Last week, I wrote about how I’ve been looking for a job for eight months with no real success. Within about two hours, I got a message from a friend of mine. He told me about an opportunity I might be interested in. If you follow me on Twitter, this is what I said at the time:
@BradKimberly: Interesting. An old co-worker sent me a msg saying he had a job available for me. Pay: Ridiculous. Location: Afghanistan. Response: Maybe.
Let me give a little background on this. The guy who sent this to me was a contractor I worked with while I was deployed to Baghdad during my Air Force days. He’s a great guy, and he really made working in Baghdad quite bearable during the six months I spent there. So, when he found out about an opportunity, he sent me a message. In fact, about a dozen people have sent me job leads in the past eight months, and I am truly grateful to everyone who has done that.
This job is based in Kabul on a six-month contract. I would be working essentially as a media monitor for the public affairs office there. The living conditions would be pretty nice, and the pay is quite ridiculous. I’m embarrassed to even mention a figure.
After mentioning this job on Twitter (and subsequently Facebook), I started getting a lot of attention from folks who want to know what my decision is on this job. It’s just about what everyone wants to know, and it’s usually the last thing I want to talk about.
If you read my Baghdad blog, which I updated nearly every other day for six months, you know that the deployment was a struggle for me. I was away from my family, and there was the constant fear of getting killed hounding me all the time. It didn’t help that one of my training buddies nearly died in an attack on her convoy.
In fact, that one event freaked me out so much, I started finding different ways of doing business so I didn’t have to put 16+ people at risk for a convoy across the city that never really amounted to much publicity (good or bad). I’m sure it made me look like a coward, but it never really prevented me from completing my mission. I just found a more efficient way to do it while reducing the risk to service members and millions of dollars worth of equipment.
I eventually returned home to my family just in time for Christmas 2009, and I enjoyed a little vacation from work. However, when I returned to the office, I received a tasking order to go to Afghanistan later in 2010. I received this notification on the same day I started back full-time again. My boss was understanding about it, and we deferred the deployment. This didn’t phase anyone at headquarters, because another came in a few weeks later for the same thing.
What I learned was that there were far fewer public affairs officers than there were deployment taskings. I knew that my career would be nothing but endless deployments at the expense of my family. I couldn’t have that, so I put in my paperwork to separate from the Air Force. It was approved, and I left in August 2010.
Fast forward to today. Now that this opportunity to serve my country again has come up, I’m having a little internal struggle as to whether this is the right thing to do. If the deployment tempo was the same today as it was when I first joined the Air Force, I would likely deploy this year for the second time. Surprisingly, my family (including my mom) is supportive of whatever decision I make on this. The money is terrific, and if I didn’t get another job for two years, we would still be okay financially.
I’m not an indecisive person. Anyone who has worked with me (or for me) since 2004 knows that I can quickly evaluate complicated scenarios and come up with the best course of action to take. It appears that this situation is the exception to the rule.
Ultimately, I need to “decide when it’s time to decide.” In other words, I need to set a deadline for myself, or I’ll just keep putting this off.
So, here it is. I’m making my decision by Wednesday, Feb. 22. Do me a favor, though. Although I appreciate comments of support, please don’t ask me what I’ve decided. I need to make a decision free of outside pressure. When I do eventually decide, you’ll hear about it on my Facebook or Twitter after talking with my family.
There is nothing more important to me than family, which is why you can understand a decision like this shouldn’t be rushed.