A Chat with Military Spouse: Nicole Hempeck

An understanding of diverse, personal journeys helps us become more flexible and empathetic, which can lead to better trusting your staff to power your business. People who feel they can bring their whole selves into the workplace are generally more engaged, loyal, and innovative. At Projectline, we advocate for these qualities.

If you’ve read my previous blogs you know my focus is on transitioning military personnel, veterans, and military spouses into the workforce. I am proud to introduce Projectline employee, Nicole Hempeck, who is a military spouse and fierce in pursuing her career. In the following Q&A, she shares her journey and how the future of work has positively impacted her. We hope this insight encourages you to become aware of the military spouse group – an incredible, determined, and loyal candidate pool.

Q: Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background and role at Projectline.

A: I’m married to a military guy and we have three kids. I have worked in marketing for about eight and a half years. Today, I work as a Partner Marketing Advisor for my client through Projectline. My role includes advising and supporting partners with marketing strategy and running programmatic offerings like email, webinars, social media, and educational paths to help support and empower partner business growth.

Q: How has remote flexibility impacted your career?

A: While balance as a working, military spouse and parent can be elusive, remote work has helped me get as close to “balanced” as possible. Remote work has opened opportunities with companies I might otherwise never have had the chance to work with, which is such an amazing gift. As companies become more remote-friendly and technologies continue to develop supporting a virtual office, I have been able to see a natural progression within my field because my location isn’t a hindrance. My role as a military spouse means I have little control over where I live. When employers insist on in-office employees only, they eliminate a whole network of potential talent, but the tide is turning which is very encouraging.

Q: Can you tell us about struggles finding success in the business world before Projectline?

A: Trust is a big factor in remote work, and it can be hard for employers to feel confident without having a person in-house every day. While it is on the employee to work hard to build that trust and show their value and ability to meet expectations, there are times it just doesn’t truly come together and that can be a big challenge to the working relationship. Sadly, I have had to leave a couple of roles due to the realization that a remote employee just wasn’t a good fit for the company involved, which is never a decision I like to make. Family priorities will always come first, so sometimes those hard choices have to be made.

Projectline is an amazing advocate for remote flexibility and all their clients are educated on the benefits of allowing this staffing model. Clients benefit from a larger talent pool, and for the military spouse community, we can nurture our personal goals and careers while still prioritizing service alongside our active duty spouse. If it were not for remote opportunities, I would be very limited in my personal career growth and likely go through lengthy periods of unemployment.

Q: What would you recommend to another military spouse who is looking to invigorate their career?

A: There are a few things:

  • Patience. Don’t assume you can’t work if you want to work. Many career paths do not require you to be in-office to find success. If remote work is appealing to you, then be patient, do your research, and wait for a good fit. Find a consulting firm like Projectline to help navigate employers who are remote-friendly and to ensure you get a fair compensation package.
  • Chip away. If you’re new to a field, start off taking freelance roles, one-off projects, and looking at entry-level roles that will give you experience and exposure to the various opportunities you can work your way into over time. Look for mentors who can guide you and tackle online training from a reputable source like LinkedIn Learning.
  • Build relationships. Start networking with others in your field of choice through social media—Facebook groups and LinkedIn groups are amazing for this. Look at local organizations that provide networking opportunities and attend those events. Talk about what you want to do within your network—you never know who might have a lead for you.
  • Know your value. It can be hard to ask for what you want and what you are worth, but when you are given a fair compensation package it’s better for all involved. Remote work doesn’t have to equal less compensation.
  • Build your online profile. As you work to build relationships, tackle freelance projects, and take on roles, make sure to document this through your LinkedIn profile. As you finish projects or short-term roles, ask your clients for a reference. Those blurbs on LinkedIn give a potential client or employer an additional view of your work ethic, expertise, and successes, which will add to their confidence in bringing you on.

The bulk of my career happened because of the relationships I have developed over the years. I joined groups, attended in-person events, and was willing to be mentored and mentor others.  Because I was originally out of the field, I had to gradually work my way into Marketing Management, but that didn’t happen without connecting, relationship building, training, and patience. I was literally starting from scratch and had to chip away at my goals. I made it a point to attend conferences where I could interact with and learn from other women like myself looking to build a career alongside raising and supporting their families. At the start, conferences that were aimed at moms who were freelancers, social media managers and influencers like Mom 2.0, and BlogHer were where I landed. They were a natural place to start early on in my career. As I look back, I can tell you that this face time with other professionals and businesses was integral to my career growth.

I attended Writer’s Conferences in my local area to hone my craft and extend my knowledge base. I am part of Facebook groups like Courage to Earn, which is filled with freelancers and strong women who are all about support, learning, and empowerment. Additionally, I use LinkedIn Learning to help me stay on top of core marketing principles and trends. I never jumped on massive communities and conferences, I often felt lost in the mix. Smaller communities and real connections are what led to my success in building a career from scratch, and quite frankly made the journey more fun and enjoyable.

Q: What were the biggest challenges in finding the right role?

A: The biggest challenge for me has been finding a role where the greater team is supportive and comfortable with the remote employee. Often the lack of trust or assumptions of how a remote person works can chip away at the flow of a team, lead to micromanagement issues, and the result is less progress on the bigger picture goals of the entire team. Thankfully, most of my roles have not had this struggle, but for those that have, it’s been a big challenge to overcome.

Before working at Projectline, I lacked real time off, had to travel, rarely had a benefit offering, and ended up being compensated on the lower end of the range within my field and for my level of expertise. Projectline advocates for fair compensation regardless of the remote element. They offer you paid time off, benefits, and ensure a scenario (in-office time vs. remote) that works for both you and the client. Additionally, they offer training, guidance, and support throughout your employment. There are resources consistently at your fingertips to foster growth in your career and ensure your success.

Q: Now that you’ve found a role that allows for remote work and flexibility, how is it going for you and your client?

A: The role I’m currently in has been a great fit. I have an easy rapport with the team and never feel stressed if I have to adjust my schedule. I am trusted and enjoy autonomy while also being a part of the greater team. The beginning was very much about learning the role, setting some new foundational practices, absorbing the goals of the greater team, and getting my bearings regarding my part of the larger team. Now, we’re diving into the bigger goals we have set which is making it a lot of fun as well.

Want to learn more about working with military spouses and veterans? Check out these blogs:

https://www.projectlineservices.com/hiring-veterans-how-to-bridge-the-gap/

https://www.projectlineservices.com/how-veteran-attributes-align-with-the-civilian-workforce/

https://www.projectlineservices.com/military-spouses-for-hire/