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December Job Fairs - Holidays are for Merriment and Networking

The holidays are here! What better time to network with friends and families as you gather for holiday parties and fun!

A recent survey by Linkedin showed that 85 percent of respondents secured their current job through networking. Similar surveys have had similar results. The lesson: if you need a job, talk to others!

The holidays are a great way for even the most reserved of personalities to make the rounds. Parties are lively and plentiful. Friends may have extra invites to corporate parties and there are lots of contacts to be made even the at the elementary school holiday play. 

The U.S. Chamber Foundation will continue to host military and spouse only job fairs through mid-December with the help of Hiring Our Heroes foundation. The job fairs will pick up again after the new year.

Enjoy the holidays and make a new friend. You never know where that connection might lead you in 2017!


Upcoming Hiring Our Heroes Job Fairs for veterans and military spouses


Dec. 1

Allen, Texas


San Antonio, Texas


Dec. 6

Fort Bliss, Texas


Dec. 7

Fort Hood, Texas


Dec. 13

Jacksonville, Fla.


Jan. 19

Cleveland, Ohio


Jan. 25

The holidays are here! What better time to network with friends and families as you gather for holiday parties and fun!

A recent survey by Linkedin showed that 85 percent of respondents secured their current job through networking. Similar surveys have had similar results. The lesson: if you need a job, talk to others!

The holidays are a great way for even the most reserved of personalities to make the rounds. Parties are lively and plentiful. Friends may have extra invites to corporate parties and there are lots of contacts to be made even the at the elementary school holiday play. 

The U.S. Chamber Foundation will continue to host military and spouse only job fairs through mid-December with the help of Hiring Our Heroes foundation. The job fairs will pick up again after the new year.

Enjoy the holidays and make a new friend. You never know where that connection might lead you in 2017!


Upcoming Hiring Our Heroes Job Fairs for veterans and military spouses


Dec. 1

Allen, Texas


San Antonio, Texas


Dec. 6

Fort Bliss, Texas


Dec. 7

Fort Hood, Texas


Dec. 13

Jacksonville, Fla.


Jan. 19

Cleveland, Ohio


Jan. 25


Creating Circles of Contacts

By Amy Nielsen

In my business I am fortunate enough to be able to recommend products and services to my clients. I don’t direct sell a product. What I sell is my time, my gathered information and my network. I have started to look more closely at how I choose who, and what, I recommend to my clients.

I have a certain set of products that I find many of my clients need at the same point in their programs. These items span the gamut of health and wellness products and services for home, body and environment. I have, in the past, been a bit more haphazard in my recommendations, in that while I knew the product well, I didn’t know as much about the companies I was recommending as I probably should have.

To that end, I decided to totally revamp what products I choose to support. I decided to go with as many Market Level Marketing Ambassadors and Consultants as I can to fill those product and service slots. My business is based around the premise that there is no one right solution for everybody. I have many friends who have had great success on their specific MLM program. I want to give them the opportunity to gather clients from my pool while give my clients the same level of personal service in those products as they get from my mentoring.

Not only will this allow me to support my friends and their businesses, but it also allows me to create networks. The greater health and wellness industry is becoming just that, an industry. Just like the greater health care industry, it has become about speed and impersonal big box business. We have lost our connection to healing in health, the personal connection. We like herbs capsules rather than herb walks.

Healing comes from human connection and support just as much as it does with the product and services you use. Does the can of chicken soup you heat up in the microwave heal you as well as the can of chicken soup your beloved heats up in the microwave for you? Better yet, does the chicken soup your beloved makes for you heal you as well as that soup from the can that was microwaved? No, it’s about the human connection.

If I wholeheartedly believe in the person I am recommending, and they wholeheartedly believe in the product they are recommending; if they not only sell the product, but use it in their daily lives. If that product is aligned with my philosophy of health and wellness, then I firmly believe that intention will infuse more healing into that product or service. This is true to some degree in other industries, but it is specifically relevant to health and wellness which depends on not only healing the body but healing the mind.

My practice is based on whole body and environment health and wellness. I have been fortunate enough to watch several of my dear military spouse friends in their MLM careers and move steadily and rapidly up their tiers to successful careers. I have seen their confidence grow and blossom along with their financial independence. They not only believe in their wel- researched, well rounded product lines, but more importantly they believe in themselves. This strength infuses their relationships and their products with an energy that is in and of itself healing.

