MSEJ May 2016 - Page 16

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Lina Irizarry-De La Cruz, Employment Coordinator, Esposas Militares Hispanas, Employment Specialist, CASY & MSCCN, and Active Duty Army Military Spouse

One of the toughest challenges I faced on my first PCS was constantly being asked about my support system and how that would affect my work-production if my husband were deployed.

Employers don’t want to “deal” with unexpected changes and “flexibility” is only based on business needs.

Also, for many professionals either in the medical or educational field, transferring professional credentials is a challenge. I have my professional license from Puerto Rico, but when I asked in GA about transferring and requesting a “provisional” they told me that I need to take both boards: State & National Registration. Some people like me might need to wait until the next PCS, hoping they can get better news.

I decided to brainstorm to discover what other talents or skills I have and how to transfer that into a new career path. I started working from home (Customer Service) because I needed “flexibility.” Since I have a solid background in sales, I worked one year doing that. Then, I started volunteering for the Hispanic community and then CASY & MSCCN, all the while learning new skills and embracing the everyday challenges that “military life” can bring. I developed myself in a completely different area; after almost two years, I’m still amazed how we can change our professional “lives” just with some help and a desire to succeed.

I would say that we can never give up on our goals. Look for information and resources like grants so you can pursue a new career or certification. Before PCSing, do some research and verify if you can transfer your credentials. Plan and implement a “support system” with friends that always help. Look for organizations that can assist you with the job search and that can help you translate your skills into the job market.

Always trust in yourself, never be afraid of any language barrier, and remember even the “simplest” job can bring you to a whole new world of opportunities. You just need to have your foot in the door.

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