NMSN Magazine Fall 2020

Page 1

CAREER CONNECTIONS November, 2020, Vol. 8, Issue 1

Sue Hoppin NMSN Founder and President




4 From Where Advocacy Has Come and Where It Needs To Go

9 Elimination for Effective Goal Setting

11 Five Things to Do Right Now on LinkedIn

12 Refresh Your Approach to Content Creation

13 Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

15 Virtually You - Video Conferencing in Style

16 The Deadly Sins of Team Leadership

18 OCONUS Unicorn

20 To Tap or Not to Tap? No part of this publication can be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the Publisher.

2 | NMSN Magazine



President’s Letter

The National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) was born ten years ago out of the desire to support the goals and ambitions of professional military spouses. Back then, the resources we have today didn’t exist and most of the initiatives supported military spouses attaining jobs as opposed to maintaining careers and/or starting businesses. It’s amazing to look back and see how far we’ve come as a community. In that time, efforts such as Joining Forces, Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) and Hiring our Heroes have brought corporations and other employers to the table and taught them the value of hiring military spouses. Nonprofits and support organizations such as Bunker Labs, SCORE and the Small Business Administration (SBA) have stepped up to assist military spouse business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. The landscape of military spouse employment and opportunities has changed significantly over the past decade. We’re proud that NMSN has been there for every step of the journey. Annual Military Spouse Career Summits, networking events, a digital magazine, monthly newsletter, and annual White Papers on military spouse employment have allowed us to train, mentor and advocate for military spouse professionals. Since our founding in 2010, our community has grown to over 20,000. Our grassroots initiatives allow us to connect with military spouse professionals and organizations that support them as well as policymakers across the board. Recommendations stemming from our White Papers are regularly introduced as legislation in Congress – and we’re just getting started! Thank you for being part of our community and for all you do on behalf of our military spouse professionals. We are honored to stand by you and support the community. We are just as passionate and committed to our mission as we were on Day 1 and look forward to the next ten years.

Sue Hoppin



NMSN Magazine



From Where Advocacy Has Come and Where It Needs To Go BY MADDIE DOLAN


ilitary spouses have a long history of being painted as homely backdrops to men being shipped off to wars. Imagine a nuclear family complete with a blond-haired, stick-figure wife holding a tray of fresh-baked cookies for her two point five children while smooching a grinning, uniformed

husband. Does she have feelings, or her own hopes and aspirations beyond the home? Not in that picture. They are simply dependents. That’s where the stereotype has always been wrong, though, and especially for today’s career-minded military spouse. Women have been calling for equality since the birth of

the United States, and slowly obtaining it, but until 2008, military spouses have not seen any legislative support for their own career goals. Because the mid-1900s housewife stereotype has always been misleading, the nation must alter its mindset. It’s time to recognize military spouses as real working people with a variety of backgrounds with their own career trajectories, and make lasting legal changes to support them. To get a full grasp of the military spouse employment journey, it’s important to look at key historical dates in the United States that shaped society and especially the military spouse. In fact, one of the first key moments is in women’s equality: The First Women’s Rights Convention in 1848. Upwards of 300 women and men attended the signing of the Declaration of Sentiments, which called for an end to discrimination of women.1 Without women gaining equal rights to owning land, voting, working, and identic pay, America would no doubt be very different, as would the current-day military spouse. But until the advent of World War II, the majority of military men were unmarried. Military spouses did not have to be considered as

4 | NMSN Magazine



a key factor in the wellbeing of servicemembers, because they were almost nonexistent. That would quickly change, though. As Emily Yellin of the New York Times noted, “In 1942 alone, 1.8 million weddings took place, up 83 percent from 10 years before. And two-thirds of those brides were marrying men newly enlisted in the military.”2 Even looking at U.S. Census Bureau marriage trends from 1950 to 1980 shows an exponential boom in marriages. 3 Seemingly overnight, the shape of the military changed. The major growth in military marriages combined with the Civil Rights Movement formed the new military spouse avatar—a working woman, and now man thanks to the legal recognition of female soldiers—yet they remained unnoticed for many more years.4 It wasn’t until 208 years after the birth of the United States, and 64 years after most women achieved the legal right to vote, 5 that military spouses finally received a formal recognition of their existence. On April 17, 1984, President Ronald Reagan released Proclamation 5184 that thenceforth dedicated May 24th as “Military Spouse Day.”6 The dedication urges the country to recognize “the profound importance of spouse commitment to the readiness and well-being of service members.” The day is still widely celebrated within the military community and by major news outlets, but the devotion itself doesn’t fully recognize spouse needs beyond their role as loving homemakers, despite Reagan’s acknowledgement that, “they subordinated their personal and professional aspirations to the NOVEMBER 2020

