Monday, September 26, 2016


It's bidding season.  And for the first time, S is bidding at the mid-level.  That means no more lists ranking his preferences and then crossing his fingers, hoping he gets assigned something great. Instead, S gets the privilege of applying to and interviewing for the jobs that he wants. And THEN he gets to cross his fingers and hope he gets something great.  

This year, apparently, they are doing things a little differently in the hopes of expediting the process. The final list of available jobs went live last Monday and handshakes (when officers are finally offered a job) are expected to go out by Halloween.  So for the next 6 weeks, S (and every other officer who is bidding) will be emailing, submitting their employee reviews and hopefully interviewing for the jobs they want.  There are several mores steps involved, but needless to say, it is nerve racking  and stressful.

After several long discussions, S and I have narrowed it down to more than a handful of overseas posts, with two of those posts (in two different bureaus) being our top choices.  We would be happy with any of our choices, but we are trying to be hopeful and optimistic that we get one of our top two choices.

I use the word "we" because even though S is the only one applying, the whole family is involved in making this decision.  As they say, this is a lifestyle, not a career.  A lot of factors go into this.  What is the right job for S and his career?  What places have strong and reliable Internet so I can continue to do my job?  Are there good international schools?  Can the kids continue to learn Spanish?  Can we bring our dog?  Are there houses or is it all apartment living? (Full disclosure: I would LOVE to have a house with a backyard.  After 15 years of apartment living, I am ready for a house and the access to an enclosed yard right outside my back door).  

So, even before the list went live, S and I sat down and looked at the projected jobs and tried to narrow down our choices.  We wanted a place we knew our family would not only enjoy living, but a place where we thought our kids would thrive, where I could work and where S would have a fantastic and rewarding job.  We Googled.  We watched YouTube videos.  We read personal expat accounts of what its like to live in each place.  We looked up the schools and watched the videos on their websites.  S researched the job's responsibilities.  We researched what languages were taught at the schools, hoping that if we go to a non-Spanish speaking county, at least Spanish will be taught and our oldest son (and hopefully our younger kids) could continue learning the language.  We looked to see if the Vet care was good and if there were kenneling/boarding services for when we go out of town.  And because we like to have fun, we looked up what regional travel would be like, and overall family life---were there movie theaters and parks?  Could we still find decent places to run outdoors? And the list goes on...

Once we had our top choices narrowed down, S took it and ran with it.  He reached out, he submitted his bids and emailed his resume.  But now?  Now we wait.  We wait to see if he gets contacted for interviews.  We wait while the behind-the-scenes bureaucracy takes place. We basically wait to see what the next 2 to 3 or 4 years of our life holds.  And hopefully, in the end, we get to go where we are all going to be happy.

But right now we continue to sit on pins and needles and...speculate...

So stay tuned...because like I said, we hope to know our next destination by Halloween.  

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