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: Pam Chavez
Years as a military spouse:
Married for 11 years and dated for 3 prior to marriage
Tell us your profession:
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist (and totally foodie) who is passionate about helping exhausted and overextended military spouses become vibrant and thrive again.
I went from being in the Army to being married to the Army. I know firsthand how it feels to be the forgotten one in this lifestyle, the true unsung hero.
I get the most happiness and fulfillment from Nutrition to Heal Yourself. I founded this business to improve the lives of military spouses by helping them honor their value.
I am the AFI 2018 Military Spouse of the Year Base Spouse Fort Riley. My publications can be found on FoodMatters and The Brick Magazine and my podcast “Hey Military Spouse, Your Time is Now,” which can be found on iTunes, is full of quick, bite-sized nuggets of goodness.
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
I am an entrepreneur, so I set my own hours but I seem to work a lot because I love it.
How long have you been working in this career field?
I launched my business just over two years ago, while we were stationed in Korea. If I wanted to work I had to create my own because getting a job as a holistic nutritionist in Korea would have been next to impossible.
Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?
The majority of my work is from home. Although I hold wellness workshops in the community too. While stationed in Korea I would give tours of the local outdoor markets to help military spouses break down the intimidation with local ingredients and language barriers.
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I love showing military spouses how simple healthy food can be and that it makes you feel amazing. Preparing healthy meals for yourself and your family doesn’t require exotic ingredients, isn’t expensive and is full of flavor.
There are so many incredibly hard parts to this lifestyle and it is super easy to always put your health on the back burner. Once you have the tools and more importantly, when you begin to reap the benefits life is much more enjoyable. When I help someone lose weight, skyrocket their energy, and begin feeling true happiness again, it is incredibly rewarding for me.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
Out of necessity and a drive to work, I launched my own business while we were stationed in Korea. Being an entrepreneur is so much harder than I thought it would be but it is also extremely gratifying. There are so many layers to building a business but I love the independence and creative direction I have by working for myself.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Be open to opportunity and start conversations in environments where you would like to work.
So much of getting employed is knowing someone or the right people.
Don’t just apply for jobs, but also make connections with people and let your personality shine.
How do you feel about failure?
Failure isn’t easy, but there is so much to learn in every situation. If there is a way to put the pieces together and figure out what failed, do it, adjust and get back in the game.
Failure doesn’t equal the end, unless you let it be that way.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
Gosh there are so many challenges while living the military lifestyle. Honestly one of my biggest challenges is my spouse being under constant stress and always working. The military has taken my spouse from me, physically and emotionally so consistently and it is tough to feel I don’t have my partner very often.
While promotions and career progression has its benefits, it also takes a toll on the soldier and increases work stress exponentially.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
The worst piece of career advice I received was when I was told to not work exclusively with military spouses because I would be limiting myself. I had hired a group of prominent business coaches and I felt they knew better than what my gut was telling me. Once I fired them and listened to my intuition, things began to take off.
The best piece of career advice I have received is to follow my instincts.
Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?
I would love to say it is my spouse and he is one of my support systems. Honestly though the best support systems I have are my girlfriends and other milspouses. My husband doesn’t really get my unique challenges because he doesn’t live this military spouse lifestyle.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
I would love to say that we do, but honestly that is not the case. My hope is that one day we will get there, right now with his work demanding so much of his time and energy we do not split household tasks.
Hiring a house cleaner has been a lifesaver for myself and my marriage. I used to get very resentful with the lack of help around the house. I don’t get weekends off so I didn’t see it as fair that my spouse wasn’t pitching in on his time off.
I decided to remove the possibility of resentments building and hired a house cleaner to come in and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
With three young boys my home is constantly needing something cleaned, so I still have plenty to take care of but it relieved a lot of time which I could use to build my business.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
It may not be your typical life-hack but starting my day by flooding my body with vitamins and nutrients with dark leafy greens and fruits sets my entire day up for success. The simple act of keeping frozen fruit, fresh spinach or kale, maybe some nuts or seeds and a bunch of water makes an incredibly delicious smoothie. Not only does it begin to clear the fogginess from my mind, it gives me loads of energy. This one habit sets the tone for my day by knowing I gave myself some love and influences positive decisions throughout my entire day.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone:
My Macbook. It is the lifeblood for my business and I step into work mode when I am on it.
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
Trello is my current favorite. It helps me stay on task while also mapping out what needs to get accomplished.
What’s your must-have song on your productivity playlist?
“Glorious” by Macklemore
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
Along with the power of food, yoga has been instrumental in my mind/body happiness. I had wanted to begin a yoga practice for many years. Once we moved to South Korea, which proved to be the most difficult transition thus far, I knew I had to give it a go. I was struggling with loneliness and the effects of my husband’s work stress spilling over into our home.
“Yoga with Adriene” was an amazing platform I stumbled upon on YouTube and she offers hundreds of free videos. I loved her style, quirkiness and sense of humor. She is perfect for a beginner too. I have done her videos consistently for over two years now and still love them just as much.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
My super hero power would be to fly.
I have always flown in my dreams and it always makes me so happy. Plus I could fly my children around to visit family that they miss dearly. Traveling with a family of five is expensive, exhausting and is such a chore.