Angela Eaves. On finding herself, and unicorns.

Angela Eaves is proof that you don’t need to be just a ‘military spouse’ or ‘mummy’. You can regain your sense of purpose and not have it impact on the life you have built. Working through AMS for Atos as a Resource Specialist, Angela says she is so proud to ‘find a unicorn amongst a herd of wild horses’. Read her story here.

What is your career background?

Originally, I studied at University College London and trained as an architect but after 5 years studying and a few years with an international design firm, I decided it wasn’t for me.  During my career break, I fell into a customer service job with a big gift experience company and realised that I loved helping people.  After I met my husband, I changed jobs due to his postings with the army, and I worked for a utility company, helping customers in debt and also, a domestic violence charity, helping victims of domestic abuse.  In between all of this, I’ve had an acting career too, with some tv roles; I suppose you could say that my career path has been far from conventional!

Why did you approach Recruit for Spouses?

After being a stay at home parent for a couple of years, I wanted to return to regular work and to focus back on my career.  Once my two daughters were slightly older, I did start working as front of house for a wedding venue and a catering company too but the work was irregular, during unsocial hours and with little career progression.  My friend told me about RfS and it was like a breath of fresh air to hear that someone out there backed military wives and partners, and they believed in our value.

Can you explain about the process you undertook with RFS?

I emailed RfS, sent them my CV, followed them online and joined the members forum too.  Within a short space of time, RfS had posted about a “Liquid Work Force Academy” with Alexander Mann Solutions and my email of interest was sent.  I didn’t expect to hear anything back but I got a phone call that same day and I was on the list for the first cohort to be trained as a Resource Specialist.  It all sounded very exciting and promising, and it all happened so quickly too.  Within a couple of weeks, I started my training with a great bunch of wives in a similar situation.  We didn’t know what to expect and what we would gain from it but we were all grateful to be taking part in this new training opportunity with an industry leader.  I learnt so much from the Liquid Work Force Academy, met a fantastic group of ladies who I’m still in contact with now and more importantly, I felt empowered afterwards.

Can you briefly explain the job you do?

I’m a Resource Specialist who works remotely, providing support during the whole recruitment life cycle, sourcing and screening candidates, working closely with hiring managers, building a network of talent, and providing a positive candidate experience from the initial application stage, to interview, to post offer.  One day, I can be working on various customer service roles and the next day, I’m on the hunt for an Automation & Artificial Intelligence Consultant – I love the variation and how no two days are the same.  Also, a big perk of the job is when you call someone to tell them the good news, that they’ve been successful at interview and they’ve been offered the job.

What challenges did you face when undertaking your job search?

Outside of RfS, I’d had a challenging job search!  I landed an office job that offered great career progression, but the hours didn’t suit our family in the long term, so I had to turn that down.  I got another job offer soon after which was mainly home based with some office hours and I thought I’d found the ideal job which worked around the family and my husband’s army career.  Unfortunately, the company started to question my childcare arrangements when my husband was away, even though there was no reason to question it and the job offer was withdrawn.  I was so disheartened because I knew I could do the job; I flew through the various interview stages and I performed the best role play that the manager had seen.  The situation had flipped because the company couldn’t see what I could offer, instead they just focused on something that wouldn’t be considered if I wasn’t a military spouse.

What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment so far is getting recognised for sourcing a candidate who had the hard to find “desirables” on the job description list and filling that position – I like to think that I found a unicorn amongst a herd of wild horses!

Why is being in work so important to you?

For a good few years, I’ve been known as a wife and a mum only, and at times, I’ve felt like people have forgotten my name and what I can do outside of parenting and household duties!  Being back at work has restored my self-worth, and I believe in my ability and what I can bring to a company; also, we have another topic of conversation around the dinner table.

What difference has being back in work made to you?

Surprisingly, I feel energized, even though I’m doing more in a day.  I love waking up and having something to go to after the school drop off and I love how my girls can see that mum works too.  The extra income has helped with family holidays and I no longer feel guilty about spending money on meals out or family outings.  Also, I treated myself to an all singing and all dancing cordless vacuum cleaner with my first wage; it doesn’t get more rock and roll than that!

As a military spouse, what has been your biggest obstacle when trying to balance work/kids/your spouses’ military commitments?

The biggest obstacle has been finding a job that fits around a military family and finding a company that values military spouses.  There is such an outdated perception that we’re not loyal and committed in the work place.  With the job that I’m doing now, there isn’t much of a balancing act to be honest, only a small one during school holidays but otherwise, my company totally understands my situation, they work around my available hours and it all fits so well together and I really do count myself lucky, every working day of the week.

What advice would you give fellow Military spouses who want to get back into work, retrain for a new career or start their own business?

Get in contact with RfS; Heledd and her team offer so much support and advice, and I wish more military spouses knew about them. Also, please don’t undervalue yourself; as a military spouse we have so many transferable skills and values that we’re not immediately aware of.  During my training at the AMS Liquid Academy, our trainer was taken aback by what a strong, resilient, versatile, supportive bunch we were and it’s these values that you can’t learn or pick up.