“It Has Been a Challenge To Accept That My ‘Career’ Has Taken A Different Form From The Typical ‘Career.'”

Tammi Tiefel, a program coordinator, said that she's gotten the majority of her jobs through networking.

 

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.

Tammi Tiefel, a program coordinator, said that she's gotten the majority of her jobs through networking. "Put yourself out there and meet people."

Name: Tammi Tiefel

Years as a military spouse:

17

Tell us your job title/profession:

Program Coordinator

Is this full-time, part-time, hourly, contract or freelance work?

Full-time

How long have you been working in this career field?

6+

Do you work in an office, telecommute from home (or Starbucks), or a little bit of both?

Office

Tell us one thing you love about your job.

I love working with other organizations that help in the community and collaborate with them to improve where I live.

How did you get this position? Was it a resume, referral, job fair? Spill your magic.

It’s all about networking. I got to know people through my previous position and through those connection I learned about new opportunities. That is how I have gotten most of my positions over the years.

What is your No. 1 tip for a military spouse on the hunt for a job?

Put yourself out there and meet people. Go to networking events, volunteer, take workshops, anything where you can meet people who might know of opportunities that would fit your interests. Be willing to put the time into volunteering or some nonpaid work that may lead to a paid position.

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?

Approach every experience as a learning experience. Even a failure or an interview for a job that you don’t get is an experience that you can learn from so you can improve upon next time. Especially as a military spouse, life is a series of stepping stones. Each stepping stone has words of wisdom to draw upon if you look back on them in the right light.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced while trying to maintain a career while living the military lifestyle?

It has been a challenge to accept that my “career” has taken a different form from the typical “career.”

At first glance at my resume it looks like a series of professional jobs. I have not had the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder because I have had to move every few years. On the flip side I have a vast amount of diverse experience which serves me well and has enabled me to find fulfillment with every position I choose to accept. It is very difficult to give up a position that I love and look to start over in a different location.

What is the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Tell us the worst too, while you’re at it.

The best advice is be willing to volunteer before taking a job. It allows you to test the waters of an organization and learn about the community before jumping into a job.

The worst thing I ever did was accept a job before moving to a new location. I had to start the job before unpacking and I felt so unsettled and it was really hard on the family.

Who is in your support squad (i.e. spouse, neighbor, bff) and what role do they play in supporting your career?

My husband is my biggest support. Also I have been very lucky that my supervisors have all been very understanding and supportive of my situation and helpful when it has come time to leave and relocate.

Do you and your spouse or partner split household tasks?

When my husband is home we split the chores. That is part of why I married him; he did my laundry and I cook for him. Somehow it all balances out.

The biggest challenge was when the children were little and I have to run around with lessons and practices for them and he had odd work schedules. At that time I did not work full-time, as the kids got older and more independent I was able to add more work hours to my schedule.

Share your best life-hack for saving time or sanity during the work week:

When my kids were in elementary school, I made sure they knew how to make a PB&J sandwich, macaroni and cheese and scramble an egg. I always make sure I have the staples in the house so if things get crazy the kids can feed themselves and will not starve. I have let myself off the hook when it comes to cooking full meals every night.

The other thing that saves me time is that I listen to audiobooks on my phone while I drive. Multitasking. Sometimes I think that is the only way I can get through a book because I am so tired at night I can’t keep my eyes open to actually read.

Tell us one piece of tech you couldn’t live without that isn’t your phone:

My laptop

What’s your favorite app for making the most of your day?

OverDrive for audiobooks from the library

If you had an extra hour in your day, what would you do with it?

Go for a walk with my dog

If you were a superhero, what would be your super power?

I would be one of those nerdy superheroes who can read super fast and remember everything.

Are you a working military spouse? Do you want to share your career tips and tricks? Fill out the MilSpouses Who Work It Q&A today. Click here to complete our form. 

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