Innovative and Emerging Portable Career Ideas that MilSpouses Actually Want to Do

Military spouses today are rocking some pretty inspirational portable careers. But what I find more impressive is that they are loving what they do. That, in my book, is the number one factor in finding a truly portable career. So, without further ado, it is my pleasure to share the innovative and emerging jobs I found, and the military spouses who are in these careers!


Portable Career Idea: Attorney

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in this Role: Julie Heumphreus

Where I Work: 

What I Do in this Role:  In a nutshell, I help people solve problems.   I’m an attorney with a completely web-based practice (www.jhlawonline.com). My practice is primarily focused on assisting servicemembers and their families.

I’m a third generation Army brat, former JAG, and proud military spouse, so it’s natural for me to focus on the military. I listen to my client’s problems, and try to find them the best solutions.  Some of the areas I work in include: immigration, security clearance issues, written appeals to reprimands, written responses to loss of property or other investigations, contracts, fundraising, and small business/consumer issues.

Why I do it:  We’ve moved eight times in our ten years of marriage. It’s difficult to establish a traditional legal practice when we move so frequently.  In addition, a good work/family life balance is essential to me.   I’m able to set my own schedule and be there for my three little Army “brats”.  A virtual practice lets me do what I love from anywhere in the world.

What makes it portable: Thanks to Skype and my trusty Mac computer, I’m able to assist clients all over the world. I answer my own Vonage phone, I respond promptly to emails or instant messaging.   I can reach many more people (even if they’re deployed!) and  keep costs low with a web-based practice.  Bonus: less overhead also means affordable rates for my clients.

What degree/training do you need: College degree, Juris Doctor (JD) degree, License from State Bar, computer savvy

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: Employee Referral Recruiter (Contractor)

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in this Position: Jessica Kujat

Where I work: 

What I do in this role: I research employee referrals and conduct welcome outreach.  In addition, I assist with helping recruiters fill hot job needs when possible.  I also assist with our alumni research and outreach.

Why I do it:  I enjoy helping others, and it feels good to know that you can have a real, measurable impact on someone’s life by assisting them with their job search.

What makes it portable:  My position is 100% done via telecommuting.  Essentially,  I need an Internet connection, computer, and phone (landline, VOIP, or cell-phone) to perform my job.

What degree/training do you need: A strong customer service background, along with great research skills are a must.  In addition, any HR or recruiting experience is a plus.

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: Director of Promotions

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in this Role: Erica McMannes

Where You Work:    (Call Dibs)

What I do in this role: I am responsible for the user growth of Call Dibs in the active and veteran military communities, internationally. I manage and train teams of other military spouses who promote Call Dibs on their local posts/bases to create strong foundations for Call Dibs as a mobile military marketplace; a platform that provides a sense of security through transparency, affiliation, and verification.

I also design and develop marketing campaigns within the social media and community space that align with our brand & product. I manage all aspects of digital marketing including branded content, social media and and facilitation of user experience with the Call Dibs app and website.

Why I do it: As cliche as it sounds, I do it for the military community and the camaraderie of our small team making a big difference. As part of a start up, especially in Silicon Valley, it’s a highly competitive industry. Adjacent Applications (the company behind Call Dibs) is laying the groundwork for some amazing things for the military community, bringing military families up to speed with cutting edge tech focused applications. Call Dibs – as the first app designed for the military- offers the community a way to buy, sell and trade within the trusting network that exists among military families. As a spouse, I’ve struggled through insanity of Facebook resale pages, prayed for safety as I’ve met Craigslist strangers in Target parking lots and have grown tired of the trolls on Bookoo. When I was offered the opportunity to be a part of something that solved all these previously inefficient and unnerving experiences, I knew it was something my entire community (military) would benefit from.

What makes it portable: As a technology based company, our teamwork is often virtual, with the team spread out between San Francisco, Texas and New York. My job allows me portability as a transient military spouse and mom of two little boys. I work from home in between dropping off my 6-year-old at school, playing with Thomas trains with my 2-year-old, folding laundry and chasing both boys on their scooters in the afternoon. It truly is a job that allows me a professional outlet and contribution to the community while remaining active in my family’s daily needs and activities. And, as an Army spouse who has moved 7 times in 11 years….a portable career is crucial!

