What kind of a success career route takes you from having a GS-13 legal professional process in Washington, D.C., to turning into a GS-6 govt assistant to, ultimately, is confirmed using the Senate as the chairman of the Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)?
An army partner one, of course. And while it wasn’t traditional, BVA Chairman and previous Air Force partner Cheryl Mason does value her adventure for the tools it gave her to help military spouses working in her organization now and the lessons it taught her alongside the manner.
Mason’s tenacity in pursuing her desires while also balancing the demands of being an army partner provide some high-quality existence instructions for profession-minded spouses trying to do the same nowadays.
It’s the way to that existence experience — blended with her function on the BVA, wherein she manages nearly 1,000 federal employees set to manner approximately 90,000 veteran score appeals this year — that Mason has been capable of installed vicinity army spouse-pleasant employment regulations.
For example, military spouse lawyers who’ve been with the employer more than a yr can practice to take their role faraway, getting rid of the want to discover a new activity or retake the bar exam when they flow. And the BVA is the most effective part of the VA that has joined the Defense Department’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership and made a pledge to lease spouses.
So what training does Mason need to skip on? Here are her excellent pointers.
1. Look at career demanding situations — even disappointing ones — as possibilities.
When Mason accompanied her Air Force husband to Germany, she changed into pressured to depart her process as a BVA lawyer in D.C. With no legal professional positions open at their new OCONUS duty station, she had to make a hard desire: Stay out of the paintings force or take a secretarial activity. She selected the job.
“My recommendation: Challenges are possibilities to decide how you want to have that impact to your life,” she said. “Especially navy, but I think all of us in ultra-modern global, you get to outline what your career seems like, and that’s a large deal. … What I would advise is, while you see challenges and you’ve got those things and it is no longer operating such as you want, search for opportunities to peer ‘what I can examine or how can I develop on this activity? If I take this function, what’s it going to allow me to do?'”
It turned into that attitude that allowed her to use the executive assistant function to not just fill her time, but lend her treasured lifestyles experience in the running with humans or even handling contracts as they got here across her desk.
“Sometimes, you do ought to take a step backward to head forward due to what you may research,” she said.
2. Remember that navy lifestyles happen in seasons.
As their time in Germany got here to a close, Mason and her husband sat down to speak about their subsequent circulate. To give her a shot at a profession, they selected to go returned to D.C. With a small toddler, her task hunt there had special priorities than it had before she had a family. And while their 2d infant became born, matters have become even extra complex.
That supposed she needed to balance her new priorities with her desire for a hit profession — and say “no” to things that weren’t the proper fit for that time.
“I think you have to take existence as seasons,” she stated. “Each part of your life is a season, and so while we are elevating our children, that became a season.”
She chose a function that wasn’t the entirety she dreamed but did provide her the ability to commit time to her own family. Then, while her youngsters were older, she shifted cognizance returned to her profession.
“It’s about figuring it out, defining the life which you need, and figuring out and trusting that there may be other opportunities to grow yourself,” she stated. “But you have to parent out what that looks like. If you just sit down and wait; it is now not going to work.”
Three. Learn to make difficult choices through conversation.
As Mason’s profession stepped forward, she and her husband confronted a decision: Attempt to stability very disturbing career fields with a family, or permit one determine to step back. After searching at their options, they decided her husband would leave energetic responsibility after greater than 14 years to sign up for the Air Force Reserve and take a civilian activity. That allows Mason to shift her attention from family to activity.
Making that choice became tough, she said, however, thanks to the proper conversation they have been able to choose the right route for their circle of relatives.
“I suppose for all and sundry drawing close that, that’s what they need to look at: This is such a massive lifestyles selections, and you need to do it collectively. You can not do it one by one,” she said. “Sometimes they get their turn, and once in a while you get your flip, but you need to parent out a way to balance it.”