Veterans and those who love them make no shortage of sacrifices on behalf of this country. But one sacrifice that’s perhaps not as readily acknowledged is the obstacles both veterans and military spouses can face when building out their careers in the civilian realm. This Veteran’s Day, Fairygodboss and Getting Hired asked folks in the veteran and military family community to share the ways this identity has aided and at times impeded them professionally, as well as their No. 1 pieces of advice to fellow military community jobseekers.
Do you believe veterans and their families should have the right to build civilian careers free of obstacles and biases? Show your support and #Pledge4VetFamilies here.
Who: Krista S. Anderson
What: Co-founder & President, The Unquiet Professional
Where: Alexandria, VA
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
Since May 2013. I was (and still am) a wife and stay-at-home mom. Before that I was in restaurant management.
As a military spouse, what are some of the more unique challenges you’ve had to face when it comes to finding and maintaining employment? Are there any obstacles people might not expect?
The challenges can be settling into a new home, finding reputable companies that have positions available, updating licensing and adapting to a new culture.
How about misconceptions — are there any false beliefs or stereotypes about what it means to be a military spouse that you’ve encountered, especially as it relates to you professionally?
Some stereotypes may be that military spouses are uneducated or can not maintain employment (when looking at their resume) since they move often. Many civilians do not automatically realize the "job hopping" is due to the military moving their families. The loyalty and hard work that comes from military spouses are two big reasons they should be considered for employment.
What has your company done to help with any of these challenges, and in what ways have you felt supported?
I am blessed to have had the opportunity to create an all volunteer non-profit that supports Gold Star families and veterans which allows me to work wherever I live. The challenge is creating events locally, so we tend to have most of our events in Rhode Island, where some of my family live.
Do you believe your experience as a military spouse has provided you with any unique perspectives or talents that aid you professionally today?
Yes. Five years into being a military spouse, I became a military widow. My husband SSG Michael H. Simpson was wounded in action in AFG and died five days later. What I have learned from my faith and community from that experience has given me the ability to serve other Gold Star families and the credentials (for the lack of a better term) to serve veterans. I can tell them their life and and service means something and that our sacrifice as a Gold Star family is not greater or less than their service and sacrifice, just different.
What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
Creating The Unquiet Professional to serve our military community.
What about outside of work — how do you most enjoy spending your time?
Our family serves on many levels. My husband Gus serves our nation as an active duty Army Green Beret. Our children serve our community through their school, church and our organization. I volunteer with five other non-profit organizations and sit on the Survivor Advisory Working Group for the U.S. Army. We all love to spend our time with friends and family as well as traveling.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for other military spouses who are looking for jobs right now?
Network. Tell your story, experiences, education and talents with others. Most people inherently enjoy connecting other people and genuinely want to help. Make your “ask” especially when someone asks you how they can help. Be confident in who you are and what you have to offer this world!