Military Spouse Magazine

JAN 2019

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Page 23 of 35

G O O D A D V I C E How I've Kept My Career One military spouse's advice on staying full time employed through military moves. By April Deocariza, Air Force Spouse "WE'RE MOVING TO OKLAHOMA," SHARED MY THEN FIANCÉ OVER THE PHONE. Throughout our relation- ship and during our engagement, I was living in Los Angeles, where I had been working full time for Emanate, a public relations agency headquartered in New York. There was so much uncertainty in my mind when I learned about his PCS news, and at the forefront of that concern was what would happen to my career. I loved my job; I loved the people I worked with and I was thriving within my organization. In fact, I had just received a promotion the day before I got engaged. Now, I was about to get married, become a new military spouse, and move out of my home state for the first time. The one thing I could rely on, my career, was a big question mark. MAINTAINING A CAREER WHILE LIVING THE MILITARY LIFESTYLE CAN BE A PRIMARY CONCERN FOR MANY SPOUSES . CAREERS ARE OFTEN IMPACTED BY FRE- QUENT MOVES , STRUGGLES TO FULFILL CREDENTIAL REQUIREMENTS , AND OTHER CHALLENGES . I'VE LEARNED THAT ADVOCATING FOR YOURSELF AND LEVERAGING THE RIGHT RESOURCES CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE, NOT ONLY IN KEEPING YOUR JOB, BUT THRIVING IN YOUR FIELD AS WELL. PROACTIVE , PERSISTENT, PATIENT There are three values I gained that I think every military spouse should apply when trying to maintain their career. From the moment that I told my employer I would be moving to Okla- homa, I was very proactive about communicating my desire to maintain my employment with the company. Initially, Emanate was hesitant about letting me work remotely as no other employee was working remotely at the time. Our sister agency, Ketchum, did not have an office affiliate located in Oklahoma City where I could physi- cally work. Finally, I was still rather junior in my career to set me loose working on my own. During an initial period of about six months, I started to telecommute by working on projects from home. Throughout this time, I was persis- tent about communicating to my managers that I wanted to maintain my full-time work status. port the London team while telecommuting from Germany. What was helpful was that I communicated this news to my manager as early as I could to allow my employer enough time to make the necessary adjustments. I would demonstrate initiative by raising my hand to take extra assignments in order to prove my value to my company. When you're telecommuting, always keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to add value to your organization in order to keep yourself top of mind among your colleagues. Offer to take a task off your manager's to-do list; teach a webinar to help educate your col- leagues about a relevant industry topic; make a case to attend an important conference in order to share learnings back to your com- pany—all of these are great ways to go above and beyond your day-to-day assignments. Throughout this experience, I also learned the value of patience, something that can benefit any military spouse both personally and professionally. Eventually, after a trial period, my employer officially kept me as a full-time employee. I continued to work from Oklahoma City while supporting my team members in Los Angeles and New York City. I was connected through confer- ence calls, the occasional video chat, and frequent business trips. It was an amazing adventure and one I am truly grateful for. TAKING YOUR CAREER GLOBAL I telecommuted from Oklahoma City for five years until my husband learned about his next assignment to Germany. It was helpful that our company, now known as Access Brand Com- munications, happened to have an office located in Europe (London, UK). As soon as I told my manager the news, she immediately connected with our general manager in that office to start the conversation about allowing me to sup- SOMETIMES , PCS NEWS MAY COME WITH A VERY SHORT LEAD TIME. HOWEVER, THE EARLIER YOU CAN INFORM YOUR EMPLOYER, THE BETTER, TO GIVE EVERYONE AS MUCH PREPARATION TIME AS POSSIBLE. Fortunately, there are several resources one can leverage during an overseas PCS. I first reached out to Military OneSource to see where I should start. This is an excel- lent resource all military spouses should utilize as much as possible. They connected me with the Airman and Family Readi- ness Center (AFRC) at my husband's new duty station. The Community Readiness Specialist at the AFRC then put me in touch with the legal counselor on base. The legal counselor was a fantastic resource who helped me secure a work permit from the local county office, allowing me to work from Germany during our stay. Military OneSource, the Family Readi- ness Center, and the legal counselor at my new base were all valuable resources to help set me up to continue working. Mean- while, my employer also worked with an immigration lawyer on their end to ensure we were completing everything legally and not missing any necessary steps. >> Illustrations by Ariel Lin 24 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / JANUARY 2019

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