We have been on the MAVAN journey for less than a year, and in that short time, we have already faced our fair share of obstacles that have required us to step back, pause, and refocus on why we are doing this. We did not start MAVAN because we thought it would be easy. We did not start MAVAN because we were bored and thought being an entrepreneur sounded neat. We were called to start MAVAN based on our own personal experiences and the realization that we could help hundreds, thousands, oh think bigger, millions of other women like us. We started MAVAN to make an impact; to help military spouses attain occupational fulfillment and reclaim their professional identities. This is why we exist. We are not here to do the easy thing; we are here to do the right thing.
The massive obstacle we have faced recently is not knowing what happens if our virtual assistant employees, our Mavans, are given orders to PCS (i.e. move) overseas. Is that still considered U.S. soil for payroll tax purposes? Do we need additional insurance coverage? Do we owe the country they are based in some sort of fee or tax? We have researched, tapped our network, asked a Ouija Board and still can’t find a clear cut answer. It has been frustrating. And time consuming. However, we have not given up because in order to achieve our mission, we really, really don’t want to have to tell Mavans they can no longer work for us if they get PCS’d overseas. That totally goes against our mission of helping military spouses maintain a career; a career they do not have to sacrifice when they move (a move which is not in their control).
Then, today, we received an incredible e-mail from an amazing woman, and veteran, at Bunker Labs. She sent this article from the Military Times and said, Get after it Ladies! Your time is now! We could not agree more!
The article starts by saying, Congress wants to help more military spouses living overseas find work, even if that means telecommuting across an ocean. Yes, yes, yes! It goes on to explain that in the annual defense authorization bill, which was passed by the House and Senate earlier this year, there is a provision for a pilot program. This program is intended to help broaden opportunities for military spouses whose careers may be disrupted by out-of-country military moves.
We are overjoyed that Congress sees the same problem we do, and furthermore, wants to help solve it! It’s a validation that we are not insane (at least about this issue!). So, we are just going to sit back, cross our fingers, and see how it goes…
...just kidding. You should know by now that sitting idly by is not our style. In reading this article, we realized that maybe we could do even more than help individual military spouses attain occupational fulfillment. What if we think bigger? What if we can do something to help make it easier for all businesses to employ military spouses? What if we can establish answers to the questions we have had? What if we can remove the hurdles we have had to jump? What if?
To start, we are going to reach out to local Congressional Representative, Mark Pocan, to discuss MAVAN and ask questions on the proposed federal program. We want to learn more and see if MAVAN could be a part of the pilot program.
When a Mavan receives orders overseas, questions abound. What happens to my current employment? is but one. And we do not have a clear, concise answer. And we want to. The fact that there are no clear answers to this specific question, and the fact that Congress also recognizes there is a problem and is actively working on a solution, tells us one thing: our time really is now. Let’s get to work!
Do you have any ideas of other things we could do or people we should talk to in order to get connected with this federal program? Let us know! We appreciate any and all help!