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Six homes in Eleven Years – My Life as a Reservist and a Military Wife

on Friday 1 March 2019 Written by Emily Holbrook

Today Translations’ newest recruit, Emily Holbrook, fondly recalls the ever-changing landscape of her life with the military, and discusses the benefits to both individuals and employers of the Armed Forces Covenant.


I joined the Territorial Army, now known as the Army Reserve, in 2004. Initially recruited as a chef, the Army quickly recognised I had other skills and experience they could use, which is how I ended up spending the majority of my time as a sailing instructor on UK military yachts.  Amidst the days of Arctic training, yacht racing and catering for up to 400 people, I also found the time to meet and marry my husband, Bill, an Army officer in the Royal Corps of Signals.  I continued to soldier, even though my son Harry’s birth and Bill’s second deployment to Afghanistan proved a challenge to the routine.  I served right up until we were posted to Canada in 2011, at which point getting to Kingsbury for drill nights every week became rather difficult! We spent two lovely years in Kingston, Ontario, shipping everything including Bramble the dog out to our new home, and welcoming baby Annabelle into the world, before, once again, packing up our home and relocating to London.  We were there just long enough to get Harry into his first school and me into a lovely new job before the Army sent us off to pastures new – this time The Netherlands.  The town of Brunssum, in the very south of the country, was very good to us, providing 3 years of Dutch-language learning for the whole family, as well as a wealth of great memories as our children grew. We loved every minute of being an Army family but, I must admit that, in 2018, when Bill left the Army after 23 years of service, we were quite excited to take control of our lives, live in our own house, choose our own wallpaper, and remain in our Surrey home until we decide we’d like to move.

Back in the UK, while our lives settled into a slightly more conventional pace, a whole new set of challenges came to the fore; how was I, a mother of two and someone who had been out of the UK workforce for almost 7 years, going to re-enter? I had worked when possible everywhere we lived and had gathered a vast array of skills and knowledge. With the experience built up from my Reserve service, working and living in a number of different cultures, I knew I had the attributes and abilities to chart a new full-time career in the UK. The question was how could I use these attributes to my advantage, and, more worryingly, compete with candidates who had spent those years stacking up corporate experience to pad their CVs? I was only too aware of the odds I was up against, but if I had learned anything about myself over the last 10+ years, it was that I was up for a challenge, no matter how big. (There’s nothing quite like knowing that you survived overnight in a snow hole that you yourself dug, in the Norwegian Arctic Circle, or having the confidence gained from leading a military crew on an ocean passage to rid you of your job interview jitters.) So I met the future head on and started applying for roles that I felt were a match for my particular skillset and experience.

Today Translations' Emily Holbrook training with the Army Reserve

Today Translations' Emily Holbrook training with the Army Reserve.

Enter Today Translations. Back in October 2018, they signed the Armed Forces Covenant, thereby pledging their support to the promise that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. All 407 local authorities in mainland Great Britain and 4 Northern Ireland councils have pledged to uphold the Armed Forces Covenant, and to date, over 3,000 organisations have signed, including businesses and charities.

In practical terms, this means that, among other measures, Today Translations undertakes to:


  • Reinforce the role, skills, and importance of military linguists in the defence sector by establishing relationships with military units and veteran associations,

  • Promote the employment of veterans and work with the Career Transition Partnership in order to establish a tailored pathway for service leavers,

  • Support employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible.


For me, it’s meant a role as Marketing Analyst and Events Co-ordinator for an exciting language services company, where I can make use of my cultural and linguistic skills, as well as my varied job experience. Each day brings a new challenge and gives me an opportunity to think on my feet and to learn and develop at a rate of knots.

In return, Today Translations have grown their team to include a completely new perspective and experience. Building on the traits and tools acquired during my time in the military, I hope to help steer the company into a bright and rewarding future.


For more information on the Military Services Covenant and what it could mean for your business, please visit https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/