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: Nicci Clark
Years as a military spouse:
Tell us your job title/profession:
Attorney turned Financial Advisor
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?
Office, but I’m on the road in clients’ offices a lot, too
Tell us one thing you love about your job.
I work very hard, but part of my job is being out in the community, so I get to do the things I love with people I like. If I want to go to a spouse luncheon on base, I can usually do so. If I want to play golf with a group of girlfriends, I can do so. Except when I’m out of town on business, I rarely miss one of my kids’ or husband’s events.
Other than the autonomy, my favorite thing is that I get to work my brain every single day. My clients often call me with complicated problems, things that I have to research or network to find the answers to. I get to connect people with each other and encourage families and business owners to improve their game. And I grow every single day.
How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.
It was a lot of luck. I’ve heard many people say that “luck” is where opportunity and preparation meet and I’d say that that was true in my case.
Through the years where our kids were little and where my husband’s Air Force career moved us around a lot, I keep busy volunteering and trying new things: I’ve created a lot of websites for spouse clubs; I’ve volunteered for some of the most exciting boards and events that the military has to offer and I tried to stay enthusiastic while doing so.
What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?
Keep your professional skills polished and put them out for others to see. Put your best foot forward when you commit to something. Sometimes you have to spend a few months in a community, getting to know the players in town, whether they are at church, school or community/base organization. Get in there and get to know people and be enthusiastic about where you are, no matter for how long!
From the minute you get settled in, let people know what you are passionate about and what you are looking for in a career.
How do you feel about failure?
Not an option.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?
This summer, I moved my practice and my home to Alabama from Georgia. During this time, my partner and I had a tremendous amount of pressure on our business from a competitor and I felt guilty for not being able to work non-stop. The long days at the office, followed by coming home to a mountain of boxes made me feel very out of control.
Fortunately, people in my new office know a lot about the military community so they’ve really opened their arms and made me feel welcome.
Knowing that I’m going to do it again next summer has made me sometimes be more negative than I am normally, but I remind myself every day that I’ve been building and creating and getting paid for it and that I have so much to be grateful for.
What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.
The best: Commit to something you love. If you love the way you spend your days, you have plenty to give others, both at work and at home.
The worst: “Don’t even try.” I had a lady tell me that I’d never make it because I’m a military spouse and everybody in town would know it. She was wrong.
Who is in your support squad and what role do they play in supporting your career?
My husband is my #1 supporter. He always reminds me that the downs are part of the cycle and he rejoices in all of my successes, no matter how small.
He knows how I worry about my clients, how I cry when one of them dies or gets sick, he knows how much of my heart I invest in my clients and my career and has never once been threatened that there’s not enough space for him.
Besides my spouse, my business partner, Frank, who has been my mentor and supporter for several years is the best. I owe my entire career to his support and to the support of my friends who not only do business with me, but who send me new business.
Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks?
For years, I nagged my husband about how I felt alone in the household tasks. One time, I asked his mom, also a military spouse, how she did it – how she kept a home and kids and juggled all of the expectations of being a military spouse whose husband spent over two years in Vietnam and who had a busy Air Force career. You know what she told me? “I had a maid!”
As the years have gone by, we hire people to do the things we absolutely hate doing or that aren’t worth our time to do ourselves and we just budget for it.
I still clean the house, but I don’t do it every day or every week. My husband helps with the dishes and makes the bed every morning and he does his own laundry.
Our daughter does the trash, the dishwasher and her own laundry. I either do or hire someone to do the rest!
Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week.
I will do ANYTHING to get out of going into the grocery store.
When our son was living at home, he did all of my grocery shopping. Did I care that he didn’t use coupons or necessarily get the best deal? No! He only got what was on the list, there weren’t any impulse buys and we all ate healthier because of it, plus I think he liked running errands and spending my money.
Now that he is in college, I’ve had to figure out how to do it myself again. I usually wake up at 5:30 or 6 a.m., even on the weekends, so I go to the store on Saturday or Sunday mornings, when I have the place to myself. When we get to a city that offers grocery delivery, I will never step foot into a grocery store again.
Favorite app for making the most of your day?
Must-have song on your productivity playlist?
“Lose Yourself” by Eminem
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?
To have perfect hair every day with zero effort. Can that be a superpower?