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: Jen Jones
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your profession:
Sustainability Coordinator. I also moonlight as a dance teacher.
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?
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I get to feel like I’m doing something positive for the world.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
Mixture of luck, experience, and some excellent support and resources from Hiring Our Heroes particularly their AMPLIFY session.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Persistence is key! It took me over a year to find this job and if I’d have given up I wouldn’t be here.
Also don’t be too proud to work where you have to to get the skills/money you need while you’re looking for the perfect opportunity.
I served pizza and adjunct taught until I could find this job.
How do you feel about failure?
I have a tangled relationship with failure!
There are so many lessons to be leaned from failing and I’m always talking about its merits to the students I work with and to my colleagues. But when I experience failure I take it really hard.
Malcolm Gladwell’s article “The Art of Failure” and Brené Brown’s work have both helped me to get better at using failure for a purpose.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
For me, it’s been getting comfortable with the fact that the military is the non-negotiable priority #1. I’ve only been at this for a little while and thankfully haven’t had to deal with it too much (though I know it’s coming.)
But as a strong and independent women who is very career-driven I have to remind myself a lot why we are doing this and why my career has to come second.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
Best: the concept of a “crooked trajectory” from my first boss. We all have a path and some of our paths seem to be crooked and going all over the place until you find a job that all the seemingly random skills you’ve accumulated come together to make you really good at it.
Worst: the traditional idea of figuring out what you want to do when you’re 18, getting a degree in that, and then working in that job for the rest of your life.
My job didn’t even exist when I went to college.
Who is in your support squad?
Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Professional Network folks, my former work wife and BFF who’s also a milspouse serving in Hungary (she’s a BAMF), my sisters, and of course my sailor.
Do you and your partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
We literally took a chalkboard easel left over from the wedding and wrote out all the chores and their frequency and split them up by workload. I was doing most of it until I got hired full-time and really was feeling overwhelmed with it all.
And we don’t even have kids (you warrior moms amaze me).
I’m lucky that my husband (though sometimes begrudging) is willing to help out.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
1) Sometimes it doesn’t matter that your house doesn’t look like Joanna Gaines just left. This is a hard one for me but when there’s only so much time you have to prioritize what matters.
2) One of the awesome speakers at AMPLIFY gave me this gem – outsource when possible. I would have never considered hiring a housekeeper but am now looking for someone to help so I can placate my analyses and still make #1 happen.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone.
The Google software suite!
Favorite app for making the most of your day?
What’s your must-have song on your productivity playlist?
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis “Can’t Hold Us” and any Disney classic (belted at the top of my lungs, of course).
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
Sleep?? Yoga or meditate. They always end up at the end of the priority list even though I know how much they benefit me.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
Slow down and speed up time – to help through the hard stuff and cherish the good stuff