Episode 224: Career Clarity for Military Women: Identifying Your Ideal Career Role

June 19, 2024

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In this episode, you’ll learn how to identify your ideal career role. We address the common challenges faced during your transition and provide actionable steps to overcome them.


Key Points Discussed:

1. Acknowledging the Stress of Transition

2. Identifying Why You’re Stuck

3. Overcoming Transition Challenges

4. Creating Your Career Map

5. Navigating Mind Drama

6. Take Action


Stay tuned for more episodes where we continue to explore strategies and insights to help you transition smoothly into a fulfilling civilian career.

Hey sis, welcome to Beyond the Military Podcast, where faith led military women overcome burnout and create more balance. Just imagine having enough time to focus on your faith, family, and have more fun while still serving as a woman leader. In this podcast, you will walk away with the tools to help you navigate the busy life of a military woman, organize your mind, overcome overwhelm, create a prioritization playbook, and a balanced blueprint for integrating faith, family, and career. Yeses in that order. Hi, I’m Wendy Wray, woman of God, wife, mama of two, army veteran, and certified life coach. And I’m here to help you create a life of meaning outside of the military, a life of laughter, joy, and intentional free time. If you are ready to overcome burnout and create balance as a faith led military woman, sis, this podcast is for you. So loosen up your laces and grab your coffee because it’s time to step into freedom and peace. Hello. Hello. Welcome to the LinkedIn live. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Wendy Wray, and I’m a career coach, and I help military women with their military transition into the civilian sector. So, today we are talking all about identifying your career. role into the civilian sector. So before I start sharing I want to say that it’s okay. If you have no idea what you want to do when you get out of the military, I just want you to take a deep breath and just know that it’s a difficult and it’s a stressful situation that we go through, especially as women, because we are still trying to figure out what role we’re going to play when we transition. For those of you that. Are moms, for those of you that are recently married or maybe just looking to get into a serious relationship or take that next step in your relationship, trust me, it’s difficult because now you are taking a step back and really considering what you’re What is your role in this next adventure in this next chapter? So I’m excited to share with you not only what I know, but also how I help the women that I’ve helped so far, and just want to continue to share tips and just key things that I know are beneficial for you, regardless of where you are in your transition. So, Identifying your ideal career role. I’m super excited on what you’ll learn here today. First, we’re going to really identify why you are stuck. And this is, this is key. And then we’re going to explore how do we begin. And then two, we’re going to learn how to deal with the drama. Deal with the drama. And this is also very important because Ladies, I get it. I not only continue to get the mind drama, all these thoughts that come when I’m doing something different or when I’m getting ready to pivot in my career or in my life, it happens. And I just want to continue to let you know that it’s okay. And it’s completely normal. And so my promise to you today, and you know, like material sergeant here is saying with the hand, with the finger for you to be encouraged to pick at least one role. Because I know most of the time we get lost in the options that are out there. There’s so many things available, which is a great thing, right? But at the same time, we also want to be careful and not get sucked in into all the opportunities and just start focusing on one. And that’s my promise to you to feel encouraged to just go with one and really get started with your journey. And so, again, let’s address the elephant in the room. Why is it stressful? Like, is it just me, Wendy, or is everybody else going through this? What’s happening here? And one of the reasons is because we have a lack of direction. We’re like, where do I begin? Where do I go? Where can I actually start? Where’s my map? Where’s my blueprint? Where are my orders on how to do this? And we don’t have that. And so it becomes stressful. All of that creates stress, overwhelm, frustration, and that is one of the reasons why we continue to compound the stress. The next thing is that we become indecisive. I mean, let’s face it. We’re leaders, right? We’ve been trying to make decisions in the most stressful times, but when it comes time to our career, when it comes time to deciding on what we have to offer, we then get again bombarding, bombarded with, you know, maybe I should do this. Maybe I should go as a project manager. Maybe I should just go and get my degree. Maybe I should just take a break or take a pause. Or maybe I should think about this when I’m three months out, six months out. And so again, we’re in, in decision mode and we keep changing our career paths. So then we’re, we’re stuck, right? We’re, we’re stressed, we’re stressed and we’re stuck or overwhelmed and we’re stuck. And then the last thing is that we forget to focus We focus on our value and instead of we focus on the self doubt and I’m here to remind you that your value that you have to offer is way bigger, way bigger than the value that you have to offer the experience, the skills, the leadership that you bring to the table. And so these are the main three reasons why we feel stuck and sometimes don’t even want to consider or think about the opportunities. What careers could be out there for us because of these three things. Again, it’s lack of direction, indecision. And then our insecurity, our self doubt, and so we’re feeling stressed. We get stuck. We then feel unqualified. We get unmotivated. And this is why we’re here, right? And I want to applaud you for taking the first step and joining me today, because that means that you want to continue to learn about the possibilities that are out there, or how you can even get started. And so, if this is you, let me know which one really kind of resonates more with you. You know, are you feeling stuck? Comment number one, two, if you’re feeling unqualified or three, you’re just unmotivated. And it’s okay. Like, listen, I was all of these three at one point in time. I literally waited 90 days when I was 90 days out from my terminal leave from me actually like last day of wearing my uniform to start even considering roles. I had no idea what I