It’s about the relationship. The vibrations. The intentions.

That energy is relational. It is passed from person to person in every relationship they touch. This healing creates courage which allows that person to help another person in turn. This connection helps a person heal more deeply.

The great thing about MLMs are the network of people. As my clients move around the country they are able to move through a personally curated network of associated products and services they are familiar with. They can continue to get the personal support they need as they continue on their journey to health and wellness. Much of the anxiety surrounding military life is uncertainty and missing community. By creating networks of people, we create a great network based on health and wellness, rather than our specific military branches and ranks.

As I begin to develop my program, I am beginning to gather new products and services for a trade fair sort of table for those friends to display their services and how they pertain to my class. This has begun to be the most fun part of my day. I have to limit my research time or I will spend all day on it.

In the cases where I can’t find an MLM to support or fill the product I need, I am spending a lot more time finding companies that are small businesses through my slowly growing network of friends who are also in similar fields. I am creating a rolodex of sorts, full of people and services.

I have a few more months before I go live with my classes and I am looking forward to having a few roundtable meetings with groups of MLM friends and preferred vendors. So far this has been well received and we are having a ball coming up with more people to add to our circle.

Online vs Campus Learning

By Jenna Moede

As military spouses, we face even more difficult decisions about college than most people.  Often times we have to make decisions not only based on where we currently live but also on where we could live. 

This makes deciding on the right college even more difficult.  And, we have to choose not just a school but whether to attend on campus or online.

I have attended college both on campus and online, and I want to share the good, the bad and the ugly of both choices.

I will start with campus since I started my undergraduate studies on campus.  The campus really does have a host of benefits along with some drawbacks.

Focus tops my list of benefits for campus studying.  I moved to Michigan so that I could attend the university and so I always focused on school.  I worked part-time on campus so between classes, my job and campus life, college made up my whole existence. 

It never felt difficult to put my studies first because even my job told me to bring my books and study in my down time.  I never found it difficult to remember my schoolwork because my life revolved around college.

Additionally, campus offers easier access to social options.  I easily met friends among my peers, and I could join clubs or meet people in my dorm with interests similar to mine.  I even found some friends studying the same major.    

Built-in study buddies came along with friends who shared the same major.  I never had to dread studying because a lot of times we would do it together.  We would turn the assignments or exams into group study sessions and have a ton of fun learning the material.

The last major advantage of classes on campus was the accessibility to professors, tutors and hands on learning. 

If I ever needed to talk to a professor about anything, whether it be an exam, something I didn’t understand or a class I missed, I could easily find their office hours in the syllabus.  During those times I could go to their office, have a conversation with them and have my problem worked out in a few minutes.

Additionally, I had a lot of friends that often utilized the free tutor centers scattered around campus.  Just a few steps from where we lived we had access to free, quick and easy help.  It made it really easy to understand some of the more complex topics taught in college classes.

Lastly, I could actually interact in my classes and ask questions in real time when I thought of them.  I could listen to my professor explain calculus problems as many times as I needed, and I could mess up science experiments in person. 

I did accidently set my paper on fire once while using a Bunsen burner.  Needless to say I had a tough time convincing anyone to be my lab partner after that.  Still, hands on experience helped grasp and understand new ideas and theories.

On the other hand, never having complete control over my schedule made campus difficult.  On campus you have to take the classes you need on the days and times they are offered. There is no flexibility.

Sometimes, I would even have to overload my class schedule if I saw an opening in a class I knew I would need eventually.  I had no guarantee that the classes I needed would have open spots at a time that I found convenient. 

Having to schedule life around a class can cause problems especially if you want to hold a job. I worked on campus with the police academy luckily, but I had some friends that worked off campus, and they got either really early or really late shifts because of their class schedule.  

When I started online classes, I really missed campus, but I found that being online had benefits too.  Flexibility is a major benefit.  There’s nothing like being able to take your classes in your pajamas and slippers.  I loved knowing that I could complete the coursework whenever I had a chance, following deadlines of course. 

I also loved that the classes were not only easier to schedule but also easier to get into.  I didn’t usually have to worry about whether or not they would fill up before I could sign up. 

I also liked that no matter what happened or where we might move, I would not have to transfer schools and I could take my college classes with me.  I didn’t have to worry about applying to another university or trying to transfer credits.  I could graduate from my chosen university no matter where we lived.