greater benefit of the service family.” In reality, the dedication perpetuates the inaccurate military spouse stereotype as simple housewives. In order to systematically shift America’s mindset away from that mold, and help them overcome careerblocking hurdles, “Military Spouse Day” needs to undergo a significant makeover to accurately portray them. In 1988, a Blue Ribbon Panel released the first ever look at who military spouses really are. In fact, it suggested to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force that a clear statement on spouse issues be adopted and implemented: It is Air Force policy that the choice of a spouse to pursue employment, to be a homemaker, to attend school, or to serve as a volunteer in Air Force or local community activities is a private matter and is solely the decision of the individual concerned. No nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

commander, supervisor, or other Air Force official will directly or indirectly impede or otherwise interfere with this decision.7 The Panel’s six-month analysis of Air Force military spouses ultimately suggested that spouses should no longer be bound to unpaid duties, like running wives clubs or being bound to organizing their servicemember’s off-duty work events (eg. Hail and Farewells). The aforementioned stereotype was beginning to be abolished on paper. What actually came of it, though? Internal policies to compensate spouses have yet to be instituted militarywide, and many spouses are still tied to formal military spouse duties. To this day, the Key Spouse Mentor Guide formally recognizes the importance the program has in the wellbeing of airmen and their families, yet relies on a full volunteer spouse staff to run and operate each program across the world. 8 If family programs are so crucial, NMSN Magazine


it remains a conundrum why the Department of Defense does not provide consistent compensation to such important roles across all military branches.9 And while the Air Force might not make it mandatory for any one spouse to run each program, the pressure of the commanding officers to make sure they run smoothly is enough to topple pressure onto spouses. If the programs collapse, the job falls back to the command; otherwise, the support doesn’t happen. All military leadership still needs to formally recognize the Blue Ribbon Panel’s 1988 recommendation of releasing military spouses from their unofficial duties, and with more than another pat on the back. In fact, there has been very little, tangible change made to support spouses outside of their homemaker status until 2008. Military spouse advocacy groups began popping up as far back as 1969 starting with the National 6 | NMSN Magazine

Military Families Association,10 but the first legislation to speak toward spouses as more than domestics is the Post9/11 GI Bill. This GI Bill allows servicemembers to transfer unused educational benefits to their spouses or children.11 It was also the first of any kind of passed legislation to recognize spouses as educated beings, despite women exceeding men in college enrollment starting in 1980, and having more advanced degrees than men since 2011.12 Even now, Military Spouse Employment Partnership reports that 84 percent of military spouses have some college experience.13 The same year of the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the Family and Medical Leave Act also recognized spouses as working people with its addition of them to Military Family Leave provisions.14 As of 2008, military spouses were finally eligible for caregiver or exigency leave. Thirty-seven years after nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

President Richard Nixon signed into law Title IX of Education Amendments prohibiting sex discrimination,15 and 23 years after the Supreme Court ruled a workplace can be deemed hostile based on sex discrimination,16 military spouses began to have a voice in the workforce. From there, a domino effect of career-focused advocacy groups began forming including some of the most influential, like Blue Star Families in 2009, National Military Spouse Network in 2010, and Military Spouse JD Network in 2011. In its inaugural year, BSF launched its “Military Families Lifestyle Survey” that is now able to give the longest and most indepth look into military spouse challenges, including employment woes, to-date.17 When articles quote military spouses as some of the most under- and unemployed people in the workforce, most often the statistics come from BSF’s decade-long look into NOVEMBER 2020

military spouses and their families. Furthermore, NMSN’s White Papers have captured all the data from various military spouse-focused surveys on the market. They not only proposed legislative changes, but have initiated conversations with congressional members and military leaders to create palpable changes.18 NMSN is at the forefront of many pieces of military spouse career-focused legislation trying to be pushed into law. Additionally, MSJDN has been pivotal in getting 34 states and one U.S. territory— and growing—to make licensing accommodations for military spouse attorneys.19 The year 2008 marks a shift in understanding how military spouses are careerminded beings, and require legislative backing to match, truly began. Since 2008, military spouses have begun experiencing smoother processes crossing state lines with professional licenses, have consistency and peace of mind with where they pay income taxes, 20 have a slew of organizations aiming to train, mentor, and hire spouses, and have two presidential administrations publicly advocating for working military spouses. 21 Also, after a Permanent Change of Station, the DoD branches now offer a monetary reimbursement to spouses transferring professional certifications, and LinkedIn offers a free year of premium access to ease all military spouses in their job hunts. 22 Even further, there are now nonprofits, like HillVets LEAD, focusing on helping military spouses pursue careers in political offices and positions to incite the real change necessary NOVEMBER 2020

to put military families first. 23 But, there is much left to be done. The forward momentum careerminded military spouses have experienced over the last decade cannot continue if advocacy efforts do not first try to alter the antiquated perception the nation has about military spouses. If the dated 1950’s idea remains prevalent, Congresspeople responsible for creating legislation to support spouses will not be supported by their constituents. Without a stereotype makeover, both large and small businesses will remain hesitant to hire remote-workers or shed their location-based

hiring discrimination to give spouses the job opportunities they need. Not to mention, without a change in how spouses are viewed, military leadership will be reluctant to change its deep-rooted traditions if spouses are not monetarily valued for required work. Now is the time to reshape the military spouse stereotype. These people are career-minded men and women who deserve as fair of a chance at an equal work life as everyone else in America. Keeping military spouses employed at the level of their civilian counterparts will not only benefit these individuals, but their servicemembers and ultimately the military and nation.

