Make it WORK Monday: Amanda Orsi

Making it WORK is an ongoing series about people who move with their spouse’s career and still create a way for themselves to stay involved in their own profession and interests. We hope this series helps and, more importantly, inspires you! If you have a story you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you! Email us

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your family (furbabies count, too!).

My name is Amanda (but friends call me Mandy) and I have been a “trailing spouse” since 2013. Since then, we have made quite the rounds within the country, moving from Pittsburgh, Pa. to Denver, Colo., to New Jersey and all the way down to Bowling Green, Ky.,where we currently live and will reside until (presumably) July 2016. Our almost 3-year-old labradoodle, Emerson, is along for the ride with us, enjoying every stop within the journey. My husband, Zack, keeps the positive energy flowing with each move and his love for his job is ever-apparent, making the decision to be an “on-the-road” family much easier.

2. Why did you choose the profession you did? How were you working before you began moving? Why was it important to you to not give it up, even with moving around?

I have found the expression, “I didn’t choose my profession, my profession chose me” to be extremely true and relevant in my life (as I think most teachers would agree). I knew at a young age I would pursue becoming a high school English teacher and eventually obtain a master’s degree to explore higher-education teaching as well. Sure

Amanda’s home office in one of their homes.

enough, as Zack’s dream was falling into place in 2013 with his first move with Kiewit, mine was also beginning with the completion of my Masters of Education in June of that year. Little did I know how much that would positively impact my job search once we made the decision to sell our home and become nomads together.

Jumping back to 2010, I was fortunate to be hired as a high school English teacher in a suburban school district in Pittsburgh the year I graduated with my bachelor’s degree. In 2012, I decided to begin my classes to obtain a master’s degree while still teaching at the high school. In December of 2013, I made the decision to resign at holiday break and make the move to Denver with Zack, who had been there since July. It wasn’t until September of 2014 when an online teaching opportunity presented itself. Until then, I was a nanny for a wonderful family with two girls in Denver, which was also a very enjoyable and rewarding job.

It was extremely important to me to not give up my career when moving around. I believe this is because teaching is part of who I am, not just a means of income. It is fulfilling to me to work and do what I love.

3. Why do you think you are able to be successful in your career despite your moves? Tell us a little about how you make your career work for you in the moves!

The biggest factor that makes this job successful despite the many moves is the fact that it is a remote position. As long as I have a quiet space with high-speed Internet, my job is possible. Traveling also gives me valuable insight to share with my students and also enables me to relate to them more since they all come from very different cultural and geographical backgrounds.

4. How did you find your employer? What do you think made you so valuable and why the employer wanted to hire you?

In this case, my employer found me! I was happily nannying while also applying for teaching positions. I was mostly searching for remote or work-from-home opportunities, given the nature of our lives, on Oddly, I had never come across the academy that eventually contacted me, asking if I would be interested in a phone interview. It is an online ESL (English as a Second Language) academy for adults with various levels of English speaking and writing abilities. I had much experience with ESL students at the high school level, and that experience thankfully helped tremendously as I transitioned into working with adults.

I believe my supervisor viewed me as a valuable member of their academy because of my positive, upbeat personality and ability to maintain patience and creativity with difficult situations (such as the oftentimes challenging language barrier).

5. How has moving helped you be more successful in your profession? What are some lessons you’ve learned with doing your career in different cities?

Looking at this lifestyle as an adventure as opposed to a burden is key, not only when thinking about how it affects your profession, but also when looking at the effects of it on your life overall. This attitude will help you be more successful all-around.

Since I have been teaching online, we have lived in three different time zones, so I have learned how to adjust my schedule when my time zone is changing, but my students’ time zones are not.

6. What is some advice for a spouse who is wanting to still work even with moving around?

The most fitting situation for a working spouse would be to find a job that is remote and able to be done at a distance. However, if the line of work makes that impossible, a letter of recommendation from former employers could have a great impact on potential new employers. It would be helpful for them to hear from a company who has already experienced that spouse’s situation and need to leave, and why it ended up being a wise and wonderful choice to hire them anyway.

In addition, during the interview, trying to put a positive spin on moving around could be inspiring to a new employer. A spouse could explain how the different people, experiences, and procedures learned at previous companies has made them multi-faceted and able to “bring more to the table” at a new place.

7. What would you say to potential employers about hiring people who move around with their spouse’s job?

Give them a chance! There is little more value than the experiences that new employees bring with them, and there is something to be said about a well-traveled person. I think as long as the spouse is able to explain the situation surrounding their sudden resignations and relocations, the employer will understand that this is not a professional flaw, but rather an opportunity for them to gain a new employee with a fresh perspective.

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