Discipline was the last perk.  I learned a lot about self-motivation and I learned to be extremely self-reliant.  Previously I always had people around me going through the exact same thing so doing it on my own challenged me, but I learned a lot about myself.

Even with all the benefits, online classes still didn’t give me the perfect experience.  First, my college social circle definitely became smaller.  Meeting people with my major and making and maintaining friendships online took a lot more time and effort.  While each class did have forums and ways to communicate, I didn’t find it as fulfilling as face to face communication.   

Communicating with professors online also held a unique set of challenges.  While they still do have office hours, it never felt as quick and easy as communication in person.  I couldn’t pop in their office for a quick second and pop back out with the information I needed.  I started relying heavily on email and it became a great resource for me.

I also thought it seemed more difficult to maintain focus online.  With a million things going on and working full-time, I had other priorities above school.  As the only student, I didn’t want to sit down and do my schoolwork alone, and I always felt like I had more important things to do. 

While I had a difficult time overcoming lack of focus, it ultimately led me to self-motivation and self-reliance so in the end, it turned out to be a perk in disguise.   

Overall, there are so many differences and so many pros and cons to each college option that students needs to weigh.  While I would never want to trade my experience on campus, I know that transferring to an online school provided me with the only way I could earn my degree.  It allowed me to finish in my own time, in a new city, without losing time. 

Stepping Into Action

By Amy Nielsen

We are now halfway through the courses at the career school I attend. This week’s lecture addressed the business of our business. Exactly how to do what we are learning how to do.

We did lots of role play and skits. We got a ton of documents to read over and decide if they pertain to our specific version of this program. We had lectures from former students about what they are doing now and how this program fits within their business. The variations were somewhat stunning. The field is wide open. Creative thinking is taking some graduates down very interesting paths. The take away was to make sure you are taking concrete steps toward your business goals every week from now until graduation so you can hit the ground running on day one.

I am working on building a business that focuses on health and wellness from a very personal perspective. By understanding your personal diet and how it works inside you, you can understand how to change it to support you better.

My goal is to help people eat better within their financial means and more importantly, within their personal, daily, culinary capacity. By helping your body function better, you will have more energy and more focus to spread your wings and do all the things you hope to.

If this means I take you supermarket shopping to help you make better choices, I’m happy to do that. If that means you need a buddy to go to that first couple of classes in that subject you have always wanted learn about but were too shy to attend alone, I’ll go with you. That’s a whole lot of stuff to stuff into one business plan.

This all got me to thinking more specifically about how I want to structure my business and how I want to get the information out there. I have a three-tiered structure of clients I want to create. I want to do some local community service work, some greater regional military specific classes, and then I want to have a group of nationwide personal clients.

I started to look through my desk pile as the lecture droned on and happed upon the business card of the director of our local county WIC office. She and I hit it off when I went in to apply for a job I was hopelessly overqualified for. I knew I was, but I wanted the local community service work. We have run into each other on and off over the summer around the county and she has often times asked me to keep in touch. I keep meaning to give her a call to see what’s new on a more formal basis. I think I will make that the action step towards community service this week. I will call her to set up an appointment.

Many of my military spouse friends run market level, marketing companies promoting various home and body health and wellness products. One of my dear friends posted an excellent article about a topic that fits very well within my planned teaching subjects. It started off as a long conversation about why I am not interested in being an MLM Ambassador, but instead, how we can build a partnership with my classes and her business. I contacted several other of my MLM friends and am starting to build a library of colleagues and references. These are concrete steps toward building a team of military spouses I can help support and have reciprocal clients with.

In working through my very early morning today, I happened to be at Shop Rite. Our supermarket has the familiar shop from home option where you can enter your shopping list online, pay for it and then pick it up, already bagged and ready to go. Working with some serious out of the box, pre-caffeine thinking, I thought, hmmmm, I could learn a whole lot about how people shop if I shop for them. So I think I will apply to be a personal shopper for the winter. It’ll pay for the holiday presents and get me very good research. That is a concrete action step toward seeing if what I want to offer is needed by my personal clients.

