I married into the military with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, a Peace Corps stint, and years of experience in my toolbox. When we got stationed overseas less than a year after the wedding, I was overjoyed to continue expanding my career internationally. Once we arrived, I quickly learned that career opportunities for American military spouses in super-rural England were virtually non-existent – even with a loaded resume.
In case you’re unfamiliar, the military spouse unemployment rate is 24% (the country average is 3.6%) and the military spouse underemployment rate (finding work in the field in which you’re trained or that pays a living wage) is 70%. SEVENTY PERCENT. Despite most spouses being experienced, educated, trained or professionally certified, etc.
ENTER THE QUARTER-LIFE CAREER-IDENTITY CRISIS.
I took a job that paid less than half of what I was making stateside and began building my (art) business on the side. Within a year I was making more with the business than I was in the j-o-b so I put in my notice. I thought I was set and that it could only go up from there – especially since I could take the business with me everywhere the military moved us.
3 years later we were stationed stateside again and I slowly learned that wasn’t the case. The market was completely different – the things that brought in the most income overseas definitely didn’t in Texas. The next three years would be a rollercoaster. Struggle alongside intermittent abundance and elation, sleepless nights, and tears in the bathtub alongside the joy of having total creative freedom. It eventually became clear that if I wanted stability and consistency, I was going to have to return to the world of working for someone else and restructure the business into a passive model.
I started applying to jobs allllll over the place, thinking I wouldn’t have much trouble with my education, skills, and experience. I heard nothing but crickets for over a year. Cue more tears in the bathtub and yet another career-identity crisis.
Fortunately, I lived in a #milcity that loves and embraces the military community and learned that programs and resources and LOVE are abundant. I quickly found myself surrounded by amazing people that understood, that truly cared, and that had the tools and desire to help.
One night I found myself at a career networking event specifically for military spouses. One of the tables was labeled “Salesforce”, and I ignored it because I wasn’t interested in “Sales” – naïveté. When I came back by the table, there was this amazingly exuberant woman with a silver pixie cut and a colorful tattooed arm sharing her story. She too was a military spouse who came from the world of art and nonprofit, whose career was also completely upended when she married into the military. And now she was the happiest she’s ever been in her career, makes the money she deserves to make, AND it ACTUALLY goes with her when she has to move? Do. Tell.
Skye Tyler changed my life that day. I went home and signed up for Vetforce (now Salesforce Military) and Trailhead just like she told me to and I’ve been addicted ever since. Soon after meeting Skye, I attended my first #SalesforceSaturday with Nick Charles, a fabulously happy and generous vet whose life had also been changed, and that’s where I learned about Merivis.
Game changer. Here’s how it went down.
June: Met Skye Tyler
July: Attended my first #SalesforceSaturday, learned about Merivis from the amazing Nick Charles, and was accepted into Merivis soon after
August: Worked really hard, fully focusing on Trailhead and the Merivis homework. Graduated from Merivis and gained a huge amazing #ohana
September: Completed my Admin Certification. With the top-quality Salesforce training provided by Merivis, Trailhead, and the amazing practice exams through FocusOnForce, I passed my Admin exam on the first try!
October: Landed my first Salesforce role with a massive consulting company, making more money than I’ve ever made in my life and gaining another wonderful family
November: Achieved Trailhead Ranger status and was chosen to go to Dreamforce as part of the 2019 Dream Team Cohort with Vetforce (now Salesforce Military) and met ANOTHER wonderful new family!
March: Was recruited by Roycon as a Project Manager, gained yet another family, and I LOVE my job.
I NEVER WOULD HAVE IMAGINED ANY OF THIS LAST YEAR. IT’S BEEN AN INSANE AND AMAZING WHIRLWIND RIDE AND I KNOW IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING.
Not only is the training platform (Trailhead) completely free, it’s FUN. Like the most fun, I’ve ever had while working, aside from painting. On top of that, the pay is amazing.
And then there’s the community. It’s called the Salesforce Ohana, and it is REAL. I’ve never felt so connected to so many strangers in my life. The community, especially the military arm of the community, is like family. We’re all here for each other, cheering for each other, celebrating with each other, looking out for each other, even though the majority have never met in person. It’s like career utopia. Seriously.
THE #MERIVETS COMMUNITY TAKES IT TO ANOTHER LEVEL, AND THAT IS WHY I’M SHARING THIS STORY WITH YOU.
If you attended or watched the Opening Keynote of Dreamforce 2019, you’re already familiar with Merivis and the lives that have been impacted by what they provide for veterans and their spouses.
If you didn’t, please watch this short video to learn how this incredible volunteer led nonprofit changes lives, families, and careers of both veterans and military spouses and how they are empowering individuals to succeed in their civilian career.
Incredible, right? Since they launched their first cohort in 2016 they have grown from a group of all volunteers to an established nonprofit and expanded their programs, veterans’ services and training opportunities for people like me to get a chance at an incredible career in the Salesforce ecosystem. And what’s even better? Is that they’re still expanding and doing everything they can to reach and upskill more individuals like myself. Lives are literally being changed by this organization, mine included.
Learn more and find out how you can donate to Merivis HERE.
SO WHAT’S NEXT?
Well, I can definitely say that I’m currently the happiest I’ve ever been in a job. I love this company, this team, this work – every day is different and full of learning and development, and it’s FUN. I’m so excited to continue learning, stacking up certifications, meeting more of the Ohana, and lifting up other women into this awesomeness!
Emily Magone is a graduate of Seattle University (Masters of Executive Nonprofit Leadership) and Western Washington University (Human Services) with over a decade of domestic and international program and project management experience in the nonprofit and small business sectors. Emily is a small business owner herself and is a Certified Salesforce Administrator as well as an Associate Human Resources Professional, and military spouse of an active duty Air Force service member.