What degree/training do you need: High degree of motivation and entrepreneurial spirit! While I have a M.S. in Human Ecology and Family Studies, this new career in tech start ups and social media has allowed me self-propelled “on the job” training and the ability to stay current in a fast paced, continually expanding tech industry.

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: KinderJam Business Owner

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role, and the Founder: El Brown 

Where you Work:

What I Do in this Role: All KinderJam® Business Owners use fun, new, exciting, and high-energy methods to prepare children and parents for success in school. We have a lot of fun, but it’s so much more than recreation! We use kinesthetic learning  ”learning by doing” and tactile learning “learning by touching” to engage children ranging from birth to 8 years old.

Why I do it:  KinderJam® Business Owners are actively involved in and contributing to the community. They get to know the families they live around and begin to create a world at each new base, and on top of that bring in a little income. There is validation in that, and I love empowering women by providing them with an avenue to financial independence.

What makes it portable: KinderJam®  is a completely mobile business! The Instructor Placement Program (IPP) assists spouses in finding suitable locations for KinderJam®  classes at each duty station. We also assist our Military Spouses by establishing and maintaining relationships with surrounding daycare and preschool providers.

What degree/training do you need: There isn’t a required degree, but the main requirement is a genuine desire to enhance the learning experience of young children and their families.  Those individuals with limited teaching experience receive close guidance and professional development to develop the skills necessary to be a successful KinderJam®  Instructor.

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: Lead Transition Specialist

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: Lori Cleymans

Where I work: Marine Corps Community Services Transition Assistance Management Program

What I do in this role:  I have a variety of tasks in my job – curriculum development for our employment assistance workshops, team training, workshop facilitation, workshop coordination, implementing federal mandates/laws/regulations, career counseling, resume writing, interview coaching, new employee orientation/training, create the work schedule for 12 employees, and anything else that needs to be done.

Why I do it: I love what I do!  I enjoy helping someone find their way when looking for a  new career.  I like helping folks be the best job applicant around by having the best resume and interview skills.  I love it when my client gets the job!  I actually enjoy employment researching, learning about what employers are doing and why.  I love sharing information and helping others.

What makes it portable: There are a variety of employers I can work for – colleges/universities, military installations, workforce centers

What degree/training do you need: If you want to be a college career counselor, many need a Masters in counseling.  I have a Bachelor’s degree and multiple certifications since I like to be more in the field of helping the client with developing career action plans, not so much the in-depth counseling.

My certifications are:
-Certified Workforce Development Professional with Job Seeker Services Endorsement (CWDP/JSS)
-Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
-Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC)
-Global Career Development Facilitator (GCDF)

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: Managing Editor & Freelance Writer

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: Molly Blake

Where I work:   &  MollyBlake.com

What I Do in these roles: Day to day, I’m involved in writing blog posts and managing guest blog posts. I write the content for the BSF web site as well as bi-monthly newsletters. I’m a part of an incredible communications team which includes our Director, Stephanie, our Public Relations gal, Anna Maria and the social media guru, Jen.  We all work brillitantly together — bouncing ideas off one another, offering advice and generally meshing together in a true team effort.

For my freelance writing jobs, I typically pitch a story to a magazine editor and once she or he accepts it, then we decide on word count and a fee.   After that, I get to work tracking down sources, facts, information and background.  I put it all together and off it goes to the editor for approval.

Why I do it:  I love to write and I love being a Marine Corps spouse so voila, I combined the two for two half-time dream jobs!  Working with Blue Star Families has been such a gift. I started out volunteering for BSF for all the reasons that so many miltary spouses volunteer — to give back.  They were a young non-profit back then but eventually they hired me as the Managing Editor.  The entire BSF staff couldn’t be more supportive and understanding of the crazy military life and their dedication to military families is truly inspiring.

What makes it portable: The magic of the Internet.  I can work from anywhere as long as I have my computer and wi-fi!

What degree/training do you need: I have an undergraduate degree and a Master’s Degree but I think what’s more important is that I have a passion for writing and a passion for military families.  It’s also crucial to have a work at home ethic — I love my job and work diligently to acomplish daily and weekly goals.  Stellar communication skills are also a must!  I take the time to write proper emails to my colleagues – using spelling, punctuation and appropriate grammar every time!  I think that too many people fire off emails without taking the time to re-read them (I usually read mine outloud) and ensure the message you are intending is what is coming across in the email.  I do not like BEING YELLED AT in person and I DO NOT LIKE BEING YELLED AT VIA EMAIL NOR DO I YELL AT PEOPLE IN EMAIL! Get my drift?

