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: Devon Gardner
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your job title/profession:
Social Media Consultant. Owner and Founder of Devon Victoria Communications
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
I am a freelance consultant.
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?
Work from home
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
The flexibility of determining my own clients, schedule, workload and location!
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
My background is in Public Relations. There is a natural cross-over with social media, so when I was working at a PR firm I started managing social media strategies for clients. Eventually, I worked solely in social media as the Director of Social Media at a digital marketing agency.
After 4 years at that agency, I decided to take a leap of faith and branch out on my own and start my own social media consultancy company. One of the best decisions of my life!
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Network! My best clients have come from referrals from people who knew of me and my services. Since military spouses are often relocating, establishing your network in your new location is very important. Look up clubs and events in your industry and try to attend at least one per month.
How do you feel about failure?
I am very hard on myself and avoid failure at all costs, though I know that’s not the correct attitude.
Whenever I have children, I want to teach them how to fail and fail proudly so that they can learn from their mistakes because I think it is such a strong characteristic. I suppose I will have to face my fear of failure in order to teach them this lesson!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
I have been very lucky that we were always located in one place, so I didn’t have to move around and switch jobs or re-network. But dealing with hectic training schedules and months of deployments certainly made it hard to focus on work whenever my husband was home because of wanting to prioritize our time together – so finding a balance and a boss who understood that was important.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
That no one will ever give it to you, you have to ask for it. (In terms of the position you want, the salary you want, etc.)
Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?
Definitely my husband. He is my biggest cheerleader and gives me the confidence I need to tackle big things like starting my business, ending a relationship with a difficult client, etc. Also, my parents.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
Yes, and I am so appreciative of that. I cook, he does the dishes. I get all the laundry in the wash, he folds it. I do the grocery shopping, he keeps the closer eye on our finances, etc. We just sort of fell into that pattern – we’re both “do-ers.” However, there have been times when we have asked the other to help with xyz.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
Prioritize sleep and healthy eating. I can’t be productive nor cheerful when I’m exhausted or eating poorly. Finding a way to get both will reap rewards.
Favorite app for making the most of your day?
I don’t use a lot of productivity apps…truly I use the good ol’ notebook with a daily to-do list!
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
Dedicate time to mindfulness, like meditation.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Stopping time! I always want more of it. I’d love to stop time, get chores/errands done, and then re-start it
Are you a working military spouse? Do you want to share your career tips and tricks? Fill out the MilSpouses Who Work It Q&A today. Click here to complete our form.