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: Jenah Wieczorek
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your job title/profession: Director of Community Outreach for PCSgrades
When I met my handsome soldier, I was a dental hygienist in Atlanta living that single good life. The uniform did me in and we were married less than a year after meeting. I realized immediately that not all states would recognize my dental hygiene license and though I did get certified outside of the state of Georgia, this wasn’t going to be a career I could take with me everywhere we PCSed.
I then started thinking about things I enjoyed and might have a slight knack for and social media popped into mind. Fast forward a few years and I’m the Director of Community Outreach for PCSgrades.
Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?
I technically work part-time but it’s pretty much full-time. It’s always on my brain.
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?
I work from home and also from the library on Ft. Leavenworth. They have super fast internet and it forces me to climb out of pajamas a few days a week.
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
They understand (almost) all the acronyms I use and don’t blink an eye when I say “We are PCSing, I need 2 weeks off.” To truly have my team also be a part of my little military community is the best.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
A fellow military spouse introduced me virtually to Todd, the CEO, of PCSgrades. After talking we realized that both of our “whys” match up and it was onward and upward from there.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Use the network you have. I put a post on FB that I was thinking of getting back into the job market and I was interested in x, y, and z. A milspouse friend saw it and thought of me when she heard of an opening that matched my description a few weeks later.
How do you feel about failure?
I fail at numerous things each week. Last week, I emailed military families in Hawaii asking them to leave housing reviews at Camp Pendleton which you know…is not in Hawaii. I then told them to have a happy Fri-yay and it was actually Thursday.
We are all human and make mistakes and have a lot on our plates so I just laugh at myself, drink more coffee, and move on.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
I realized right from the start that professional licensing is a beast to tackle. It’s more than just paying fees to be certified in that state. Had I known I was going to become a military spouse, I would have explored my interest in the photography more.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of career advice I ever received came from listening to someone else’s answer of why they do the job they do. He said he doesn’t always enjoy his job every single day, but he enjoys the overall mission of that job/company and the people that he works with. I took that to heart.
It’s not always rainbows and sunshine each day, but I do really enjoy my teammates and our common mission to do good.
Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?
This will sound corny but my spouse is my biggest fan in all things.
I want to be a dental hygienist but might need to go back to school to certify in some states – he says here is my G.I. bill, go forth and conquer.
I change my mind and want to be a stay at home mom. He says sounds great let’s make a baby.
I get a little bored with being at home and want to dabble in social media. He says let’s get our kids into the CDC so you can get going.
I take on roles with my local spouses’ club because volunteering is at the core of my being – he works his schedule around our functions and meetings so I can truly commit.
If I said tomorrow I wanted to quit everything and become a farmer he would buy me the nicest tractor and tell me to get on it. I married my best friend and he is literally the jam.
Also, my mom. Moms are the best.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks? How do you do it?
Yes we split all things. We both want our two sons to understand that household chores are not just one person’s job, specifically mommy’s job. We all live in the house and we all pitch in to make it run efficiently. I LOVE to cook so I do dinner every night. My spouse tackles the laundry and we both pack the daycare bags and do the dishes. Our preschoolers take turns feeding the dog. Team Wieczorek is our motto.
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
I never thought I would do this but we hired a college student to clean our house. I’m very Type A personality so cleaning is therapeutic for me (hence the dental hygiene profession) but I just don’t have time to do it. We work during the day, have a 4- and 2-year-old, volunteer at church and the spouses’ club, hang out with friends, and we just want to enjoy any free time we get as a family. I pay her to come clean every 2 weeks to help pay for her tuition and for me to come home to a clean place. Everyone wins.
Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone:
The crockpot. It makes so many nice family meals that make it look like I put in a ton of effort but all I did was hit the start button and set the Alexa timer.
What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?
Trello for organization and Instagram to laugh at UPS Dogs. If you’re not following that account, you should be.
What’s your must-have song on your productivity playlist?
Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”
Do you need a productivity playlist? Try NextGen MilSpouse’s Ultimate Work Motivation Mix on Spotify.
If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?
I’m a huge book nerd and was just recently gifted a new e-reader (with the back light woot woot!) and I tend to wind down at night reading. It is the best way to zone out from social media, life, wife and mom duties, and relax. I do stay up too late reading most nights so maybe I should ask for an extra hour of sleep.
If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?
If I had a super power it would be to stop time. I feel that my kids are growing so fast and though I’m home for a lot of it, sometimes I look over and think “how did you get so big so fast.” I would stop time and really enjoy the chaos of my little family.