Military Spouse Employment: Three Recommenda�ons for Suppor�ng Career Portability Overseas By David Chrisinger


NMSN Magazine


Endnotes 1

“Declaration of Sentiments,” National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/wori/learn/historyculture/declaration-of-sentiments.htm.

Yellin, Emily. “Lining Up For Wartime Weddings.” New York Times, 2 Feb. 2017: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/ weddings/165-years-of-wedding-announcements/world-war-two-weddings. 2

“Historical Marital Status Tables: MS-1.” U.S. Census Bureau, Nov. 2019: https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/ families/marital.html. 3

During Vietnam, the demographics of the military began to change as women were starting to be allowed to legally enlist in branches, like the Air National Guard: https://www.nationalguard.mil/Features/Special-Features/Womens-History-Month/. This began to shift the demographics of military families as well. As of today, the Department of Labor “Military Spouse Fact Sheet” states that 92 percent of military spouses are female: https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WB/mib/WB-MilSpouse-factsheet.pdf. 4

On the 26 Aug. 1920, the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote throughout the United States, although Mississippi would be the last state to do so on 22 Mar. 1984: https://www.history.com/topics/womens-history/19th-amendment-1. 5


Reagan, Ronald. “Proclamation 5184”: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-98/pdf/STATUTE-98-Pg3583-2.pdf.

Freniere, Carole. “Potential Effects of Relocation Decisions on Retention of Air Force Dual-Officer Couples,” Air University, Sept. 1988, https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a201509.pdf. 7

“Airman and Family Readiness Center Key Spouse Program,” U.S. Air Force DCS/Manpower & Personnel: https://www. afpc.af.mil/Portals/70/documents/01_HOME/Airman%20and%20Family/05_Key%20Spouse/KSP%20Mentor%20Guide. pdf?ver=2019-10-08-100155-447.


Some military spouses are paid under the “Ombudsman” title, but this is not a military-wide standard, as described in “Future military spouse clubs must change to survive” by Jennifer Barnhill for Military Families Magazine: https://militaryfamilies.com/military-spouses/ future-military-spouse-clubs-must-change-to-survive/. 9

National Military Family Association, https://www.militaryfamily.org/about-us/mission/.

10 11

“Post-9/11 GI Bill,” U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/post911_gibill.asp.

See “CPS Historical Time Series Visualizations on School Enrollment,” U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/library/ visualizations/time-series/demo/school-enrollment-cps-historical-time-series.html and “CPS Historical Time Series Visualizations,” U.S. Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/time-series/demo/cps-historical-time-series.html 12

Military Spouse Employment Partnership Factsheet: https://download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Factsheets/SECO/MSEPFactsheet-Corporate.pdf. 13

“The Employee’s Guide to Military Family Leave Under the Family and Medical Leave Act,” U.S. Department of Labor: https://www. dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/legacy/files/fmla_military_guide_english.pdf. 14

15 “Overview of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972,“ U.S. Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/crt/overview-title-ix-education-amendments-197220-usc-1681-et-seq.

“Enforcement Guidance,” U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission, https://www.eeoc. gov/eeoc/publications/upload/currentissues.pdf. 16

Blue Star Families’ annual Military Families Lifestyle Survey’s from 2010-2018: https:// bluestarfam.org/survey-more-results/. 17

National Military Spouse Network 2019 White Paper: https://www. nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org/public/images/NMSN_White_Paper_ Military_Spouse_Employment.pdf; and 2020 White Paper: https://www. nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org/public/NMSN-2020-White-Paper.cfm. 18


Military Spouse JD Network, https://www.msjdn.org.

The Military Spouses Residency Relief Act allows military spouses to pay income tax in their home of record state, rather than the state their income was earned: https:// download.militaryonesource.mil/12038/MOS/Misc%20Files/MilSpouseResReliefAct. pdf. 20

In 2011, the Obama administration’s first and second ladies launched Joining Forces, which encouraged “Americans to rally around service members, veterans, and their families and support them through wellness, education, and employment opportunities”: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/joiningforces/about. In 2018, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13832 to help increase federal job opportunities for military spouses: https://www.federalregister.gov/ documents/2018/05/14/2018-10403/enhancing-noncompetitive-civil-serviceappointments-of-military-spouses. 21


LinkedIn: https://socialimpact.linkedin.com/programs/veterans/milspouses.


Hillvets LEAD: http://www.hillvets.org/lead/.