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: National Board Certified Teacher

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: Amanda Trimillos

Where I work:  

My Official Title: NBCT Program Ambassador & Military Liaison

What I do: I am a National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT).  I mentor teachers through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Process.  I offer professional Development webinars, trainings, and coaching on how to effectively use National Board tools and strategies to impact preK-12 student learning in the classroom.

Why I do it:  I do this because I am a military spouse and I know the plights of trying to remain in the classroom move after move after move.  I am an NBCT, and I have seen 1st hand how the NB tools have impacted my students’ learning, my own teaching pedagogy, and my career path.

What makes it portable:  National Board Certification is recognized in all 50 states.  Approximately 40+ states honor NBCT for teaching reciprocity – even those states who currently claim they will not honor out of state teaching certifications honor NBCT!

What degree/training do you need:  To apply for National Board Certification you must:

1.  Hold a Bachelors degree
2.  Hold a valid state teaching certification from ANY state
3. Have at least 3 years teaching experience (you can begin earlier but will not receive full NBCT status until the end of the 3rd year of experience).

Learn more about NBCT, Amanda and how to increase your career portability by checking out our interview with Amanda.

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: Marketing Consultant

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: Kaye Putnam
Where I work:
 
My own business: 

What I do in this role: I help entrepreneurs with their marketing. Which really means I help them have the confidence to communicate their unique value to the world.

Why I do it: When my work empowers people to feel like a ROCK STAR in their business, I know I’ve done my job. I LOVE seeing people succeed.

What makes it portable: My business is completely online. I sell business coaching via Skype and online marketing courses. I can work from anywhere (we’re in the middle-of-nowhere Missouri at the moment).

What degree/training do you need: I have a marketing degree with a psychology minor but everything I use on a daily basis I learned from being an entrepreneur myself, helping other businesses grow, and self-education. You don’t need a degree to start a business.

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: ACAP Installation Liaison Officer

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: Amy Bontrager

Where I work: Army Career Alumni Program, Fort Polk, LA 

What I do:  There are positions on installations you just need to search. Also I think spouses can really use their knowledge of military life to land them some pretty important job that furthers the mission of our military.

Why I do it: As we begin to downsize our troop numbers, it is important that the military is ensuring that those transition Soldiers are equipped for civilian life. The government supports that thought with the signing of the Veterans Opportunity to Work act.  Army Career Alumni Program has greatly expanded.

What makes it portable: To answer this question is twofold. One part is my focus on work supporting the military. Second, is the benefits of working for a contract company.

As I have moved from installation to installation working with the military has allowed me to gain skillsets that I can take to the next installation. I started off working with Army Community Services and then moved into a position that supported military families with children that have Autism. Now I serve transitioning Soldiers. I may not be working in the exact same field at each installation, but the common thread is the work I do supports the military and their families. This equates to a resume that reflects a strong understanding of the dynamics of the military, making me marketable in military communities.

The second part of why my work is portable is that I work for contractor named Serco. I say it’s the next best thing to civil service. Serco has the contract for all Army Career Alumni Programs (ACAP) sites. If I were to PCS, I would have access to not only positions with ACAP but also positions that are under the SERCO contract (to include Army Community Services and Department Human Resource).  Contractors have a number of contracts at military installations. Therefore, by working for a contractor, it opens doors that may help you find a position at your next place.

What degree/training do you need: I encourage all spouses to work toward their BA/BS. It does not necessarily matter what it is in, (mine is in Religion) however most employers request that employees have it.  My Master’s degree is in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy. Most jobs do not require a masters, however I think adding that to my experience has opened doors and will continue to in the future. And, it is important that my work experience speaks to my skill sets.

Portable Career Idea/Title: On-Air Personality/Morning Show Co-Host

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: LaTrice L. Langston

My other roles: Social Media/Public Affairs Director

Where I Work: P.S.–To start your mornings off right with Turner and LaTrice on the “Morning Salute” click here (KFLW989.com)! 6-10am Central time Monday through Friday!

