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: DeJa Clift
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your job title/profession:
I’m a Juvenile Justice Specialist. I carry a case load of about 20 to 30 youth who aren’t juvenile delinquents or youthful offenders and I work to keep them on the right path and get treatment as to not re-offend.
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
How long have you been working in this career field?
1 year. I was a social worker before
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.
When my kids learn respect. Simple things like addressing me as Mrs. Clift when they call. When they began to change their language their behavior is not far behind.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I believe it was my interview skills. I had been a stay-at-home mom for the previous year and had a gap in employment but I was upfront with the interviewers. I was knowledgeable about the position and I made them laugh.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Be open with the employer about your spouse’s status and how your family works in the “about me” part of the interview.
Are you looking to connect with career-minded military spouses? Join one of In Gear Career’s 20+ local chapters around the world. In Gear Career is a part of Hiring Our Heroes and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
How do you feel about failure?
Failure is a part of life. It happens to the best of us. Just get up shrug your shoulders and go again. Just don’t quit.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
Most people think I’ll be moving in a year or 6 months, so why bother. My husband is National Guard so this isn’t the case but he does get called up for active duty and when he does, this does not change my living situation. It does however change my emotional state and my life for a bit until we (my kids and I) readjust. We’re human.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
Every interview is a chance at a job. You may not get that one but that interviewer may remember you when another position comes to mind plus you get the experience. You work through your answers, your posture, your gaze and your jokes.
Worst advice: Roll with it. (Don’t do this. Research the company! The position! The people if possible.)
Who is in your support squad (i.e. spouse, neighbor, bff) and what role do they play in supporting your career?
My huz all the way. He was away and unable to coach me before I got my current position but I remembered his words and killed it. He always tells me I’m stronger than I think and tougher than I look. I never thought I could be a probation officer but the kids don’t BS me like I imagined they would. Small but mighty.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks?
My husband does the dishes, trash, laundry, and lawn. I cook! Ha, he really is an awesome house husband, who also works full-time.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week:
Getting all my kids’ and my clothes out with shoes on Sunday night. So easy, but if I forget, our mornings are havoc.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone:
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
Overdrive. Audio books!
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
Can’t Stop the Feeling by JT
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Cook dinner in under a minute