8 | NMSN Magazine


Maddie Dolan has more than a decade of experience in reporting, editing, teaching and creative writing. She has a bachelor’s in English-Writing and a master’s in English-Creative Writing. She has also been awarded Best Business News Story and Best Spot News Story by the Nevada Press Association, and received a commendation from the Associated Press for breaking news coverage. Not conclusively, she also received awards for her volunteerism with USO Guam, is a recipient of the ANA Dorothy Flatley Award and is a HillVets Cohort alumna. When Maddie isn’t writing, she can be found outside running, biking or hiking. NOVEMBER 2020

Elimination for Effective Goal Setting BY CACHET PRESCOTT, PHR, SHRM-CP


021 is almost upon us, and it’s the most wonderful time of the year when we gogetters and achievers set our sights on what we want to accomplish not only in the new year but in the coming decade as well! As a personal growth coach, I often write and talk about goal development but let’s take a moment to focus on the less discussed role of elimination in the goal setting process. Elimination is an important part of the goal setting conversation because it: 1. Forces you to be intentional about the opportunities you choose (or choose not) to pursue;


2. Keeps you focused and on task; and 3. Helps you avoid unnecessary frustration and sense of being overwhelmed. As you plan for what’s to come in 2021 and beyond, consider what you can remove from your schedule and life to help propel you toward achieving your goals. Here are two effective elimination strategies to get you started that can be used to work through and solidify your future goals: 1. Eliminate the Shoulds 2. The Pumpkin Plan


NMSN Magazine


Don’t Should on Yourself There are an influx voices and opinions invading your space and influencing your thoughts everywhere you turn. Even the mentally strongest of us have been caught in the comparison trap and have fallen victim to the trappings of what we “should” be doing when it comes to our goals. When developing your goals for the coming year (and decade), I encourage you to be intentional about what you choose to take on. One valuable approach is to eliminate the shoulds from your vocabulary and thoughts by asking yourself the following questions: 1. How am I shouding on myself? What goals am I pursuing because I think I should? 2. Why do I feel like I “should” (fill in the blank)? How does this serve me (and my goals), and what will I gain from it? 3. Is this something that I even want to do, and if not, why am I considering or pursuing it? In SMART goal setting, the R stands for relevant, and if a goal isn’t relevant to you (as in it’s not something that serves you or your endeavors), there’s a highly likelihood that you won’t achieve it. Bottom line … don’t set yourself up for failure by shoulding on your goals.

1. What am I offering, involved in or committed to that isn’t serving (or no longer serves) my business, career and/or life goals? In other words, what do I need to prune from my “pumpkin” to facilitate healthy growth and achieve my goals? 2. When looking at the goals I’ve set, which ones (if any) should I eliminate? Do I have any weak or “good enough” goals that won’t ultimately contribute to creating something powerful? This process of elimination, known as goal selection, forces you to choose what matters and to focus on that one thing (and thus, eliminating everything else from your plate). Which goals have I set that might be getting in the way of my other goals? Author James Clear writes, “Goal competition says that one of the greatest barriers to achieving your goals is the other goals you have.” In this case, while you’re eliminating a specific goal per se, you must prioritize to eliminate the competition between your goals. No matter which approach you choose, each one requires you to be self-reflective and brutally honest with yourself to be most useful and successful in your goal setting process. Your Challenge: It’s time to get to work! Choose one elimination strategy to tackle in the next seven days.

Pumpkin Plan That Thing! A similar yet helpful elimination strategy is to “pumpkin plan” to your goals, a concept that entrepreneur and business author, Michael Michalowicz expounds upon in his book, The Pumpkin Plan. The basic premise is for business owners to take a note from pumpkin farmers that grow those ginormous, prize-winning pumpkins and apply that same concept to growing strong, healthy businesses. One of the main tenets that these farmers adhere to is that you must cut off anything that doesn’t positively contribute to the productive growth of the pumpkin. So, what does that look like when it comes to your “pumpkin” (aka your business, career and/or life)? Using the same pruning process to ruthlessly eliminate the “vines” and “weeds”, answer the following questions for yourself: 10 | NMSN Magazine

Personal growth coach, Cachet Prescott helps others proactively move from where they are to where they want to be. From skill development to goal setting and strategy building to simply serving as an objective sounding board to work through challenges, Cachet empowers you to BE your best so you can DO your best (to pursue and ultimately your personal and professional goals). Cachet’s advice and insights have been featured on Careers in Government; GI Jobs; Military Spouse Magazine; Blue Star Families; The Muse; Thrive Global; The Huffington Post; Introvert, Dear; DailyWorth; Fast Company; FlexJobs; International Business Times (IBT); LearnVest; Monster and Recruiter.com. A double certified HR professional, Cachet also holds a Master’s in Sociology from the University of Georgia; a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Fairfield University; and a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Virginia.



