virtual Support Solutions is an administrative consulting company that offers a variety of support services to successful executive and business coaches, consultants, speakers, and authors who are experiencing a plateau and are poised for growth but are overwhelmed by the pressure of running their business and doing it all themselves. We help these busy professionals by working closely in their business to develop and implement solutions to their greatest creative, administrative, and operational challenges so they can work smarter and can get back to doing what they do best while maintaining a strong work/life balance.
– You can’t find your dream job where you are currently stationed.
– You have an idea of what you want to do but no experience doing it.
– You’ve been contemplating a change to your career but aren’t sure you’d really like it.
– You just want to get out of the house.
– You’d like a little extra cash.
– You know that you are only going to be stationed at a place for a year or less.
Most likely, one or all of these statements have applied to you at some point in your life. In each of the cases above, temporary, contract and freelance work can provide the almost-perfect answer. Unfortunately, not enough of military spouses are utilizing these types of opportunities to enhance their career development.
by Kaye Putnam, Guest Contributor
It is practically required of us, with our environment and friends getting shaken up every couple of years. Networking is the process of making friends and building relationships. In the arena of careers and businesses, relationships are a key to being successful.
While our military lifestyle give us opportunities to network (like FRG meetings, military balls and coffee socials), we can kick our relationship building up a notch by putting some effort into it. This month, resolve to be an adventurous networker.
Kaye Putnam (@marketingkaye) is a brand strategist for entrepreneurs. When she’s not helping clients inject more personality into their businesses, she loves making new career-minded military spouse friends, hosting dinner parties, and exploring her island home in Hawaii. You can find more about her and listen to her branding podcast at KayePutnam.com.
After reading Military Spouse Success- Just Survive, by Kaye Putnam of Successful Military Wife, I immediately knew I had something to add to the conversation. Even though Kaye “almost didn’t write this post,” I am ever so glad that she did.
She posed two questions to her Facebook community:
1. “Who are the most successful military spouses you know?”
2. “Curious! What is your dream job?”
Interestingly enough, the answers the first question didn’t quite get answered the way I, nor Kaye, expected. Where I expected to hear about military spouses who are paving the way in blending their military spouse identity along with their professional identity, respondents listed accolades about spouses like the happiness of her/his family or how graceful one is under pressure.
And even when Kaye pushed to ask about military spouses who balance career and family, she was rebuffed by a commenter that said “that is not a universal definition of success”.
Okay, I get that. Success means something different to everybody.
But I wonder, is it truly that we, as military spouses, don’t seek professional success or is it that we’ve resigned ourselves to accept a reality that we just can’t have it and have had to seek solace in other definitions of success?
Dare I say, it’s the latter. I think we gave up on ourselves. Because, according to her second question, “What is your dream job,” our dreams are still alive and kicking.
Which brings me to a bigger question that we really don’t like discussing.
What’s the cost we face, as individuals and as military spouses, when we choose to close the door on our careers, even if it’s just for a few years?
I have so many friends, military spouses, who are facing their spouse’s retirement. I want to call it their retirement too, because they’ve sacrificed their own careers in support of their servicemember’s career. They’re finding themselves facing a new normal. And many are desperately trying to reenter the workforce after years of opting out.
These women are starting from scratch. It’s humbling and upsetting for them to find themselves at the bottom of the bunch …at entry level (even if they left their industry at the top of their game). Or learning that your only choice is returning to school to retrain.
When we choose to stay-home and sacrifice our career progression, there’s a very real monetary cost that goes along with that. Please know, I know how important and priceless it is to share those precious moments at home with your children nurturing your family. It is a choice I made for myself and for my family.
Despite my commitment to staying home, I know that every day I stay home…every year I’m out of work…has the potential to have a detrimental affect on my overall financial stability and marketability in the workplace. I choose to stay extremely aware that I am willingly and knowingly putting myself at risk.
Because I rely on my spouses income, if he were to perish, it would be on me to rebuild a life for ourselves. Or if we divorced (even though it’s never been something either of us would entertain), I would be at a disadvantage. If he were to get injured and no longer could work to support us, I’d be at disadvantage. My family would be at risk.
Even though we’ve taken the proper steps to insure ourselves in the event of the unimaginable, there are still steps I’ve taken to hedge my bets against the risks I face from choosing to stay at home:
We give so much of ourselves to others. We must learn how to take time to grow ourselves and our dreams as well. As beautiful as the choice to stay home is, it comes at a price that we cannot afford to choose to ignore.
Business Name: Sparkle Social
Year Established: 2010
Tell Us About Your Business:
Sparkle Social is a social media, email and blog strategy, optimization and management company for small to mid-size businesses.
Are you looking for a conference opportunity that fits your budget and your lifestyle? This is where The Blog Workshop comes in!
We all know that the coolest bloggers go to all sorts of conferences, but for most of us the cost just isn’t feasible: conference registration, plane tickets to get there, and hotel rooms, along with food and other things you need to travel…can be really expensive. And we all know how hard it is to try to get full or even partial sponsorship to these events.
Compared to the death-defying jobs of Felix Baumgartner and Jeb Corliss (whom I referenced in a previous blog), the majority of all other professions seem rather unexciting and dull.
While I can honestly state that I would never want any part of my career to involve breaking the speed of sound in a free fall or flying without two big engines and a pilot, I do enjoy a little variety and excitement in my job.
Yet, I wouldn’t be a good career coach if I didn’t acknowledge that not everyone finds the things I enjoy exciting (i.e. researching the latest job trends, finding the hidden job market and evaluating the impact of personality on career paths). What one person finds exciting may be a great cure for insomnia for someone else.What’s frustrating to observe though, is that more military spouses are resigning themselves to jobs that they are told will be great for them when they are actually overqualified and underpaid.
Name: Raven W. Green
Military Branch Affiliation: Army
Years as a Military Spouse: 10 (also a Navy Brat)
Children: (ages) Danica, 6 aka Blondie and Delayna, 3 aka Ginger
Blog Name: Live, Love & Learn with Ms. MommyHH6
Raven—AKA Ms. MommyHH6—is an Army wife of 10 years, mother of two beautiful little miracle girls, freelance writer, special needs advocate, avid book reader, social media/tech/Apple geek, and aspiring author. Awards include “Top 25 Military Mom Blogs 2012 by Circle of Moms” and “Fort Lee Military Spouse of the Year 2013 by Military Spouse Magazine”.
Nobody knows the challenges that military spouses face like other military spouses. And when it comes to business, unless you’ve had to pack up a business and move it across the country or around the world, it can be hard to even imagine the difficulties that come with relocating your business headquarters every two to three years. It was in the face of these difficulties that a small group of military spouse business owners came together and created the Military Spouse Business Association.