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: Elizabeth Peace
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your profession:
Public Affairs Specialist for DoD (Department of the Army, GS-12) and Mrs. Ft. Meade competed for Mrs. Maryland in May on my platform Operation Innocence: Creating safe homes for children
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
How long have you been working in this career field?
15 years as a journalist, 3 in public affairs, 6 as an advocate
Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?
Office and a lot of TDYs
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
Getting to do my intended career. Having to leave journalism I felt nearly destroyed me.
Getting to work in media and communication has made me feel whole again.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
I left journalism two years ago and got a job in Congress in D.C. I knew that wasn’t a great solution for me and tried for two years to find another job. I nearly gave up until another milspouse in a milspouse career group told me about CPAC and military preference.
With 15 years of experience and a great resume, I didn’t think I would need military spouse preference but within a month of signing up, I had two offers; one as a GS-12 and one as a GS-13.
I took the GS-12 because it was offered first and I’m glad I did. The 13 would’ve been a commute to the Pentagon and to be honest, would have been more up my lane job-wise, but I never realized how much I would LOVE the job the Army offered. I’m incredibly happy here.
Another Facebook group, Veterans 2 Federal Government Jobs, taught me how to perfect a federal resume.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Broaden your options and hire Lex Levin to write your resume.
When I left my job as a news anchor, I ONLY wanted to work in journalism. I was deadset on it. Now I’m a Public Affairs Officer and my husband says he’s never seen me this happy workwise.
How do you feel about failure?
I used to take it very personally but I’m learning that failure just means you tried something. I don’t give up easily but I do need to practice not letting failure make me feel like I have some serious personal faults.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
My TDYs. I ended up taking a job as a civilian with an Army unit that travels more than 100 days a year. It’s incredibly exciting and came at the right time as my husband doesn’t deploy much now that he’s in D.C.
However, I rarely left my two children before now and that is incredibly difficult to do even though my TDYs are always less than 10 days at a time.
The other challenge is planning anything! He gets orders for three years and they change after two. I want to start planning moving home in the future and I know that I have no control over where we go until he finishes his 30 years – 15 left to go!
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
Get a mentor and be a mentor. No matter how long you’ve been in a career, there is always someone with more experience that you can learn from. Then you should pass that on to the next generation.
I think the worst was to not take certain jobs because “I’m a mom.” My children absolutely come first but there are some people who think that if you have to work, you should only work as, say a receptionist. Nothing against receptionist jobs!
But you can be a good mom and go TDY, be a police officer (which I did when I served in the military), be a service member, etc.
Your career doesn’t make you a bad parent but by turning down what you love if you can balance work and family, you’re really telling yourself that you no longer matter and you’re showing your children to give up on their dreams.
Who is in your support squad?
My best friend!!!! I call her about everything!
And, of course, my husband. I couldn’t go TDY very easily without his support. I’m lucky he understands my job and my love for traveling and is being supportive.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
We split. I’m a bit old-fashioned in that I still think he should the “heavy lifting” like take out the trash, clean up the dog poop. And yet, not so much that he doesn’t care when I make more money than him and he is the cook every night.
I do the laundry and up until this new job, the children’s homework and schooling was left up to me mostly.
He’s much more hands-on now that he’s back from two years unaccompanied in Japan.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
Prioritize, delegate, breath, yoga, sleep. I like to keep up on housework and do a little each day, giving the kids chores, so that it doesn’t all pile up on precious weekends where we could be spending time together.
Exercise and sleep is KEY for keeping my emotions and stress level in check.
And date night. We disagree less when we go on regular date nights.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone.
Alexa and Google home (yep, I have both)
Favorite app for making the most of your day?
I still use a paper agenda for planning out my day but I also input everything into a Google family calendar. It’s a lifesaver for me and my husband.
What’s your must-have song on your productivity playlist?
I listen to motivational speeches on YouTube instead.
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
I’d like to say I don’t use that time to randomly scroll Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. That I would spend it writing my next book or advocating for children.
But sometimes I mindlessly scroll social media. I guess we all have our downfalls. Mine isn’t watching “The Bachelor,” it’s Facebook.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Teleporting for sure!