The scene opens on a bus. Various riders are on board including Tom, Charlie the Cat, and the Rule of Three numerals - characters from other training bites. The camera zooms in on the bus driver, Ted, who announces, "ALLCON, PP and PB" - meaning "All concerned, this is the Pentagon stop. It services the Pentagon and points beyond."
The camera zooms out to reveal Ned, Ted's lodge brother, who has boarded the bus and says to Ted, "Hey, Teddy boy, how are ya, pal?"
Ted replies, "FTM!" ("Fair to middlin'!")
Ned: "How's Alice?"
Ted: "SA. ST?" ("She's alright. How's Trixie?")
Ned: "Trixie's fine! Well I better sit down. I'll see you tonight at the Lodge meeting."
The camera zooms back in on Ted, who is un-zipping his jacket to reveal a button reading, "And away we go!" as he says the acronym for this phrase, "AAWG!"
The camera cuts to an overhead shot of Fiona, a military wife who is making a checklist in preparation for her family's upcoming relocation. Her checklist consists of the following items: "Research local schools, Find a house, Check out USAJobs." Also in her lap is her husband's Permanent Change of Station order.
The camera cuts to Thea, a Hiring Manager, standing next her. Thea says, "Excuse me. Do you mind if I sit here?"
Fiona responds, "Oh, of course." As she gathers her things to make room on the seat for Thea, her PCS order falls to the floor, and Thea picks it up. Thea takes her seat next to Fiona and hands Fiona the document as she says, "Ah, PCS orders. You're moving. I remember those days. Moving vans, finding a good school, new houses..."
Fiona chuckles, "The constantly evolving checklist!"
Thea muses, "Can't live without that!"
Fiona agrees, "It hasn't failed me yet." She puts her hands on her hips as she continues, amused, "My kids think I like relocating just because it gives me a chance to make another checklist!" Fiona and Thea both laugh. Fiona says, "I'm Fiona, by the way."
Thea responds, "Hi, Fiona. I'm Thea. Where are you moving?"
As she responds, Fiona imagines her children on the beach, with beach toys scattered about - a snorkel, diving fins and a shovel and pail - and Fiona herself is relaxing in a beach chair with a hat over her face. "Out west. My kids can't wait to put their toes in the Pacific ocean."
In her thoughts, a moving van bearing the logo "U -Mooov- It!" replaces the beach scene, then drives away, leaving behind a house with a snow shovel propped against the garage door. The snow shovel bears a sign reading, "Free to a good home!" attached with a red bow. "I'm ready for a winter that doesn't involve a snow shovel!"
Thea says, "Now you're making me jealous!"
Fiona puts her hands to her face and replies, "Sorry! We're very excited about the move. My only regret is that I have to leave a job I really love – a local company with no ties to California." In her mind, she sees herself at her desk, with a sign behind her reading, "East Coast Productions, Inc." As she says the following, the sign changes to read, "???, Inc.": "I just hope I can find something similar in our new city."
Thea asks, "Have you ever thought about working for the Federal Government?"
Fiona replies, "I have, but I hear it's really hard to get a government job."
Thea says, "It really isn't as difficult as folks think, but you have an added benefit. Because you are a military spouse, you may be qualified for Military Spouse Employment."
Fiona asks, "What is Military Spouse Employment?"
"I'm so glad you asked," Thea responds. "I'm a hiring manager, and I use it a lot. It's actually a special hiring authority which allows agencies to hire eligible military spouses outside of the usual hiring process!"
Fiona is impressed. "Wow!" she exclaims. "That's major! A special hiring consideration just for military spouses?"
Thea responds, "Yep! It was created to help military families in the adjustment period following permanent relocations, disability and deaths resulting from active duty service."
Fiona inquires, "Are all military spouses eligible?"
As Thea responds, she imagines Fiona's family. "Not all. There are three categories of eligibility: you have to be relocating with your service-member spouses under permanent change of station – PCS - orders." In her head, she imagines Fiona, her husband, and their two children, a boy and a girl, standing amidst several boxes labeled "Kitchen," "Mary's Room," and "Billy's Room." Thea continues as the scene in her head changes to Fiona's family with a service dog, her husband having been blinded in service. He wears dark sunglasses. "The spouse of a service member who is 100% disabled due to a service-connected injury; or the spouse of a service member killed while on active duty." As she states the last eligibility requirement, she imagines Fiona at the dining room table with her two children, with a photo of her late husband on the wall behind them.
As Fiona responds, her imagination cuts back to the image of her family amidst the moving boxes. "I meet the first criteria: the spouse of permanently relocating service member. So, how do I take advantage of this hiring consideration?"
