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: Stacie Husmann
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your profession:
I own my own business, Cooking Thyme with Stacie.
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?
I host my cooking classes in our home.
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I love being able to share my joy of cooking and hospitality with others.
Being a military spouse and moving every two years can be difficult when trying to provide a happy home as well as nurturing relationships. I find that sharing a meal can create an environment that helps make the most of the time spent with friends and family.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
When I turned 40, our daughter was starting high school and our son was entering middle school. I realized that being a full-time stay-at-home mom was coming to an end.
What would I “do with myself?”
What was I qualified to do?
I had always had a small home-based business, from selling jewelry to home decor products, but what really was best suited to my talents and was still portable? My husband still had a number of years left on active duty and I still wanted to have a flexible schedule to be available for my family.
We had served for three years in Paris, France, when my husband was the assistant naval attaché at the American embassy. I developed my culinary and entertaining skills through dozens of events we hosted.
I also had taken a number of cooking classes outside of Paris in my free-time with a group of ex-pats. I loved the mornings I had spent cooking with them. I decided I could replicate the class experience and add my own experiences hosting international diplomats and military members!
I opened Cooking Thyme with Stacie in Hawaii in 2012. I have taught hundreds of students in Honolulu, Hawaii, Yokosuka, Japan and now Fairfax, Virginia.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
The constant moving and having to start over every few years (or less) is always a challenge!
It does not get any easier. Each new location has its own unique set of issues, especially when you do it with kids. I find I have to jump in right away, otherwise time passes and I have not invested in my community or in relationships.
Now that I have one child in college and a senior in high school you realize it is imperative to make the most of where ever you are! Whether you are alone while your spouse is deployed or not, don’t wait “for a better” time to do…fill in the blank.
It is not the place…it’s the people you invest in that will last!
How do you feel about failure?
Failure is not a word I use very much. Even if I fall short of a goal, it is a learning experience to build upon.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
After having my own home-based business for several years I have learned the importance of boundaries.
I could work more if I accepted bookings at night and during the weekends, but I found that it is too much of a strain on our family life. I feel my work needs to enhance, not complicate our family life. I need to set the goals for success, not what others think I should do.
I am much happier now that I have learned to say “no” on occasion.
Who is in your support squad?
My husband and children are very supportive of me and my business. Since we have moved three times since starting my business, I have also had to depend on my network of military friends to get the word out about my business each time I have to re-start it. Their assistance in marketing has enabled me to continue after each PCS.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
Communicating clearly is what I have found works best for our family. I do not assume the kids or my spouse know instinctively what needs to be done around the house. I find there is much less friction when I plainly list what needs to be done and ask for help with tasks.
In addition, since I am cooking frequently not only for our family but for my business as well, my husband knows how meaningful it is to me when he jumps in and cleans all the dishes.
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
I love Instagram. Not only to keep up with current trends, but I loved being able to see my daughter’s posts while she was studying abroad.
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do?
If I had an extra hour a day I would spend it reading. I would like to read not only for pleasure, but to expand my knowledge.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Being able to be in two places at once would be an ideal super power!
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
As a military spouse sometimes we have to create our own opportunities. Being stationed for short periods of time in numerous locations does not allow for one to build up a resumé with stable job experience many employers require.
What are you passionate about that you can share with others? If you can say to yourself “I would do it for free, I love it so much,” that may just be something you can turn into a profitable business.
Lastly, you need to have the confidence that your skills and expertise are worth paying for!