In a twist of the universe we have friends staying with us right now. One is a chef. I am also a chef. Playing in a home kitchen making home food for families with another chef, especially this one, is giving me great joy and stretching my creativity. It also make me wonder if there is a part of this business that I can squeak a bit of kitchen action into as well. Not that I want to get back into the kitchen daily to cook on the line, but perhaps we can find a relationship where I could bring a couple of clients to learn some cooking techniques and help them have confidence in their own home kitchens.

Having the time and space to talk shop and business of a long lost career is fun, and it adds creative juices to the current plan. So my concrete plan this week will be to make sure I get over to one of the places we talked about to check out the local chef talent.

I feel like the sluice gate has been opened and the canoe race is about to begin. Some rapids are at the start, but much peaceful, lazy paddling in the company of good friends is expected too. The next six months of school, building my business, and watching it actually happen is only slightly terrifying but exceptionally exhilarating at the same time. Concrete steps each week will make it happen.

Working for the greater good.

By Amy Nielsen

We are on the eve of Election Day here in the U.S. Normally, I talk about the human side of getting a business off the ground. Today I want to talk about where your business fits into the greater good. This is not going to be a discussion of the U.S. election. It is a discussion about our role as global citizens.

By and large, you all, my readers, are military spouses. To say we move around a lot is sort of an understatement. On average we move every 2.8 years. If we spend 20 years in the military, that means we will live in approximately 7 different communities. Many of us have lived in many, many more. Be it on-post housing, out in town, or rural to the base – we tend to settle within a certain proximity to other active military families. These greater communities could all be within the same region of the United States say, Virginia, Texas, or Illinois; or they could be as far flung as Singapore, Germany, or Dubai. Regardless of whether you ever set foot OCONUS, you are part of something called a “third culture,” the active duty military culture. We are different from our civilian counterparts.

According to, the “official home of third culture kids”, “Adults who live in other cultures will broaden their perspectives, but their children will inevitably be a blend of cultures. They can be called Third Culture or Trans-Cultural Kids (TCKs). A TCK is an individual who, having spent a significant part of the developmental years in a culture other than that of their parents, develops a sense of relationship to both. These children of business executives, soldiers and sailors, diplomats, and missionaries who live abroad, become "culture-blended" persons who often contribute in unique and creative ways to society as a whole.”

I grew up as a third culture kid, as the daughter of a business executive running a multinational company with a global presence. I am first generation American with one parent a naturalized citizen. One parent served in the military, but due to injury, was unable to complete the dream of career service. I am intentionally keeping this gender neutral as it is not important which gender held which role. I lived in several different countries growing up and visited many, many more. We spoke several languages at home, often times in one sentence. We ate weird food and used strange soap.

As I opened my Facebook timeline this morning I was greeted by delightful pictures of several friends enjoying the first snow of the season in quaint alpine villages in Germany where they are stationed. Another friend’s kid was opening a huge care package from America, while in China where they are working as missionaries. Another friend posted photos of her lifelong dream, a hike to the top of Mt Fuji in Japan where she is studying abroad during her Master’s studies. I have close friends in 29 of 52 states many who I chat with daily. The vast majority of us have children and they move right along with us.

As we travel in the world, as we live wholly within another culture, we cannot help but develop a deep understanding of that culture. It becomes part of us, quite literally on a cellular and vibrational level as we eat the food, breathe the air and sing the songs of that new culture. In some cases this engenders a lifelong love of place and yearning to return to that era. Others create such an impression as to impair even the slightest thought of that place with a smear of darkness deeper than the Marietta Trench. Some just are a place we love to hate.

In each case we are touched by a different sensibility. We are gifted with the ability to see the world differently. We gain new perspective that cannot come from reading or tv alone. Not even Disney can make crepes like those at the little place next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Hopefully many of those memories are of magical places and wonderful times shared with loving community. If not perhaps there is a silver lining or steadfast buddy who became closer through the trial. Most of all, those places and times are about connections. When sharing anything, whether a glorious joy or glorious mess, there is connection to be found. Connection within family, within community, within self.

Those connections allow us to relate to the world with a great compassion and grace. We carry with us stories of other places and spaces that give us the ability to reach within ourselves and hear the larger story of a new spot on the journey. We can see the community from a shifted perspective from those entrenched within it. We can help to ease change with grace and repeated practice of creating community out of similarities rather than differences.

So as we go forward in our business endeavors, try to create community out of similarities, especially when differences seem to well outweigh them. Remember those times where you were welcomed as the different one. How were you welcomed, what made it possible for you to find connection? How deep did you have to dig; within yourself and within the connection you were bridging?