wanted to do because I was I felt unqualified and I felt unmotivated because it was the resources that I had at the moment were minimal because I wasn’t doing any research. I wasn’t reaching out. I wasn’t taking any first steps. And so again, I, I want you to know that it’s okay. This is normal. If you’re feeling this, it’s completely normal because again, we don’t look for, you know, what career role would really be a best fit for me. So we don’t, we don’t do that. We then don’t network, right? Cause we’re like, Oh my gosh, what am I going to say? I have no idea what I’m going to do. And then the question that we get a lot when we’re networking is what are you going to do when you get out of the military? And it becomes, again, overwhelming because you’re this leader, you’re a commander or a first sergeant or a platoon sergeant, a platoon leader, and you sometimes think that this is something that you should already have ready or prepared. And again, I want to remind you that it’s okay if you’re not there yet. But in order for us to make progress and have some direction, we want to be able to understand how we can keep moving forward. And that begins with identifying at least one career role. And that’s what we’re going to be doing today for you to then start deciding on other On how you can then participate on other network activities, other networking events, prepare that resume and apply, right? Like that’s the goal for you to start applying and getting out there. So now let’s take time to learn how we can create. This career map or this map that is going to be specific to you, identifying the role that speaks to you in a way where you’re going to want to continue to explore similar roles with different companies, different industries, where you are wanting and excited to start networking and get to learn more about that specific position or that role. So I want you to start with where you are now. Not Where you were 10 years ago, five years ago, before you had a kid or, you know, before you went through a divorce, like, I want you to start where you are now. And by that, I mean, what career field do you desire to pursue as of today? Not last week, not last year, but as of today. And this is important because we want to be able to understand where we are. We want to be honest with ourselves. I wasn’t. I’m like, Oh, I’m just going to go and, you know, be a HR HR, like individual, like I’m just gonna go to HR. Like, that was my first thing, but I really didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to pursue anything specific in HR. And at the time I didn’t know enough because I wasn’t doing my research to learn that I loved doing other things that involved organization that involve just taking care of tasks. Right. And so I want you to identify. What is it? And the example that I’m going to use today is an example that’s been inspired through a woman that helped with her LinkedIn profile. We were doing an audit and she talked about what she desired to do in this moment. Although she had education and certifications that really didn’t really help her to pursue that desire. And so the example is being a speaker and a, or a facilitator. So anything that involves speaking and for her, it was more so, you know, how can I get there with what I have, the experience and the skills that I have. And it’s so important to be honest from the get go, because. The last thing you want to do is start this new opportunity. Now you’re stuck within the first six months and you’re like, okay, this is not what I wanted. I’m in this HR role, completely hate it. I did this in the military. This is why I left the military because I didn’t like it. And by the way, that was not my case. I just want to say that upfront. I loved being an HR adjutant general in the army. It was the best opportunity for me, blessed to be able to do that and handle. You know actual actions that we’re going to help soldiers and paratroopers and, and their families. And so, you know, what is it for you? Right? Are you doing a job now that you’re like, I completely dislike, or this is not what I want to do in the next 5 years. I want to grow in a different industry or in a different career field. And so if that’s the case, I want you to be honest and identify that. What is it for you? Is it marketing? Is it being a speaker, a facilitator, training? What is it for you specifically? Or do you just want to be in the leadership role? That’s okay too. If you just want to continue to be a leader, be in a management position, That is perfect. Identify that. And then the next thing I want you to do is to identify the education and the top skills, at least three that will help you not only grow like get into that role, but grow into that role as well, into that career for the next three to five years. So again, the example that I like to give is the one that I just brought up about the young lady that wants to go into a marketing opportunity. I’m sorry, a facilitator opportunity but has a marketing certificate. She’s has gotten a lot of certifications in the marketing field. And so now what can we do with that? Right? No degree. We have certification. So write down the certifications. And if you do have a degree, write that down too. And then I want you to identify the technical skills. That will align with that. And so here, I just a lot of the common ones are project management website design. That a lot of individuals are getting because it’s something that interests them. And so, again, for this specific individual, we had a project management certification. We had website design and then for the transferable skills, we have leadership management communication. And so. Now, with this information alone, and again, depending on what it is for you, I want you to just stay with me here and focus on the technical skills that you bring. Is this something that you have already been certified? Is this something that you’re looking to get certified in? Or maybe you haven’t even looked at all the certifications that are required for this, but I still want you to write it down. So if it’s being a marketing manager, you know, what do you, what certifications could help you or anything that you’ve done in the military can help you for this role? And then of course, if it’s a manager position, Then, you know, you have experience. What experiences can you identify and write down based on your own personal military career? Were you a platoon sergeant? Were you a platoon leader? Were you a first sergeant, a commander? What is it that you can bring here? Are you a great communicator? Of course you are. Are you a problem solver? Anything that will help you to get to that specific role. And so when you’ve identified, let’s say