Balancing Work and Life as a Cleared Professional

Career Advice

For most working parents, life is already a carefully choreographed balancing act. But as an analyst for Booz Allen Hamilton‘s Space Security and Defense Program, it’s safe to that say that Shana Millspaugh takes it to another level. The military wife and mother of four explained that it often means a constant juggling act – but it is a life she truly loves.

“I’m doing exactly what I wanted to do,” Shana told ClearanceJobs, and jokingly added, “I actually dreamt of being in the FBI. I’m an analyst today, which is exactly what I was hoping for, and the work that we actually do [at Booz Allen] impacts our national security, which is important to me. Again, I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to be doing.”

While her path took some unique turns along the way, she’s the first to tell you that Booz Allen has definitely been supportive in helping her reach her career and life goals.

The Path to Success

Shana will be the first to admit that her hiring journey has been a little different from most. It began when her husband made the transition from active duty United States Air Force to the reserves and took a position with Booz Allen as a contractor.

“I was finishing up my master’s degree and there was a temporary position; one of the company’s principals needed an EA,” Shana told ClearanceJobs. “I was able to get in as a contractor, and after eight months I was brought on as a full-time employee.”

Prior to starting her master’s studies, Shana had been a paralegal and legal investigator, but eventually decided that working with a government contractor would be a way to help support the country and military. And as a mother of four, she was attracted to Booz Allen’s flexible, family-friendly culture. In fact, the company has been listed as one of Working Mother magazine’s “Best Companies” for 18 years running.

“One of the best parts of working at Booz Allen Hamilton has been the flexible schedule,” explained Shana. “I’m able to work from home when I have a sick kid. The company was also supportive during our adoption process as well, which gave us extra time in our schedule to go to the social worker and counseling appointments, as well as meeting with the court.”

She added that it is one of the company’s core values helping its employees maintain work-life balance.

Staying With the Company

Given the support that Booz Allen provided to Shana, it isn’t hard to see why she has stayed with the company. But staying with a great company can still be a challenge if there isn’t room to move up the ladder or follow a different interest. After being with the company for four years, Shana said she realized she reached the point where it was time to take on a new challenge. She spoke to the director of her program and discussed options, which included leaving Booz Allen. Instead, the company opted to help her find that next challenge. Her leadership created a position where Shana could grow and learn.

“I was offered the chance to do something different,” she explained. “I’ve always been very analytical, and as a paralegal I was also an investigator, and digging into interesting facts and important details has always appealed to me. So [working in] intel was perfect for that.”

“Booz Allen Hamilton has been so supportive of me throughout my career,” she noted. “They brought me on as a contractor and found me a position that suits my skill set. They’ve got great benefits and I’ve felt supported as a parent. They are just a great company all over.”

While Shana realizes that not everyone gets to work for such a supportive employer, she offered advice for those who are job hopping or looking for the “right career fit.”

“Definitely find a job that meets your skill set first,” she suggested. “A lot of times people will just see a job and say, ‘I can do that’ without really understanding the position. But it turns out that they are not actually fit for the position.”

For those coming out of the military she offered a bit more insight: “There are probably 10 different companies that work with military personnel to help you engage with companies looking to hire.”

As someone who’s managed to pursue her career goals, maintain a happy family for over 20 years, and win a silver medal in weight lifting, you can trust Shana’s advice; she knows a thing or two about success.

 

If you’re looking for successful work-life balance like Shana’s, you can check out these cleared job openings at Booz Allen.

Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at petersuciu@gmail.com.

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