Tricare Improves Mental Health and SUD Coverage

By Christine Cioppa

The Department of Defense (DoD) has essentially said “We got your six!” with the passing of a new rule that improves mental health care access and expands treatment for alcohol, drug and pain pill use disorders.   

The DoD’s new 32-page rule, “Tricare; Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment,” published in the Federal Register on Sept. 2, 2016, improves access to providers by changing the way providers get authorization to join the TRICARE network. The rule also expands the coverage of substance use disorder (SUD) treatment by removing certain limitations to coverage.    

“Major changes are underway that will improve access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment for Tricare beneficiaries, revise beneficiary cost-shares to align with cost-shares for medical and surgical care, and reduce administrative barriers to care by streamlining the requirements for institutional providers to become Tricare authorized providers,” said Dr. John Davison, Chief of the Condition-Based Specialty Care Section of Defense Health Agency’s Clinical Support Division, in a Tricare news release issued last month.

What’s changed?

According to TRICARE officials, changes include:

  • Removal of differential cost-shares and co-pays for mental health compared to medical/surgical care
  • Removal of quantitative limits (e.g., day limits) on mental health care
  • Substance use disorder (SUD) treatment by individual professional providers of care, including out-patient opioid treatment for opioid use disorder when prescribed by a qualified physician
  • Outpatient treatment of opioid use disorder with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) by qualified opioid treatment programs (OTPs) (to be implemented in 2017)
  • Authorization of intensive outpatient programs for mental health and substance use disorder treatment (to be implemented in 2017)
  • Streamlined process for institutional mental health providers to become TRICARE authorized providers (to be implemented in 2017)

What are the differential cost-shares and co-pays?

For more info, visit:

Will access to on-base psychiatrists improve in locations where the wait is too long?

“These changes impact only mental health providers in the Tricare purchased care system. On-base psychiatrists are hired by personal services contracts with the military services. However, Tricare-authorized psychiatrists, psychologists and other individual providers of mental health care can now treat substance use disorders,” Tricare officials said.

“Also, guidelines are currently under development to streamline the requirements for institutional mental health providers to become TRICARE-authorized providers in the spring of 2017. These changes increase access to mental health care and provide beneficiaries additional options when selecting a mental health care provider.”

What will happen in locations a psychiatrist is not on staff?

“For military treatment facilities that do not have a psychiatrist on staff, the patient can be referred to a Tricare-authorized psychiatrist. Additionally, Tricare anticipates additional mental health providers will join the network following the streamlining of the Tricare authorization requirements for in-patient treatment facilities—freestanding residential treatment centers, substance use disorder rehabilitation facilities and partial hospitalization programs,” states Tricare officials.

Retiring? Be Ready for Uncle Sam to Dump Your Stuff

At some point in the future, three different moving vans will show up at my house delivering 16,000 pounds of household goods that are currently in storage in Virginia, Massachusetts and Kansas.

I dread that day. My 14-year-old put it pretty aptly when he said, “It’ll be like Christmas, but with a ton of crap.”

He’s not kidding. We have basically two entire households of stuff in storage. Some went in when we moved to Germany, and stayed there while we were in Canada. Some went in when we moved from Canada back to Germany. And some went in just last month when we left Germany again, this time for retirement.

The military will hold it all for one year while we are in transition (in our case, traveling around the U.S. for a year in an RV). At that point, unless we have a very good justification for an extension, it will be dumped on us.

I love my stuff. I can’t wait to see my wedding album that accidentally went into storage, and my fall decorations that I would love to be putting out right now. I won’t have my Christmas decorations this year, either.

On the other hand, do I really need three couches and two dining room tables? We originally intended it all to be in storage for two years, and now it will be as long as seven for some of it. I doubt my much-loved washer and dryer will work anymore, and that ugly old orange couch will be even uglier and older.

If we had the opportunity, I would have drastically downsized before retirement. Going through the retirement process right now, I think downsizing should be at the top of the to-do list.

Retirement is a time to start new, fresh and unencumbered. Instead, at a time when we might be moving into a smaller house, we will be inundated with all the stuff we should have gotten rid of years ago. Who knows if we’ll even have room to sort through it all.

I suppose we could look on the bright side and consider that we might be able to sell some of it, and that we likely won’t have to buy anything new for our future home.

