“(The) Worst Piece Of Advice Was That I Could Never Have A Successful Career As An Engineer While Being A Military Spouse.”

Military spouse Carrie Tilley loves that she gets paid to build and test new products as a systems test engineer.

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.

Military spouse Carrie Tilley loves that she gets paid to build and test new products as a systems test engineer.

Name: Carrie Tilley

Years as a military spouse:


Tell us your job title/profession:

Systems Test Engineer

Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?


How long have you been working in this career field?

7 months as a Systems Test Engineer, but 9 years as an engineer

Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?

Must of the time in the office

Tell us one thing you love about your job.

I get paid to build and test new products.

How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.

I meet one of the (company’s) Vice Presidents at a Christmas party and passed my resume onto HR. HR gave my resume to different engineering and quality groups. After 2 sets of interviews over a 3-month period of time, she found 2 groups that wanted to hire me.

It pays to be nice to HR and send thank yous to everyone you talk to.

What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?

Don’t give up and continue to network with everyone you can.

How do you feel about failure?

You can’t succeed without failing a few times along the way. That is how we grow in our personal and professional lives.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?

Trying to re-enter the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom and graduate student was harder than I thought. I started job hunting about 3 months before I finished graduate school. Overall it took many emails, phone calls and interviews, but I happily accepted a position 6 months later.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.

Never stop learning or turn down a challenge. You never know what will come out of it.

Worst piece of advice was probably that I could never have a successful career as an engineer while being a military spouse.

Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?

My grandfather always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. He encouraged me to go to college and follow my dreams.

My husband has been my rock. He supported me going back to get my master’s. He was by my side during my job hunt. He has taken on more responsibilities at home so I can work late when I need to.

Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks?

We both do what we have to do to keep our household running. He has really stepped up without complaining too much.

Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.

Your house doesn’t have to be spotless. Take time to play with your kids. It is OK to break your routine.

Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone.

My Fitbit.

Favorite app for making the most of your day?

Google calendar, so I can keep track of all my family’s activities.

Must-have song on your productivity playlist?

“America’s Sweetheart” by Elle King

If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?

Spend it with my family. I have been working a lot lately and have been missing out on spending quality time with my family. Getting an extra hour with them would mean the world to me.

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?

I was asked this exact question at work. I would want the power to heal children. I saw at an very early age how difficult it is for a parent to lose a child. If I could stop that from happening, I would.

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. 




  1. I am so happy to see that as a military spouse you can be an engineer! This is definitely a fear of mine and it is such a wonderful sight to see that it is possible!


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