Military Life: Job Searching from Across the County

I’ve officially been applying for jobs in Wisconsin since April 25th!

So far I’ve had two interviews (both with the same company) and I’m waiting for an official job offer early in June (not to jinx myself, but it sounds very promising that I will get the position!)

Having only ever applied for local jobs, I had no idea what to expect when I started this process.

Here are two of my “tips” that I’ve gathered so far!

#1: Be very clear about your relocation in your cover letter. I used something like this:

“I am looking forward to permanently relocating to Wisconsin this summer as my husband transitions out of the military and we return home.”

  • Let them know this is not a “if I get a job I’ll move” type of situation and that you are serious about moving.
  • Be as specific about the date as possible (in my case, I am willing to move before my husband gets out if I get a job, so I put “summer” rather than his actual EAS date)

At first, I was unsure about mentioning my husband or the military. I feel that military spouses in particular often mesh themselves with their husband’s career more so than other non-military spouses. However, this experience taught me to not be afraid of using the “military card”, because it ended up getting me an interview!

#2: Phone Interviews: After completing my first phone screening I was contacted from the agency again and informed that they wanted to move forward with me as a candidate and schedule an in person interview.

This was challenging for me. On one hand, I completely understand that a company would want to meet a candidate in person before offering a job. However, because I’m out of state, it’s a little illogical for them to expect me to spend upwards of $1k to fly out just for an interview.

After discussing it with my husband, my mom (who owns her own business and hires employees often) and other military spouses who have been through the same situation…I decided to be very clear about my situation and offer only a phone or Skype interview.

Initially, my offer was declined and they passed over me as a candidate. It was disappointing, because I really wanted the job, but I felt confident in my choice. It is just not realistic for my husband and I to spend that kind of money for an interview when we are preparing to EAS.

Here is where my comment about using the “military card” comes into play. I got a call later that week from the same company asking me to do a phone interview. They had discussed my situation with the hiring manager (who is former military) and they decided to make an exception for me because of my qualifications for the position. YAY!

Phone interviews are tough! It’s hard to hear if you are on speaker phone, people talk over each other, and you can’t judge facial expressions…your voice has to fully represent you as a person.

At the end of my interview I then offered to fly out and meet them; I wanted to be considered equally to locally candidates, and because I am very interested in the position, I am willing to make the trip now that they are seriously considering me for the position.

This is where my story ends. Right now I’m waiting for a call back by June 9th either offering me the job (which seems to be the way things will go) or asking me to fly out for another in-person interview. I suppose the other option is no call back and not getting the job…but I’m thinking positive!

All in all, this job searching experience has been a huge learning opportunity! But I’ll be glad when it’s over and I’ve secured an awesome job!

Advertisements

Memorial Day – (what it means to me)

This morning when I woke up my newsfeed was filled with Memorial Day posts, almost completely shared by my fellow military friends.

When I was younger, Memorial Day was lost on me. Like many American’s I simply enjoyed my day off from work/school and celebrated the start of summer.

Now that I am a military wife and I am so completely immersed in the military life, Memorial Day is an emotional and powerful day for me.

As I’ve said before, my husband has a safe job as far as military jobs go. He is a helicopter mechanic, which means that even when he is deployed to a combat zone he stays on a secure base.

The luxury I have of not being filled with worry when he serves overseas is not one that all military spouses get to enjoy. I wanted to take today to share a story of one of those spouses, and her husband who was KIA in Afghanistan in 2010.

Jeremy deployed to Afghanistan for his first deployment in November of 2010.

During this time I decided to get more connected with the military community and meet fellow military spouses for support as we were going though our first deployment. I went to a few get togethers and BBQ’s, met a lot of young military spouses and added a ton of new wives on Facebook in hopes of sparking a friendship.

One of those spouses was Katie.

Her husband was infantry, and he deployed on his second tour around the same time that Jeremy did.

On December 1, 2010 he was killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.

I didn’t know Katie very well, one quick meeting at a busy house party and a brief FB friendship, and I had never met her husband. However, his death impacted me in a very significant way.

For the first time I knew someone who had lost a loved on in war. Not Vietnam or WWII, but someone my own age, serving in a war being fought in my generation.

