By Michelle Stephenson Galvez
It was through volunteering that I not only stumbled upon my true calling but ended up getting paid to do it too. But being a room mother for the kids’ classes, PTA school volunteer coordinator, scout troop leader, Sunday school teacher, family readiness group treasurer, soccer snack scheduler and Navy family ombudsman weren’t positions I sought because they might look good on my resume.
I’d exited the world of work when my second child was born and I hadn’t updated my resume in a decade. I simply needed to talk to other grown-ups and use my brain for something productive. I also wanted to stay busy enough to not have time to dwell on the fact that I was in a new city every 18 months raising kids by myself greeting the base gate guards more often than I saw my husband. I didn’t have to worry about reciprocity of licenses, career portability, day care or continuing education since I could jump right into volunteering now matter where we moved. It felt good to donate my time and help make a difference in my little pockets of community.
So it was a pleasant surprise to be offered a job with an actual paycheck to do something I’d been happily doing for free for years. I was clueless, but it turns out all that volunteer experience was qualifying me for my dream job - which came with family friendly hours, professional credibility, cool business cards, a blackberry, challenging workload and amazing adventures I get to call “work.”
But Blue Star Families, an incredible military family organization, (full disclosure: I enjoy volunteering with them) and the Military Spouse Business Alliance wants to give us all a clue.
At the upcoming “Hiring Our Heroes” career forum and hiring fair for military spouses of active duty, guard, reserves and veterans, Blue Star Families will present its “Making Volunteerism Work for You” project. It’s designed to show military spouses how to turn their volunteer work into concrete job skills for their resumes, according to their Director of Communications, Stephanie Himel-Nelson.
On August 2, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, the event will also include workshops, resume help and a networking/mentoring reception for spouses with employers and executives.
“Military spouse employment is consistently ranked in the top five issues of concern for our military families,” said Vivian Greentree, Ph.D., the Blue Star Families Director of Research and Policy. “To see the Chamber of Commerce tailoring hiring fairs specifically for spouses is exciting. Military spouses have so many attributes that companies are looking for, like decision-making under pressure, accountability and an amazing work ethic.”
Register at hoh.greatjob.net; and email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-463-3110 for more information!