Five Things to Do Right Now on LinkedIn BY AMY SCHOFIELD


e all know that networking is crucial to your job search and online networking via LinkedIn is becoming ever more important these days. In order to reap the maximum benefits of LinkedIn, you need to do more than simply fill out your initial profile and “set it and forget it”. Here are five things to do right now on LinkedIn that can be helpful to your job search. •

Review and update your current profile: When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? If it has been more than six months ago, it is time to review your profile. Do you have your current position on there? What are your biggest accomplishments since the last time you updated your profile? Did you join any professional associations or obtain any certifications that aren’t listed yet? What new skills have your acquired? Is your location correct? Even listing the wrong location can have potential negative consequences to your job search because recruiters can search by zip code to narrow down their candidate pool. Spend some time updating your profile to reflect a current snapshot of yourself.

Ask three people who know your work well for a recommendation: While your profile sells you, your recommendations back you up. If a recruiter is looking at LinkedIn profiles for two different candidates, but one profile has rave reviews about the person from their boss or people they have worked with and the other profile has no recommendations, the recruiter may be swayed to interview the person who has the better recommendations. Think about who you know who can speak highly of your talents and reach out to them via LinkedIn for a recommendation.

Join two groups and answer one question in a group: Joining groups composed of people with a similar background can help you in two ways: 1) It will allow you to connect with people in your industry who you may not otherwise know; and 2) Responding to a question in a group demonstrates your authority on a topic. That’s a good thing when it comes to your job search!

Read your news feed and comment on at least three updates: Commenting on updates shows

Invite ten new people to connect with you: The main driver behind LinkedIn is the connections you have. If a hiring manager performs a search for a candidate with a specific skill set, they will be able to see people’s profiles who share the same connections. People they are connected with show up first in their search, followed by people with shared connections, followed by people with third-level connections. Therefore, connecting with the right people in the right fields can be beneficial to your job search. Be sure to personalize your invitations as you seek out new connections as a personalized note is more courteous and memorable.



NMSN Magazine

| 11

that you are engaged with your professional contacts. When you comment on someone’s update, a link to your profile with your headline shows up on others’ feeds. If your headline includes “Public Relations Professional” and one of your third-level connections is looking for someone with that background, then they may reach out to you and all you had to do was comment on someone’s post. Just like with any social media platform, you will want to remain active on LinkedIn and check in regularly to gain visibility. One last note: always remember that LinkedIn is a public platform so do your due diligence with what information you share and who you share it with and review your privacy settings regularly.

Amy Schofield is an Academy Certified Resume Writer and an Academy Certified Profile Writer with 10+ years of experience in the recruiting, career coaching, and resume writing fields. She is the founder of Schofield Strategies, LLC TM , an organization that provides resume development and job search strategies to job seekers of various backgrounds and experience levels from around the world. As an active-duty military spouse, she is passionate about helping transitioning veterans and military spouses reach their career goals. Her work is featured in numerous online and print media, including GI Jobs, Reserve and National Guard Magazine, Army Wife Talk Radio, NextGen Milspouse, and Blue Star Families. She is a contributor to Modernize Your Job Search Letters: Get Noticed… Get Hired. Schofield Strategies was the recipient of the 2013 Military Family Member Community Heartbeat Award.

Refresh Your Approach to Content Creation


t doesn’t matter how prolific you are, generating content can become overwhelming at times. Whether it’s setting aside enough time to write or finding the inspiration, it can be challenging to “set pen to paper”. To get the most out of the content you’re creating (and maximize your time), put some planning behind it. Here are some tips to help you pull together a comprehensive and easy-to-follow plan to make writing a breeze.

Develop an editorial calendar to help you stay on top of your content. These are just a few steps to get you on your way. Use all three, or

just one, but most importantly, take a few minutes to evaluate your content creation methods and make sure you are making the most of your time and energy.

Check out your analytics – what worked well in the past? What didn’t work? Use that information as a data point when you figure out the way ahead. Develop a strategy – how many times will you post? When will you post? Who will be posting? And where will you be posting? Is your primary audience on Facebook? Perhaps Twitter? Or Instagram? 12 | NMSN Magazine



Teamwork Makes the Dream Work BY JANET FARLEY


re you truly a good team player? Or is that just some soft-skilled catch phrase that you put that on your resume without giving its meaning careful thought? Maybe it’s time to step back and give it some meaningful thought. Let’s try again. Are you truly a good team player? When you look up the word, teamwork, you’ll see an expected definition: “the combined action of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient.” Translate “combined action of a group of people” and you might sense that the concept of collaboration is somehow involved and you would be right. Teamwork involves collaboration and that is something you have to be good at in our current workforce if you want to be successful. It will be a one you absolutely must have to thrive in the workforce of tomorrow where soft skills are predicted to make a stunning comeback in importance where automation will be king. When you join forces with others to achieve a common goal, on the job or not, you reap notable benefits, individually and as a team: NOVEMBER 2020