But who am I kidding? All that stuff will probably find a place with us, and continue to follow us around.

After all, you can take the spouse out of the military but you can’t take the military out of the spouse.

Learning and Networking

By Amy Nielsen

I live in an area of the country that has a great concentration of interesting people. Many of them work in the alternative health and wellness field. As this is my chosen track, I am always on the lookout for opportunities to take small classes in intimate settings with renowned and esteemed practitioners who choose to give back to the community through free or low cost classes and lectures.

It so happened that last wednesday, as my husband was driving our family to our weekly homeschool co-op, we passed the fancy country day school and out front was stuck a little sigh about the same size as all of the political flora. He chirped up, “Hey didn’t that say Women’s Wellness Symposium? Remind me to check out the sign on the way home. I think it said it was this weekend.”

I was face down planted firmly in email, not paying the least bit of attention. Ok, I was Pinteresting…

As we entered the community center where we hold our co-op, I noticed a flier about the symposium and it was indeed this weekend. The list of presenters was fantastic. Including a teacher I have wanted to hear in person for a while, but kept missing at other much larger conferences and classes.

Being the quick gal I am, I hopped on my trusty phone and checked out the symposium website. Not only was the symposium open to the public, it wasn’t sold out yet, and I was still in time to get the early bird price.

I registered on the spot. Then I realized it was all day saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., an hour drive away. My husband works second shift.

Child care – late notice – DOOM! Lo and behold our co-op family came to the rescue and offered to watch the kiddos for the afternoon while I was at the symposium.

Saturday morning came and I made it, barely on time. I surveyed the parking lot, suspiciously empty for the list of presenters I saw. Did I have the wrong day?

No. Turns out that for whatever reason, this particular event happened to be very low attendance. Low enough that, had one presenter not flown in, they would have cancelled. What was supposed to be a group of 80 to 100 health and wellness professionals turned into 16 attendees, five presenters, and three organizers. What an experience!

I knew nothing about three of the presenters. I read their biographies online the evening before and did a little primary research into what they might talk about. But really, for these sorts of presenters, their talks can lead where the winds blow very easily. Another presenter I knew by reputation. The final presenter was who drew me to the event.

I had expected to learn a few new techniques or topics in the field of alternative or complementary medicine. And I was not in the least disappointed. Topics ranged from the current scientific white papers comparing outcome for mammography versus thermography, to great medicine stories that lulled us all into a waking dream state, to some magical stuff that is beyond my limited vibrational comprehension.

Because of the size of the group, the presenters and organizers decided to change the physical dynamics of the room and move the chairs out from in front of the podium and into a circle. Bringing the event inward made the whole day so much more intimate and so much more interesting.

The presenters still spoke monologue lecture style, and with the exception of one, none used notes. It really became a stream of consciousness ramble. Because of the range of presenters, and the varied viewpoints they each hold, the day was truly an ebb and flow of debate and rebuttal, with a few off-topic meanders down wild and wonderful side tracks.

I love my complementary and traditional medicine colleagues and friends. Really I do. But sometimes I need a margarita the size of my head to swallow the grain of salt I have to take with the lecture. These symposiums are always eye opening for me. I always find new modalities of treatment and systems of care that, might not resonate with me, might with a future client. No knowledge is ever wasted knowledge. I did get a ton of really pertinent information too.

And, I met several interesting participants. I am planning to get together with one gal later next month once we get a bit of breathing room. I am still working on how to introduce myself to the world and to my colleagues. I am still working on my elevator speech. I am still testing out the title of mentor. Does it fit me yet? Can I comfortably wear it around the folks in that room? How do I hear myself introduce myself? What do I keep coming back to?

I was able to connect with the presenter I really wanted to meet. It was a great experience. I understand her specific teachings and system of work much better after spending the afternoon listening to her talk. The other speakers were gracious enough to spend a few extra minutes explaining the finer points of their topic to me. Had the group been larger, they would not have been able to take the time.

That is really the point of going on a whim to something that sounds interesting and is somewhat related to your field, especially if there is a well-known speaker. It’s a great place to practice, learn and stretch your understanding of what your field really is, what your place within it is going to be and make the connections that will help get you there.