it’s to be a marketing manager, you may not be a facilitator right away, but this could be a stepping stone into the future three to five years. As a speaker, as a facilitator, because now you’re going into a marketing opportunity as a marketing manager. And again, I’m just using this example, you have to, you know, work on here specifically. I know a lot of us have a lot of experience with project management, operations, planning, speaking, training. Training is a big one. Maybe you want to be a facilitator. In a specific industry, whatever it may be, just pick one role. And again, the role that we’re going with here is just facilitator. And when you do that, I want you to identify the gap, identify exactly what is it that you need. Do you need maybe a master’s in that specific field, communications, marketing? Do you need a bachelor’s? Do you need, you know, a project management certification? Do you need an HR certification? Do you need a certification in cyber security? What is it that you need to help you fill that gap? And then here comes the mind drama. And this is what I mean about having mind drama, having, you know, the self doubt creep in. Your brain doesn’t want you to limit yourself to one opportunity. Because that’s what happens every single time that you try to identify just one opportunity. In one company, your mind’s like, wait a minute. Why are we limiting ourselves to one opportunity? Let’s not do that. Let’s keep looking at other roles, but I just want you to stay with me for this exercise. Just pick one and just allow the self doubt to come up. You know, you’re not qualified. Or, you know, you don’t have what it takes to be a marketing manager. You don’t communicate, you don’t know how to communicate with civilians. All of these things are going to come up, but I want you to be able to do this over and over again. Because if you can do it with one, you can do it with other roles. And that’s what’s going to help you get to identifying one that works specifically for you. And what we’re doing here is we’re training our brain. You’re going to be training your brain to trust in your future self concept. Meaning in the future leadership or opportunity that you’ll be in. The marketing manager, right? Going back to the marketing manager. Believing and trusting in this new identity. Because that’s another big thing that I’ve found in us women that we have a hard time even picturing ourselves going into an office in a different new attire and just picturing ourselves that we are going to be able to just fit and get right into it. It’s hard. Trust me. It was hard for me. And at the time I was hybrid, I was going into the office only like once or twice a week. And so it’s going to be difficult, but we want to train the brain. Okay. Marketing manager. What am I going to be doing? I want you to go to the roles and responsibilities of that marketing manager. Identify exactly, exactly what you need in order to fill that gap, because you’re going to start to train your brain and your future self concept and that marketing manager that you want to be. And then you’re training your brain to be willing to start over and do this all over again. Okay, maybe marketing manager is not, not what I want. Let’s go and consider some project management roles with the marketing team. Maybe that will work. So let’s go explore that. You’re going to do it all over again. And it’s going to take time. And that’s the one thing that our brain doesn’t like to do. Our brain does not get motivated by effort. By pain or anything that isn’t pleasurable. So it’s going to be a different skill that you need to continue to build. And you do that by training your brain by doing it all over again. And the last thing that you’re training your brain to do is to have discipline to manage the thoughts that you’re having about you and your new career in this new chapter. It’s going to be stressful. It’s going to be overwhelming to not figure out exactly what you want, but you will only learn as you continue to look at these roles as you continue to explore these opportunities. Because the self doubt will be there and I want to remind you that it’s okay. It’s okay if you are feeling self doubt now, it’s normal. Lean into it and continue to do this and be aware of what’s happening in your brain. Because then when you do, you feel encouraged to move in a direction. You’re then working on other qualifications. You’re looking at certifications. You’re looking at different industries, different companies. And when you do that, now you’re like, okay, now I feel confident, at least some confidence. Thanks. To focus on a resume, to focus on really leaning in and putting time and effort into my resume. How can I make my resume exciting? How can I do this? And how can I prepare for an interview, right? Instead of avoiding it and not saying that you have any time, that you don’t have any time to do this. Now you’re going to feel encouraged to focus on these things. Because that’s what happens. And today I want to invite you to keep showing up. I want you to feel excited about this professional journey that you’re embarking. It’s, it’s a transition. It’s a career pivot. Yes. But at the end of the day, this is something that I know and believe that you are going to continue to achieve, to do well, to do great, because we’re so good at adaptability, being adaptable and flexible and resilient. And listen, if this is something that you’re like, Wendy, I need accountability. I need somebody to help me take a step into figuring this out because you do have limited time, right? And there are so many unknowns out there. I’m your gal. I’m here to help you with Identify your career role, help you with your LinkedIn profile, how to begin networking on LinkedIn, how to begin networking in person. This is something that I help women do, help you build your confidence and take that step and get serious with your transition, making exciting. Get you into that role that is going to set you up for success, not only now, but also in the future. And if you’re listening as a recording, send me a direct message, with the word career, and I’m happy to help you. All right, have a beautiful rest of your day. Hey lady, if this podcast helped you, challenged you or inspired you in some way, please leave me a written review for the show on Apple Podcasts and share it with another military sister. Helping you integrate balance, prioritization and growth in your relationship with God is my ultimate calling. I’m so blessed that you are here and please join us in the faith led military women community on Facebook at bit. ly forward slash beyond the military GRP. Again, it is. Bitly beyond the military GRP. All right. Talk to you soon. Bye