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: Annie Erling Gofus
What: Head of Content, TripScout
Where: Washington, D.C.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I’ve been with TripScout for about three years. Before TripScout, I worked in the Senate for one year; the United State Memorial Holocaust Museum for three years; and then LivingSocial for less than a year (before the company began to crumble and I was laid off with my entire team). After spending a year in Slovakia on a Fulbright Grant, I freelanced for a year until I found TripScout.
What factors were most important to you in transitioning from a military to civilian job? Are there any challenges associated with that transition that people may not be aware of?
The most difficult thing about balancing milspouse life with a career is the constant moving and isolation. In addition to moving every three years, Army bases are almost always in the middle of the nowhere. So, not only is it difficult to settle into a career but it’s difficult to find meaningful jobs.
People tend to think that military spouses don’t want careers or can’t have careers. There is this idea that being an “Army Wife” is a full-time job and people assume we either don’t have the time or ambition to develop careers.
What did your company do to help ease the transition, and how have you felt supported working here?
The TripScout team is entirely distributed and my colleagues live all over the world! If this job was not remote, I would struggle to make this work. Being a remote employee affords me the flexibility to move and travel when needed. I’m also fortunate that both of TripScout’s co-founders have siblings in the military. It helps that my colleagues understand my military background.
Do you believe your military background has provided you with any unique perspectives or talents that aid your career today?
As a military spouse, you need to be adaptable. This is a skill I’ve developed over the years, and something that absolutely helps me in my career. Living on Army bases has sharpened my emotional intelligence. You are forced to make friends quickly as a military spouse — bonding with so many different people has taught me a lot about personalities, reading people, and building relationships. This has all be invaluable in my career.
What about outside of work — how do you most enjoy spending your time?
Outside of work, I love hiking with my dog and traveling. Because my work is remote, I’m able to travel often — which I love!
What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of?
I’m really proud of my work at TripScout. I started working at TripScout about six months after it was founded. It has been tremendously satisfying watching this app grow.
What’s your #1 piece of advice for women, and especially other women veterans, who are looking for jobs right now?
When I was trying to transition out of freelancing, someone advised me not to settle. I interviewed for a lot of jobs that would have been fine for a short period of time, but I was ready to find the perfect job and settle into my career. It took a year of hunting, but I finally found TripScout.