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: Teresa Banner
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your profession:
I am thankful to work as a Registered Nurse and Certified Family Life Educator.
I’ve worked a couple of different roles in different towns we have lived in, and I feel honored to have the opportunity to support service members and their families in the work I am doing now.
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
How long have you been working in this career field?
5+ years’ experience in serving families in a variety of different organizations
Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I *LOVE* supporting military families. I know firsthand the challenges of military life, and I believe that serving those who serve our country is a privilege.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I have had the same position in three different military-connected communities, so maintaining connections with my previous employers and coworkers has been important to helping me stay connected to opportunities that come up in places that we move to.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
There doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get everything done sometimes. Keeping a weekly and daily routine as much as possible is important in helping our family stay connected with each other and with our other commitments/extra-curricular activities.
How do you feel about failure?
The fear of failure is something we all have to overcome. As military spouses we develop a certain familiarity with being in situations in which the future is unknown. It can certainly be scary and stressful!
But I found that using the experience of overcoming fears as a military spouse can help me overcome fears in taking risks in my career, like going to graduate school. (Especially in a field that was very different from my undergraduate degree!)
Military spouses are brave, and we can take risks to accomplish our goals!
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Never stop learning.
I regularly look for classes and continuing education opportunities that can help me stay up-to-date and maintain my licenses/certifications.
Not just professionally – but personally – I think that seeing yourself as a lifelong learner helps practice and build resilience – always important in military life!
Who is in your support squad?
My husband is very supportive of my career, and he jumps in to do what is needed with the kids when I have had to work late or on weekends in the past. My parents and siblings are supportive when it comes to giving advice.
I have sweet friends who know that I’m not available for a coffee meet-up during work hours but still keep in touch with me anyways. I also rely on mentors in both nursing and ministry whom I know are only a phone call or text away.
I am thankful for the support that I have from near and far. It takes a village!
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
After staying home for a couple of years when my kids were babies it was a big transition to go back to work. My husband and I decided to divide up several household chores, and while talking about it we realized that my least favorite things to do around the house (dish washing and lawn mowing) and his least favorite things (dusting and vacuuming) were not the same, so it was a win-win!
We found a routine then that we mostly stick to still today. We make adjustments as needed when we have changes to schedules.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
Every Saturday night my kids pick out their clothes for the next week and put them in a set of plastic drawers labeled for the days of the week. The weather forecast app and I help provide guidance (“no we cannot wear shorts when it is 20 degrees outside…”) but they make decisions about what they wear. This helps reduce the risk of I-have-nothing-to-wear moments in the mornings, and helps me know if I need to do laundry pronto to keep up with the week!
The idea originally came from somewhere on social media and saves us a lot of time in the mornings. I started this when I was working long hours on Sundays, and we have kept up the routine, which saves a lot of time and stress during the week.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone.
Tiles that attach to important items and the Tile app. This way my keys are never really lost! I can find them no matter where I left them!
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
Adobe Scan – great for e-mailing signed permission slips that I forgot to send with my kids to school right from my phone, and also efficient for work (keeping up with receipts, etc.)
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
Quietdrive’s remake of the 1982 song, “Africa” – love it!
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do?
READ! I have a large stack of books that I intend to read, but usually don’t finish as quickly as I would like to. Even though reading is not my absolute favorite pastime there is a special space of peace and quiet that comes with reading.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Being able to fly would help us get to all of the weeknight commitments and extracurricular activities!
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Be flexible! Keep an open mind, and avoid letting your career fall into a pigeonhole.
I realized that as a registered nurse I was specialized in a very specific field and had to wait for a position in that field to come available when moving to an new duty station. So…I went to graduate school!
With a master’s degree in family studies and a Certified Family Life Educator credential I feel much less restricted to just one career path. Now I am qualified to work in many more areas than just nursing.
In fact, I previously worked in ministry at a church, and I hope to return to that field of work someday. It’s hard to imagine how one person could have two very different career paths – nursing and ministry – but I am grateful that it has worked out for me.