Having an Uncle or a Grandfather who served years ago, one that you remember in passing on Veteran’s Day or wear a Go Army shirt for on the 4th of July is a completely different experience then sending your spouse, child or parent off to a war with the knowledge that they might not come home.

I used to be that person. Although my husband is a Marine and was serving in Afghanistan, I hadn’t yet realized what that really means.

It means that not everyone has a homecoming. Not all the men who wear the same uniform that my husband does will get to come home to their family. It means that war is real. It’s more than just a flag you fly at half mast on Memorial Day. It’s widows who will never feel their husbands arms around them again. It’s children who will grow up without their fathers.

Today is the day that we remember those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their nation. Today is the day that I remember Chad and Katie.

*reposted from last year: Memorial Day – what it means to me

TBT: Surviving Deployment – the first few weeks

The next time I heard from Jeremy was the following morning, he was at the airport in Maine waiting for his next flight on the journey to Afghanistan. We chatted briefly, but he didn’t have much time to talk other than to check in with me.

Three days later, I finally got the call that he had made it safe and was all settled in on base.

I remember driving to school on that third day with no contact, it was the longest we had gone without talking to each other.

When that “unknown” number showed up on my phone, I immediately pulled over and excitedly answered the call. It was such a huge relief to finally hear his voice.

For the remainder of his deployment we had regular contact with each other. He was never able to get his Skype to work very well, but we always had email and sometimes phone calls.

Talking to other military wives who were also going through deployments at the same time, taught me to be very grateful for the communication that I did have.

I never had to wait weeks to hear from my husband; wondering if he was safe, wondering if he was injured, wondering if I would get that knock on my door.

Every deployment experience is different, and most of that has to due with the service members job.

Jeremy’s job involves being on a base working on aircraft and having computer access. Which means that we were blessed with frequent contact and I was never in fear for his safety.

There was an element of danger, of course. He was in Afghanistan during a time of war.

But compared to many of the other spouses that I knew, who were married to service members that were infantry or had another more dangerous job, my deployment experience was tame.

And that is something that I will always be appreciate.

Image

TBT: Afghanistan Deployment

Jeremy left for his first deployment to Afghanistan on November 3, 2010.

76606_453861516818_6808194_nHe had to report to Camp Pendleton around 2 am to get his weapon and load up on the busses so they could drive to March AFB and fly out.

We decided not to sleep that night, instead we stayed up cuddling on the couch watching movies and enjoying our last few hours together.

I was surprisingly unemotional the entire day. He loaded up his bags and we drove his truck to base. He checked out his weapon. We waited around for a few hours (because it’s the military and there is always waiting lol).

He left with a fairly small group of Marine, probably 25-30. The rest of the unit had left a few days prior and his detachment would meet up with them in Afghanistan.

A few other wives were there, only about 4-5. Most were crying. A few left before the busses came, probably to get home and get their kids to bed.

One other wife stayed until the busses left. I didn’t know her at the time, but we ended up being good friends when her husband and Jeremy became friends during deployment.

I didn’t cry when he got on that white bus. I didn’t cry when it drove away. I didn’t cry when I drove home.

But when I got home and saw the gifts that Jeremy had left me; a teddy bear with a voice box in each hand that he had recorded with his voice, flowers, and my favorite chocolate; I cried.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”

And when I woke up in the morning; alone. One day down out of 7 months; the end seeming so very far away…I cried again, for the last time of that deployment.

I missed my husband, of course. But I felt that the best thing I could do for him during this deployment was to be strong. Be strong for him so all he needed to worry about what his job. He didn’t need to worry about me, about if I was sad or depressed. He had a job to do, and my job was to help him do that job to the best of his ability.

To be continued….

Don’t Cry

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz around the internet about the latest Teen Mom 2 episode that aired on Tuesday.

I finally caught up a few days late and just finished watching it (one of the drawbacks of having your husband home is that you no longer have free reign over the TV lol)

Speaking of having my husband home, the main “drama” I’ve been hearing about the latest episode is Leah’s constant nagging of her husband when he goes out of town. She complains every time he leaves.

The one part that stuck with me most was at the end of the episode when he is talking about going on a five week job, she said that she can’t pretend to be happy when he leaves.

As a military wife, I’ve said “good-bye” to my husband many times; for as short of a time as a few weeks, to upwards of 7 months.