"It's pretty easy," Thea responds, imagining a computer with the USAJobs.gov web site - first the opening search page, then a specific job page. "You conduct your own job search as you usually would when looking for a Federal job – that is go on USAJOBS.gov, and when you find a job you like, apply as you usually would. You can ask to be considered along with everyone else, or non-competitively as a military spouse."
Fiona asks, "How will the agency know I'm eligible?"
"You state on your resume that you are eligible under the military spouse hiring authority," Thea responds, imagining Fiona's resume with the words "Hiring Considerations: Military Spouse" at the bottom, "and be sure to submit a copy of your husband's Permanent Change of Station orders authorizing you to relocate with him. You will also need to provide a copy of your marriage license to prove that you are married." Thea sees these documents joining Fiona's resume and the computer.
"USAJOBS is great," Fiona says, "but do I have to apply through the web site?"
Thea replies, "Yeah, because agencies, in using the military spouse hiring authority, must announce their job opportunities as they usually would and follow their usual hiring procedures, including considering individuals under government-wide hiring priority programs – for example agency and interagency Career Transition Assistance programs." Thea imagines silhouettes of people inside a circle. The circle shrinks, leaving several people out, as she continues, "These are for federal employees who lost their jobs due to downsizing."
"So," Fiona says, "you're helping those who have had to leave their jobs, whatever the circumstance?"
Thea responds, "Exactly!"
Fiona is, once again, impressed. "That's great!" she exclaims. "So do eligible spouses get a hiring preference or priority under military spouse hiring?" She imagines a long line at the Employment Office, where only one window is open. Next to the line is a sign reading, "Military Spouse? Go to the front of the line!"
"No," Thea responds, "eligible spouses don't get a hiring preference or priority, but it does allow managers like me to select them outside of the usual hiring process, if we choose. And that's a big advantage to both the manager and the military spouse."
"I'll say!" Fiona agrees. "Are there any limitations on the types of jobs or the salary ranges of those jobs for military spouses?"
"Agencies can use it to fill pretty much any job at any grade level," Thea responds, stopping herself. "Oh, sorry for the jargon. In the Government, we associate pay level with what we call grade levels."
Fiona has been searching USAJobs and is vaguely familiar with grade levels. "The 'GS-11' and such," she says, "that I've seen on the job listings on USAJobs?"
Thea replies, "Yes! See, you're ready to start applying! And you can apply for any of those jobs, and as a manager I can consider you for any job. The only limitation is that you meet the qualifications."
"Well, this is a great thing for us military spouses," Fiona responds enthusiastically. "I don't like to leave anything unchecked on my checklist!" Fiona and Thea laugh, then Fiona continues, "Truly, I love to work, and you know, I saw a job in California for an archive technician! Anything else I should know before I start applying?"
"One more thing," Thea replies. As she continues, she imagines Fiona's husband's PCS order overlaid with a 2011 and a 2012 calendar. "You have two years of eligibility – from the date of your spouse's PCS order – to get hired under the military spouse hiring authority. You can use your eligibility once per your relocation. If your husband gets another set of PCS orders, and you have to relocate again, it's two years from that set of orders." She imagines the original order and calendars shrinking to the background and being replaced by another PCS order and two more calendars.
"So once I'm in hired and in the system," Fiona clarifies, "I can't use it, but if we relocate again, I get another two years?"
"Exactly," Thea replies. "The idea is to help you get a federal job because you had to give up your job when you relocated. Once you are in the system you are treated like everyone else."
"That's fair," Fiona says. "I'm sure there are many other military spouses who would like to take advantage of the assistance. What if my husband was 100% disabled or killed in action?"
Thea says, "Then you would have two years from the date of the documentation indicating his service-connected disability or death."
The camera cuts to Ted, the bus driver, who announces, "ALLCON – PP."
Ned appears at Ted's side, saying, "This is my stop, Teddy boy. There's a lot of sewers here that need fixing!"
Ted responds, "Ak ak a dak!" as the camera returns to Fiona and Thea.
"This is my stop, too," Fiona says. "I'm meeting my husband. I'm so glad I met you! I'm going to tell him all about this military spouse hiring authority."
The camera cuts to Fiona standing next to Ted as she prepares to exit the bus. "Mil Spouse Hiring," she muses. "HSII!"
Ted looks at her, puzzled.
Fiona gestures to him and says, bemused, "How Sweet It Is!"
Ted's eyes widen, and he gives her the thumbs up.
The scene changes to the outside of the departing bus, and we see Thea waving from the door of the bus. The back of the bus has the license plate OPM 101 and a bumper sticker of a superhero, captioned "Never Fear... OPM is Here!" The bus fades into the distance as the words, "To be continued..." appear. This is replaced by the title, "Military Spouse Hiring Made Simple."