You become so much smarter. It’s true what they say. Two heads are better than one. More heads are even better. A network becomes genius but as members of the NMSN, you probably suspect that already. Pooling those braincells can produce creative and farreaching solutions for nearly any project making you a much better problem-solver. Icing on the cake? Employers likes to hire people who can fix things. You develop an appreciation for others who don’t think like you. You may be brilliant but you can still learn so much from someone who thinks differently than you or who comes from a different background than you. Living la vida military may have already taught you that. We’ll call that a win if so! You extend your reach. When you are a real team player, you get around organizationally speaking. This means your network is bigger and you can reach further outside of your cubicle to gain valuable assistance when you need it to advance yourself professionally or a project you may be working on. You can accomplish more tasks faster. Once you get in the groove of working with others on a team effectively, you can get nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

more done. Or not. It may mean that you can spend more time on one aspect you enjoy without sacrificing progress on the overall project and that’s a cool thing, too. Each team you work on may have a unique dynamic. It is key to identify what that dynamic is and how you can best work with it as soon as possible to be the most effective as a whole. You communicate more effectively with those around you. When you work with others to achieve a common goal and you succeed, that’s a sure sign you communicated well. Words are so important. They control everything. Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to advance in your career, the ability to be a good team player is more important now than it has ever been.

Janet Farley is the Director of Transition and Employment at the Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center and the author of several career guides targeted to veterans and military spouses most recently, Mission Transition: Managing Your Career and Your Retirement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Connect with her at www.linkedin. com/in/janetfarley NMSN Magazine

| 13

14 | NMSN Magazine



Virtually You Video Conferencing in Style BY ERIN HODGKINSON

How to add personal style to a lounge wear environment




If you are rocking a blouse on top and feel out of alignment with PJ’s on the bottom opt for a smarter version of sweat pants. Satin, linen, cargo, and harems are comfortable options that let your personal style shine through.

Colors can create a more selfassured, vibrant, confident you. Go for neutrals if you want to fade into the background or a pop of color if it’s your day to slay.

Earrings that are 1 in’ or shorter will keep the attention on your expertise. A bright statement necklace may be exactly what your feeling. Use discretion when choosing jewelry as per the formality of your meeting.

PRO TIP: Wear shoes to complete the outfit and feel 100% put together

PRO TIP: RED - Passion/Strength ORANGE - Success/Confidence GOLD - Wisdom/Prosperity

Backgrounds Express Yourself Spending more than 4 hrs a day on screen? Consider leveling up your backdrop. Too much clutter can be distracting, yet bringing some personality to the table adds a warm touch to the environment. NOVEMBER 2020


PRO TIP: Make Tuesday feel like Friday by wearing your tennis bracelet or investment piece. Erin Hodgkinson founded Frilly Simple, a women mobile microboutique in 2013. The brand has expanded to include locations nationally and internationally. She approaches fashion as a means to motivate milspouses and milmoms to elevate their everyday. Erin grew up in colorful Colorado where her formal education includes a BA in English, as well as a teaching certification. NMSN Magazine

| 15

The Deadly Sins of Team Leadership BY CAROL BOWSER


have spent the better part of my adult life diving into workplace conflict. What causes it. What keeps it on life support despite everyone saying that they are sick of the “drama”. Below are what I have identified as the “Deadly Sins of Team Leadership.” So if you are leading a team, leading a home, leading groups of volunteers these insights apply. Thinking having “Team Players” is enough. In my time I have seen many, many variations on what it means to be a “team player.” Every person and organization defines it somewhat differently. There is a fallacy that if you just hire the right people things will take care of themselves. Maybe. Not usually.

experience you differently. Your aversion to “micro-managing” people may cause you not to give the level of direction that someone else may need. Conversely, your need for process and rules, may drive subordinate and peers crazy. The truth is that we judge ourselves based on our intentions while other judge us based on their interpretation of our actions. Other people can’t get into your head any more then you can get into theirs. You can, however, solicit feedback. Ask a confidant

or peer to provide you with direct feedback. You can devote some time to self-reflection and self-assessment. Once you have some insight, consider working with a coach or invest in some professional development to determine how to leverage your preferred approaches. Insisting on respect / leading by fear. You cannot insist people respect you. Respect for some is given until it is betrayed. For others respect is not given until it is earned. Some may not respect you but will show deference to

What is often overlooked is that successful teams have great coaches. Coaches who know how to define a vision and utilize the individual players to maximum advantage. So, get to know the players, their strengths, knowledge, talent and interests. Determine how each prefers to work and encourage active dialogue about the work and the manner in which the work can be accomplished. Make sure to honor differences, but not at the cost of organizational goals. Assuming you know what it is like to work for you. You don’t really know what it is like to work for you. Most people will not tell you. Frankly, different people 16 | NMSN Magazine



the position. Somewhere along the line people got confused thinking that use of punishment and fear is a good way to get respect. Nope. Just because someone fears punishment does not mean that they respect the person who doles out the punishment. In fact, they likely hate that person.

for you enough that you are in the position to influence the organization. Here, I want to distinguish between the Goals (Having a workplace which is productive and free of damaging conflict) and Process. In the book Clutch: Excel Under Pressure Paul Sullivan illustrates the difference between Goal and Process.

Instead, try and find out how other demonstrate respect at work and what respectful conduct looks like to them. You might be surprised.