Now, I’m not saying that she doesn’t have the right to complain because “other people have it worse”.  My reasoning in pointing out my own experience in because I’ve come to learn how important it is to “pretend” to be happy when your spouse has to leave.

He doesn’t want to leave. Whether he is going out of town for a five week job, or going to Afghanistan for a year long deployment, I believe that no husband wants to leave his wife. And her certainly doesn’t want to leave his children. 

Crying about it, complaining about it, telling him how sad you are and how you don’t want him to go; all that does is make him feel even worse for leaving you. Because now he is dealing not only with his own feelings of separation and sadness, but he is responsible for your pain. He is the cause of your tears and the reason that you are sad.

So my advice to Leah, and to all military spouses, is to try to pretend a bit; for him. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be honest about your feelings and let him know that you will miss him. But crying about it and complaining about it isn’t going to make him stay (at least not in the military); and it’s likely only going to make him feel even worse about having to leave. 

So try to be a strong partner for him; because that’s what he needs most. 

ImageSaying good-bye to my husband when he left for his first deployment to Afghanistan; 11/3/10

TBT: Marriage Retreat

During the summer of 2010 my husband found out that he would be deploying to Afghanistan that November.

In preparation for his departure, we decided to sign up for a Marriage Retreat through CREDO. I was shocked that my husband even came with me, he isn’t the kind of guy to talk about his feelings with me, much less in front of other people! I was even more shocked that he participated and actually enjoyed himself too.

62763_432602601818_3301601_n

Our retreat took place over the course of three days, Friday-Sunday. My husband had to get his command to sign off so he could take Friday off, and thankfully they didn’t have a problem with it since it’s a military run event.

We drove up to the forest and each couple got their own cabin for the weekend. No TV no internet, just a bed, a shower, and each other.

59850_432602701818_1411054_n

There were probably 15 couples total in our group. We met for classes and discussions during most of the day. The topics were communication skills and other relationships strengthening stuff. There were different activities and discussion topics, along with lectures about statistics and different ways to communicate with your spouse.

The food was AMAZING! We had three meals a day plus unlimited cookies and soda during the classes…probably the best part, no lie!

We also got some time off for “free time” to spend with each other. Jeremy and I took some hikes around the woods and also did a zip line that was on the property.

62204_432601846818_4781554_n

Overall, I would recommend it to any military couple. It gave us the platform to talk about our marriage, our feelings about the upcoming deployment, and all those other “feeling” stuff that is sometimes awkward to bring up out of context. This retreat gave us the context to have those discussions, and I think that we both found it to be a valuable experience because of that.

60051_432602471818_421250_n

What’s In A Name? – Link-up

I’m a day late, but I wanted to participate in this link-up! The prompt is asking bloggers to share the story behind their blog name:

My current blog is actually the second blog I’ve ever created. I decided to deactivate the first one after I started developing my career in Graduate School…I didn’t want client’s to be able to Google me and find my personal blog. Awkward!

So I switched formats (from Blogger to WordPress) and created a new blog, one that wasn’t attached to my full legal name.

I took the opportunity of starting a new blog to also create a new title. My current title is actually part of a quote that I very much relate to:

This quote first came to me when I was searching for “positive deployment quotes” when my husband was first deployed, back in 2010.

I’m a huge advocate of keeping a positive mindset during deployment, I think its is one of the major things that can help military spouses not only survive deployments, but to thrive.

There is no denying that there are many negative things about deployments, and I promise you, if you focus on them the time will drag by and you will likely be unhappy for most of that time.

On the other hand, if you look beyond those negative things, you can actually have a shot at happiness during deployment. A positive attitude makes the time fly by so much faster than wallowing in the misery and loneliness. A positive attitude helps your spouse maintain focus on deployment, since they aren’t worried about you or feeling additional guilt for your unhappiness.

The quote choice is also the reason why I chose the cover photo that I currently have, it was from my husband’s first homecoming from Afghanistan.

The smiles say it all.

Military life can be filled with many “imperfections”, but there are also many beautiful moments, like homecomings.

So I choose to be happy. Not because my life is perfect (there are deployments, trainings, work-ups, etc.), but because I chose to see the positives in my life and look beyond the imperfections.

TBT: Our First Separation

After a fun summer filled with visiting Jeremy’s family in Wisconsin, I started my Junior year of college in September 2009.