What I do in my roles: As an on-air personality my job is to bring life to the airwaves and social media sites.

I personally take it upon myself to provide positivity in mass amounts so that I may bring some sort of balance to all the negativity that the media pushes in our face on a daily basis. “When given the option I will always choose to give extreme amounts of the positive and as little of the negative as possible. #SpreadingLuv” is a motto of mine and what I live by on and off the air.

I arrive at the office at 5am Monday through Friday and don’t leave until 11am (on a good day). I do “reality radio” which means if I visit a location in the community, read a Facebook post from a listener, or chilled at home with the family those are the things you will hear us talking about. If I lived it, it’s probably spoken about. I love love love to discuss what’s going on in the community and highlight the achievements of the children/young adults/adults in the area.

Why I do it: I know for a fact this is what I was called to do! Its my purpose in life, and I am honored to be a positive voice on the airwaves.

What makes it portable: Radio host/personalities are rarely live these days. Most are voice tracked, pre-recorded or syndicated (piped in from larger markets). I recently purchased the equipment needed to build a home production studio so that I can work from home, which means I am not required to access a production studio at a radio station–I am super excited about it!

What degree/training do you need: Another of my favorite quotes is: “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” No degree is needed–only an awesome personality and a passion to see others succeed. An understanding of how the technical end works is helpful, but with the right personality anything is possible! I personally don’t have a degree. My training (running the board and production studio) has been on-the-job through the different broadcast companies I’ve worked for! 

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: Online Facilitator/Instructor

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: Kelly Gump

Where I Work:                 

What I do in this Role: I teach professional development for educators online at the graduate level, as well as gifted K12 kids in an online environment. All of this work is part time with varying work hours each week. I can spend as little as 7 hours/week or as much as 30 hours/week..it really all depends!

Why I do it: I am an educator because it is my passion. I want to see better teachers in every classroom. Each child deserves that..not matter where they live. My work allows me to have a hand in educating educators.

I teach online because it allows me to have flexibility I could not have being a traditional classroom teacher or working in a traditional school setting. I am able to work around my children’s schedule. I can log on at 6AM or 10PM. All of the work I do is asynchronous. I do not need to be logged on at any set time unless I have a meeting. As a mom and a military spouse this is priceless. I can get my boys to and from school, attend all of their activities and still earn a living and do what I love. The varying hours can take some juggling but I have gotten used to it and seem to have a good system in place.

What makes it portable: All of my online work can be done anytime, anywhere. When we PCS I can continue to work. I can even take vacations anytime because all I need to do is take my laptop and check in each day. The only difference may be a time zone or two between me and my supervisors or my students!

What degree/training do you need: All of my jobs had a minimum requirement of a Masters degree. The Center for Talented Youth also required a teaching license. Additionally, each of the organizations I work for have trained me on their own systems. I have learned things like Blackboard, Moodle and D2L.

 

Portable Career Idea/Title: Social Media Manager

Meet the Inspirational Spouse in This Role: Jenelle Hatzung

Where I Work:

What I do in this role: Personally, I think I have the coolest job in the world. I get paid to be on facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, google+.  If it is a social media site I get to use it. I also create many of the graphics we use on our blog and website, host twitter chats & google+ hangouts {Like our hangout with Mrs. Amos, First Lady of the Marine Corps}.

Why I do it:  I love working with military families and I love social media.  This job affords me opportunity to do the two things I love! I am able to help other spouses and military families make sure they know about all of the resources that are available to them.  I am also able to help and encourage military spouses to continue to support their dreams and goals while they support their servicemember.

What makes it portable: I can work anywhere my phone, ipad or laptop has an internet connection!

What degree/training you need: For me much of the training I have is hands on. I have had a blog over over 4 years and have had an etsy shop I ran as well. I realized my love for social media when I got serious about promoting both my blog and shop.  I do have a degree in political science and I think some of my love for politics and the government really helps me too.  There are lots of online training courses you can take and there are lots of tutorials  on place likes Pinterest that explain all the different social media platforms and how to best utilize them.

Do you have a portable career you are passionate about? Do you work for a company that “gets it” more than any other company you’ve seen? Tell us about it below!

 

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