The Goal is the ultimate result. The process the method used to get there. Great leaders can adapt the process to meet the goal. Sometimes this means backing away from your preferred process to include others. Sometimes it means getting outside of your comfort zone. Remember it is your way-your preference. Your way is not the only way.

Squelching conflict. This is a big one. Why? Because there is the misplaced belief that conflict is by nature confrontational and “not nice.” You can be nice and disagree. You can respectfully disagree. You can even assertively respectfully and gracefully disagree. If you fail to raise concerns or bring errors to people’s attention that is not being nice that is being a chicken s**t. Know that exchange of ideas is part of the game. It is ok to get stuck, be passionate, and reach impasse. That is all part of being creative, exploring ideas, and problem solving. Let people know that you know sometimes getting stuck is part of the process and getting stuck is not a game ender. Let them know that you want to work through it. Believing Silence = Harmony. It isn’t. Silence means that people have either checked out or are too intimidated to bring it forward. If you ask a question and get nothing, ask “what am I to take from your silence?” Then shut up and listen. Insisting on “your way”. Your way works for you. It has worked NOVEMBER 2020

Trying to do it all yourself / failure to delegate. No one can do it all. It maybe your responsibility, but it need not be entirely your work. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “but it is just faster for me to do it myself.” Yes, for the short term. In the long term by failing to delegate work, you are short changing the development of your management skills and denying employees the opportunities to advance their skill sets. Is it scary? Yes. Is it uncomfortable? Yes. Is it risky? Yes. Can the risk be minimized? Yes. Why should you delegate? Simple. If you do not learn to appropriately delegate tasks, you are disempowering your staff, encouraging learned helplessness, victimization and resentment. Instead, determine what you can delegate, who you can delegate it do THEN how you can delegate it safely. nationalmilitaryspousenetwork.org

Failing to get help. You can’t and should not do it all. Help may come from a trusted advisor, a close colleague who is willing to raise the B.S. flag to you, from a friend to whom you can vent or a mentor. Addressing conflict is often uncomfortable and unfamiliar. You may have the desire to jump in, but nature and complexity of the conflict may put you out of your depth. Seek help. So, any of these look familiar? Which ones are most prevalent in your workplace, your home or volunteer group? Look around; reflect on what you see and what others are telling you. Determine what actions you can take to become a leader that is conflict competent. Remember, leaders are leaders because people chose to follow them. Meaning that you have the ability to be a leader - a person of influence - no matter what your position. So, go on. Give it a whirl. You just might find that you are good at it. Let me know how it goes. I am only a call, tweet, email, shout for help away.

Carol Bowser, Conflict Management Expert. Organizations hire Conflict Management Strategies, Inc. to increase productivity by easing workplace conflict and tension, to train employees in conflict resolution skills, to evaluate internal conflict resolution processes, to coach key employees to higher levels of performance and to facilitate tangible change within the working environment. NMSN Magazine

| 17



s a military spouse I have had the privilege of living in Japan twice, for a total of 5 years. These two journeys looked very different, one was without kids, footloose and fancy free. The second I arrived pregnant and with a toddler and left pregnant with two toddlers. The experience of living far from home taught me to value the military lifestyle, so much so that I’ve made writing about it my passion. However, these experiences didn’t come without a cost. My husband is a Navy helicopter pilot and was “forward deployed” for 50 percent of the time

we lived OCONUS (Outside CONtinental United States). This complicated my personal life and my professional life. I was one of the lucky few to get a job within my field in Japan. I was hired as a public relations assistant for Morale Welfare and Recreation, utilizing a military spouse hiring preference. I also picked up freelance writing work for Stars and Stripes. I didn’t make much money, but I had a few bullet points on my resume. Military spouses around me were not so lucky. Instead of treating patients, I knew doctors who threw command parties. Instead of running a board room, others ran spouse clubs. On my second tour in Japan I taught English, kept writing for Stars and Stripes and was a lackluster stay-at-home mom. The few who worked fulltime attempted to get on child care waitlists or sent their children to private Japanese schools. This was not a luxury many could afford, so many didn’t bother trying. There were many spouses who ran their own businesses out of their homes but were worried about the legality of doing so. Those who created their own products were not able to ship them to US-based clients because laws didn’t allow using a DoD postal address for profit. They were forced to sell their wares locally at spouse-sponsored craft fairs. If they were not sure about what was allowed, they would attempt to talk to the base legal office, but were often told that “we don’t handle that.” If we wanted a power of attorney or help with taxes (and our spouse could accompany us into the office) they were there, but beyond that we were on our own to unknowingly break the law. I am a unicorn. I found work OCONUS. But, I also had two huge career speed bumps (two tours in Japan). I could not gain resume momentum. Instead of continuing to pursue one career path,