Shortly after, Jeremy was selected to go to NDI School, which is kind of like a “promotion” in his job. It didn’t result in an increase in rank, but he was selected to go to the school which would allow him to specialize in a new MOS.

The school was 4 months long and was in Pensacola, FL…which means we were going to be separated for the first time in our relationship.

Jeremy left in the beginning of September and we spent three months apart before I went to visit him in December on my break from school (see next week’s TBT for my trip to FL!).

I didn’t handle the time apart very well.

We had just moved into our new apartment, which was about 30 minutes from where all my friends lived, by my college. At the same time, my best friend has recently gotten married and was living with her husband enjoying the honeymoon stage, aka spending a lot time with her husband and much less with her friends.  I hadn’t made any friend with any of the other military spouses in Jeremy’s unit, since we were so recently married.

I spent a lot of time alone, which resulted in a slow slide into depression.

I decided to start seeing a therapist after a few weeks.

My decision was prompted by the knowledge that Jeremy had at least three years left in the military, and I was his wife. That meant that I was going to be away from him again at some point in our marriage, probably for much longer than 4 months. I needed to be able to be okay with the separations. I needed Jeremy to know that he could leave me to do his duty to his country, and not have to worry.

It was my first experience seeing a therapist, and I had a great experience. Military One Source set up the whole thing, from finding me a local therapist to arranging the first appointment and making the payments.

I learned how to cope with the separations. I started a routine to fill my time. I took a ceramics class, started volunteering to fill my time. I went out of my comfort zone to make new friends in the military spouse community. I filled my time with things that I enjoy, which made the time go by so much faster.

I addressed my cognitive distortions that were resulting in my depressive feelings.

The techniques I learned during those three months apart prepared me for the following two deployments. I’m so glad I didn’t let myself wallow in my negative feelings, that I took action. Because separations and deployments don’t have to be all negative. Yes, there will be bad days, but they don’t have to out weight the good days.

7523_144885981818_8356871_nThe MCAS Miramar Air Show – October 2009

I always wanted to go and I didn’t let Jeremy being gone keep me from having a great time. My friend from college went with me.

In The Middle

On Saturday night I went to two parties back to back. I know, I’m wild! lol

The first was an ornament and cookie exchange that one of the wives I know hosted. It was at her house on base and the attendees were all military spouses.

After being a military spouse for 5 years I’ve come to learn that at some point during the night (if not the entire night), people will start taking about their kids and their pregnancies. This gathering was not any different. Out of the 17 girls that were there, probably 2/3 of them either had children already, or where pregnant.

I often feel like the odd one out and have trouble relating to the other moms, because I don’t have kids yet. However, what made this gathering worthy of mention compared to the many spouse events I go to where I am one of the few childless women, is that at one point during the night when we were playing a game, it came out that only 4 of the 17 girls at the party were over the age of 25.

I’ve always known that military families tend to be young couples (my husband and I were the typical teenage married couple!) and they tend to have children at an earlier age than the general public, but it was still shocking to see so many young mothers. They all seemed so young in their conversation and affect (and almost High Schoolish, sorry!), yet they were parents.

The next party I went to was for my friend’s birthday. She and I work together, so most people in attendance were work friends. Other professional adults well into their careers. My friend was turning 26, however, the average age was probably late-20’s with me (25 years-old) being one of the youngest out of about 25ish people in attendance.

None of them have children, and I was one of two married women/men.

The two back-to-back parities were such a contrast that I couldn’t help but notice. It was like going between two entirely different world.

And that is my life. Stuck in the middle between young military moms and career women. Feeling like I don’t fit in with the other military wives because I don’t have children and I’m *gasp* 25 years old; but yet standing out as one of the only married women in my group of young work professionals.

Pre-Ball Photo-shoot at Sunset Cliffs

I wanted to share some photos from the pre-ball shoot I did last weekend.

I was looking forward to this shoot for weeks! I checked out the location, research the poses I wanted to try, and the entire week leading up I would longingly stare at the sunsets, anticipating beautiful lighting for my session. Then on the night we were scheduled to shoot, it was cloudy! No stunning lighting, no sunset. Just clouds. Thankfully the couple was stunning enough to compensate for the lack of beauty in nature.

Location: Sunset Cliffs, San Diego

Photographer: Alison V. Photography
ImageImageImageImageImage

ImageImageImage