By: Petty Officer Monique Deveaux
Like Elastigirl from the animated Pixar movie, The Incredibles, Woman Marine Terrell Johnson, stretches herself, going above and beyond the call of duty to perform her duties at the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. As a military mom, each day she would stretch herself. However, her true superpower comes when she leaves work and can be 100 % present at home. When she arrives home, it’s all about family. Terrell asserts that the key to her success of being a military mom is to maintain a clear distinction between being at work and being at home. She is the strong glue that holds her family together.
To Johnson, there is but one word that can truly describe her: Amazing! She tries to always put her best foot forward, making tiny steps of progress. People within her circle would say that she is a friendly person, hardworking, and a striving individual.
Woman Marine Johnson works in the Headquarters Department, where she was assigned to the Typing Pool section, before being drafted to the Data Processing Unit, where she presently assists with the recruitment. Johnson is playing her role in organizational agility which focuses on creating the necessary flexibility needed to adapt to a dynamic security environment by means of strategic recruitment, exercises, continuous training and development, and resource acquisition.
Johnson’s role model is her mom. She notes that it is her mother’s resilience and persistence in raising her and her siblings which made a lasting impact on her life. No matter what the circumstance was, her mom remained steadfast in her duty to her children and was always available for them.
Johnson’s career in the Defence Force began on July 9, 2016, as a recruit and a member of New Entry 54/Woman Entry 23. When asked about her reasons for joining, she expressed that she wanted to provide a better future for her children and since joining, the experience has so far been quite rewarding. In fact, she loves her job and is simply ecstatic to come to work each day, whether she is stationed at an outpost conducting sentry duties, or in the office. Though she may work long hours, she admits it’s not hard work for her, because she loves what she does. To her, ‘work’ and ‘job’ are two separate things, the result of each is what you make it to be.
Her significant experience on the force would be working at the Government House during the changing of the Governor General Ceremony. Having the honor of being inspected by the Governor General was exciting while adorned in her uniform, glittering in the bright beaming sun of the Bahamas made her proud as a peacock in all her splendor and beauty. But, her most memorable experience thus far was being selected as the Marine Seaman of the year for the Headquarters Department in 2020. Having an opportunity such as this, showed that her work was noticed. The fact that persons noticed her, respected her, valued and appreciated her, made her feel good within herself.
She balances work and life simply by leaving her work at the office. Johnson says that to achieve this, one must not bring work home. She compares it to mixing oil and water because the two don’t mix. The two solvents will always separate, and in the same way, mixing family life and office work, without bringing balance will cause a void in one of these areas.
Her advice to mothers desiring to make the Defence Force a career is knowing and understanding the word ‘sacrifice’. Johnson notes that anyone wishing to join the Defence Force must understand and be prepared to sacrifice. They will be required to give a lot of themselves, time, effort, and energy.
Lastly, in bringing a balance as a military mom, she agrees with the adage that it takes a village to raise one’s child/children. Military moms spend a lot of time away from home and often have to rely on trusted friends and family members to care for the children. She values the importance of maintaining a good working relationship with the community of trusted persons.
Her final word of advice is to always be mindful that one cannot be everything to one’s child, rather, along with a trusted village. This is because as a military mom, the effectiveness on the job will require that you be successful in bringing that balance between work and family to your life.