18 | NMSN Magazine



I had to hop around. If we had been stationed stateside for the past 13 years I would have had more control over my professional and educational goals. I don’t look back with regret as all military spouses do, I made it work, and had a blast. But from my current vantage point, I look back and hope for better for those yet to come. Living overseas and experiencing other cultures should be embraced with enthusiasm, not dreaded because of legal and professional hurdles. Putting us to work is just the first step to solving the military spouse employment problem. What comes next is a bit more complicated, but no less vital. What’s Next? The National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) is focused on supporting the career portability of military spouses overseas (OCONUS). These efforts will directly impact the readiness and retention of our forward-deployed military force. Families are not just dependents, we are partners in this lifestyle and support each other accordingly. If being deployed OCONUS costs military spouses careers, legal freedoms and time with stateside friends and family these sacrifices will negatively impact military marriages, which impacts our all-volunteer force. As the military spouse workforce turns to remote and flexible work options, NMSN’s solution to examine and reduce employer tax burdens becomes all the more vital. Military spouses are pivoting to try to find new pathways to make this challenging lifestyle work, but need policies to keep up with us. Jennifer Barnhill is a freelance writer with a focus on military family advocacy, Navy spouse and mother of three. Her reporting has been featured in Military. com, The War Horse, We Are the Mighty, Military Spouse Magazine, Military Families Magazine and TheMilitaryWallet. com. She is the Director of Public Relations for Partners in PROMISE, Editorial Content Manager for TheMilitaryWallet.com and serves on the National Military Spouse Network Storm the Hill 2020 Steering Committee. She is currently studying at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in pursuit of her Master of Public Administration, with a concentration in nonprofit management. NOVEMBER 2020


NMSN Magazine

| 19

Sponsored Content

To Tap or Not to Tap? BY JJ MONTANARO, CFP®, USAA


arlier this year, the CARES Act became law. Designed to help us get through this difficult time, this element of Uncle Sam’s response to the pandemic contains provisions that temporarily make it easier for you to access your retirement funds. If you’ve been impacted by the pandemic, this access comes in the form of increased borrowing limits from your employer plan or penalty-free withdrawals from an employer plan or an IRA. Because these special loan provisions expired back on Sept. 23, I’ll focus below on the coronavirus withdrawals allowed by the CARES Act. If you’ve already taken advantage of the change or are considering a withdrawal, here are some points to understand:

20 | NMSN Magazine

The eligibility rules are broad. You can make a coronavirus-related distribution or withdrawal if you or a family member have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you’ve suffered adverse financial consequences because of the disease. The latter includes reduced work hours and not being able to work because you didn’t have childcare.

It’s temporary. As I write this, coronavirusrelated distributions are available through the 2020 calendar year.

Employers make the call. Your employer is not mandated to allow these coronavirus withdrawals, so check with your plan to see if it is a possibility. The Thrift Savings Plan does.

It’s capped. You don’t have unlimited access to your retirement accounts. All coronavirus withdrawals are limited to a total of $100,000. For example, if you have both an IRA and a 401(k) or TSP, your total withdrawal is capped at $100,000. Withdrawals above that threshold won’t be eligible for the beneficial treatment discussed here.

It removes key barriers. Typically, a pre-59 1/2 withdrawal from a retirement account would trigger a 10% penalty. Likewise, a withdrawal from an employer plan would requires 20% mandatory federal income tax withholding. Those penalties and withholdings do not apply to coronavirus withdrawals.

There are special tax provisions. In addition to waiving the 10% early withdrawal penalty, you can elect to have the taxable portion – yes, this part of the withdrawal will be taxed as ordinary income – spread out over three years. A sitdown with your tax advisor can help you map out the best plan based on your situation. It’s important to remember that these withdrawals are not tax-free.

It can be paid back. You can pay back the withdrawal by making a rollover contribution



to your retirement account or IRA. Rules vary by employer, so it could be possible that when replacing money withdrawn from your 401(k), you would have to roll the money into an IRA. Furthermore, the replacement does not have to happen as a lump sum. You would recoup the taxes paid on the withdrawal by filing an amended tax return. •

There’s an opportunity cost. Clearly, removing money saved for retirement should not be done lightly. Let’s say you pulled $100,000 out of your 401(k) to help cover lost income or other pandemic-related needs. With 15 years and 7% growth until retirement, you will have shrunk your nest egg by around $276,000. Of course the longer you have until retirement, the larger the opportunity cost.

In the end, the call is yours, but it’s a call with serious near-and long-term implications. Best of luck. This material is for informational purposes. Consider your own financial circumstances carefully before making a decision and consult with your tax, legal or estate planning professional. NOVEMBER 2020

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER TM in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates.

Joseph “JJ” Montanaro is a financial planner with USAA’s Military Affairs’ Advocacy Group and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional (CFP®). He is a native of Kansas City and graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. Montanaro has more than twenty years of experience as a financial planner. He served in the US Army for six years on active duty and retired as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve. JJ’s financial advice has appeared in numerous outlets including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and the New York Times. He writes monthly personal finance columns for Military Spouse Magazine and American Legion Magazine and hosts the USAA Money Drill podcast.


NMSN Magazine

| 21