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: Kira Shuman
Years as a military spouse: 9
Tell us your profession:
System administrator at my current base, but usually I work in cybersecurity
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?
Work from home now, but I have telecommuted in the past
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
At my current job I love the atmosphere and the people. I always love learning about new networks and configurations, and since I am relatively new to this job, there’s still a lot to discover!
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I used USAJOBS to find positions available, applied, interviewed and was hired. I was very lucky to get a job here as there are limited slots in my field and it’s a gamble whether or not one will come open.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Get some mentors and grow! Jobs will come as a byproduct.
I have a handful of mentors. It’s nothing formal but I look to them when I have career questions. I recently found a new one through Veterati, a free program for military spouses. I already had all the cybersecurity credentials I could think of, and he gave me a new path and passion.
I have another mentor who helped me rewrite my resume for government jobs. She knew nothing about my job but she knew everything about resume writing! I had a sparkling resume already but she really made it shine!
How do you feel about failure?
I beat myself up over it.
Then I let (failure) become the flame that lights the fire of my passion to do better, be better.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
The diversity of locations for my spouse’s job…where there are limited or no jobs for me.
I’ve been lucky and was able to largely maintain the same career field, but at times I work in other extensions of my career field. I don’t mind though. I often find these positions to be edifyingly broadening and highly educational.
I have learned so much more from my varied jobs than I ever would have if I had stayed in one place.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
The best was always keep growing and learning. There’s an infographic I saw that said if you read one hour a day about your chosen profession you will be an international expert in seven years. That inspired me. Seven years can seem like a long time, but after 10 years in cybersecurity I can say all that reading (and growth) hasn’t hurt.
The worst was “I now see you as my peer.”
This was from a former boss after I passed a certification test cold that he had struggled to barely pass. I had long known I outqualified him in education, experience, and general knowledge, and he had been on my hiring panel. But…it took a side by side comparison after working with him for two years for him to even see my qualifications as equal to him.
I made a resolution that day to never underestimate and devalue anyone on my team the way he did me.
Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?
My spouse. Always. First and foremost. He is my everything, my rock, my sounding board, my partner in everything. He is the one person I can always count on no matter what. He’s the man behind this woman.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
Split. The percentage depends on his position. He has had easier positions that allowed him time to do more, and more demanding positions that allow less flexibility…And deployments or geobach assignments that meant no help. But that’s the military life we love.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
Since I work I can usually share and sync my work and phone calendar with my spouse’s calendar. It keeps us connected with our kid’s school’s events, our work, and any errands or extracurriculars we have.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone.
TV. It’s my one escape from hectic schedules!
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do?
Catch up on sleep.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Ability to read and absorb knowledge at unimaginable speeds.