Why Earn a Degree? This is Why

By Jenna Moede

Why spend my time getting a degree? I can’t tell you how many times I asked myself that question in my last semester of school, while staring at quiz questions that I just couldn’t remember answers to. 

I could think of a lot of reasons to give up at the time. Now, that I have earned my bachelor’s degree, I can think of many reasons to get one, especially as a military spouse.

I wanted to finish my degree so I could make a more significant financial contribution to my family. I know I’ve mentioned the perfect picture of life that I had in my head when my husband and I first got married, but it turned out that that picture costed a lot of money. I wanted a job that would compensate me well so we could do all the things we wanted.

My degree gave me my first shot at a job that would move me closer to that picture. I found my job shortly before my graduation, and they hired me with the expectation that I would finish soon. Without my bachelor’s, I would have never had a chance at the job that gave me my first taste of the real professional world.

Not every job that requires degree or certificate will pay well. Looking back, I realize that I started that job at a low pay grade for professionals, but I still felt excited knowing that I had the chance to take a job that required skills and knowledge. 

Secondly, getting my degree opened doors that I didn’t even know existed. I started my professional career as a paralegal.  My business degree translated really well to paralegal work. However, now I teach ESL which has basically nothing to do with business. 

I have found that employers generally are not too concerned with my specific degree title, but they want to see the overall skill set that college has provided me. They want me to demonstrate how I plan to be an asset to their business. My degree might not always be job specific, but it is generally a fulfilled requirement that gets me the interview. 

The next reason to pursue a degree as a military spouse is portability. While I see the negative side to potentially moving at any time, I prefer to look at the positive.  Even without a degree, I would have to job search every time I moved. I just figured I would finish my degree so I could search for more skilled and specialized positions every time we moved. 

I look at it this way, each job I have provides me with valuable experience. If I have to leave a professional position to accommodate my husband’s career, I still have experience and credentials to stand out when applying for new jobs in a new area. 

Finding my passion also motivated me to finish my degree.  Going into college I thought I wanted to study international business. I changed my major twice but I eventually found something I enjoyed. As I struggled to find my passion, I took both general courses and required classes so that I had them out of the way when I did find my path. 

It took me a lot of time to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, and I struggled with finding my passion even while finishing college, but I think that opportunities have presented themselves and led me to a career that I love because I finished my degree.  

Lastly, I wanted to pursue my degree so I could have a sense of accomplishment.  I started college in Michigan, on campus, and I loved it. Online classes gave me an entirely different perspective, and it took a little time, but I ended up enjoying them as well. 

I definitely struggled and I definitely wanted to give up, but I kept looking forward to the moment when I would have my diploma in hand and I could look back and say I did it. 

It was definitely not easy, but it was worth every second of effort. Every time I wanted to give up at midnight after downing six cups of coffee just to finish an essay, I would remind myself of all of the reasons that I started. 

I know that a completing a certificate or degree program as a military spouse comes with a unique set of challenges, but I also know that earning a degree helps to crush some of those daily problems that come with the military life.   

Pre-Holiday Weeks a Great Time to Job Hunt

The coming of Thanksgiving and Christmas means more than turkey and presents. It means jobs. And lots of them.

Retailers expect to add as many holiday jobs as they did last year, over 738,000 across the nation. The difference this year is that many of those positions are shifting from the checkout line to the warehouse.

As retailers continue to see an uptick in online shopping, they must meet that demand with more employees at call centers, warehouses and on delivery routes.

A decade ago employers added a mere 42,000 jobs in the warehouse and transportation categories. Last year more than 200,000 workers were added to these categories. The same is expected this year. FedEx and UPS alone are expected to add a combined 150,000 people to the workforce to meet holiday demand.

So, if you’ve been in the job market for several months, this is your time to pull yourself out of the rut and get a job. Even a seasonal job will give you experience, another notch on your resume and money in the bank. And remember, employees who shine at Christmas, may be offered a fulltime gig when the decorations come down.

Don’t forget to register for these upcoming, spouse only job fairs. Good luck!

Nov. 5

Fort Belvoir, VA

Nov. 7

Oakland, Cali.

Nov. 9

Colorado, Springs, Co.

Nov. 10

Washington D.C.

Nov. 11

Uncasville, Conn.

Nov. 16

Huntsville, Al.

Dec. 1

Allen, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Dec. 6

Fort Bliss, Texas

Dec. 13,

Jacksonville, Fla.


For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.