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Real Spouse Employment: Program Coordinator

Mattrice Williamson, Military Spouse Program Coordinator for Hiring Our Heroes
Mattrice Williamson, Military Spouse Program Coordinator for Hiring Our Heroes

Every once in a while, you meet someone really amazing. One of those people who just effuse awesomeness: Awesome mom. Awesome wife. Awesome at being a military spouse (which we know isn't always easy). And awesome at always, always helping.

That's Mattrice Williamson. After hearing about the job opening from her network of military spouses, Mattrice is now the Military Spouse Program Coordinator for Hiring Our Heroes. That means you and I get to benefit from her awesomeness every day. We asked her to tell us a little bit about herself, how she got to Hiring our Heroes, and how we can learn from her journey.

What do you like best about your job?

What I like most about my job is that I am able to help other military spouses like myself to pursue real life careers while maintaining a mobile lifestyle.

If you went to college, what was your major? Are you using it?

I graduated from college 20 years ago with a degree in psychology. I have definitely found my degree useful over the course of my journey as a military spouse.

How has being married to a service member impacted your own career? How did you get around that?

The most significant impact on my career has been the frequency in moves from one duty station to the next. I have to find creative ways of staying connected professionally, like community involvement, part-time jobs, and home-based businesses.

How does your service member support your career?

My support from my service member involves communication, hands-on help with household responsibilities and emotional encouragement. I could not do what I do without him.

What is the biggest career mistake you made?

Looking back over the 20 years and 13 moves, I would say that my biggest career mistake was not taking advantage of opportunities to enter an organization as an entry-level employee.

What one piece of advice would you give to military spouses who want to balance volunteer work and professional work?

Documentation. I found that after I would move and get settled in my new home, I couldn't remember all of the things I did at the last duty station. It was also helpful to have reference letters from the organizational leaders.

What are your favorite qualities in a co-worker?

Respect, integrity and dedication are all very important to me both personally and professionally. 

Have you ever told a prospective employer that you are a military spouse during the interview process? Do you think it affected the way you were reviewed as a candidate for the position?

Yes, I told an employer I was going to be moving within a year. I was not hired for the job. That was many years ago; I feel like times have changed with the implementation of military spouse's employment initiatives.

What was the hardest lesson you needed to learn about work?

The hardest lesson I had to learn was to accept the fact that I would always have to start over and that it would be OK and not the end of the world.

What keeps you working?

My passion for living a meaningful life and to somehow pay it forward to others who walk in the milspouse's shoes every day.

What is your favorite work quote?

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." -- Maya Angelou

What is your version of happily ever after?

Happily ever after would be me and my BFF (spouse) living somewhere warm with our three children making frequent visits, enjoying the life we built together.

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