Relocation, Is it For You?
Great Monday Morning!
If you are looking for opportunity, you can’t find a better one then relocating for a position within the Federal Government. Why? Glad you asked..
There’s a ton of people wanting a fulfilling career, but not many can leave their homes because of a myriad of life circumstances. People have ties to their communities that they feel they can’t begin to break them because they will wind up without those friendships elsewhere, which is completely possible. However, maybe you need a change, maybe you’ve always wanted to live in Qatar or Slovakia, I say go for it. Also if you’re in a weird spot like my wife and I were in less than a year ago, you can wind up in your dream job anywhere in the world. We had a rental, hadn’t even unpacked 100% and were still very mobile with no roots set with our children’s school or friends, so we could apply to go anywhere, which I did. Japan, Italy, and Spain. The only thing that prevented us taking those positions was that my wife was offered a huge opportunity that needed her to be in an office in the city/state where the corporate headquarters was, otherwise I would be writing this blog from somewhere other than the Midwest.
Before my family wound up where we did, in the Midwest. My wife was thinking about other professions and when three positions came up in my field I put up the idea of relocation. The questions she asked were fairly easy to answer. But the reality of her line of questioning meant I needed the right answers to see if this would be the right fit for us. I even discussed the idea of relocation after my year at my current job with my director who I knew had moved outside of OCONUS (outside of continental United States) for her previous position.
What she told me kind of blew my mind. The first thing she said was that many applicants are like “YES! I will move to Spain or Italy or Denmark, but then don’t realize when that opportunity comes in your email, you’ve been referred and selected for the position and the HR rep is asking you how quickly you can be boots on the ground and you then say “woah, I will need like six months to sell my house and pack things up” –JUST STOP RIGHT THERE! Seriously don’t apply to a position OCONUS if you can’t be boots on the ground within a 4 week time period.
I’m not saying you will, WILL have to be boots on the ground in 4 weeks because there are a lot of moving parts that have to well, get moving. There is a lot that goes on when you’re relocating. They send an army of packers to pack everything, and I mean they will pack your trash if you don’t tell them not too, true story. They will provide you flight information, if you’re heading OCONUS and you’re allowed a vehicle, where you have to drive it so it can be shipped. It can be a real whirlwind of activity and if you’re not ready to make that move within a reasonable amount of time, then rethink applying.
I knew before I applied to a position in Naples, Italy everything that was going to happen. From the packers coming to the house and packing in two areas of Short term to long term because there are typically two shipments that go out. Stuff you need tomorrow and then everything else. I also knew we would be allowed 14 bags/suitcases. Our dogs would be put into quarantine, etc… I also knew we would be without a car for at the soonest 8 weeks, which means I would have to find a rental etc.. Then there was the on-base housing we would have to live in while we went through the rental process. In Naples, thankfully the Navy base has a relocation team who know the lay of the land and have a pre-registered list of landlords who know the deal with federal employees. Imagine living in a hotel without a car for a few weeks, while working, while trying to find a rental that fits your budget, make sure to take this into consideration as there can be a ton of details that you can find looking for military blogs to certain countries, they can provide you a great snapshot of what to expect when you’re on the way, even if the blog is a couple of years old, they can still be beneficial.
There can be a ton of perks to relocating. Your salary may have a Cost of Living Allowance or increase, you may have the chance to live in major cities that you wouldn’t consider moving to on your own dime, and of course there may be great travel opportunities that you wouldn’t normally have. It goes without saying that there is definitely some negative points to relocating as well. Maybe you’ve landed a job in an austere part of the country and you’re more of a city person, better get to liking the great outdoors soon, or language barriers or traffic concerns. So once again, really make sure that moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa from San Francisco isn’t all about the scenery. It’s about the possibility of moving forward towards that career goal you have. But be ready should the opportunity exist. I only find it fair to tell you that you may be the best fit for a position but if you’re not ready to make the move or willing to make it within a short time frame, do your fellow applicant a favor and just don’t apply.
The major areas for relocation are Germany (ARMY civilian/DOD positions), United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Japan, Turkey and a host of other places. Wherever we have an Embassy, better believe their are civilians working there that aren’t nationals for that country. Search by country to see what’s offered. I fancy Belgium as the NATO offices are there, Rota, Spain because that place is beautiful, and Italy, of course. I’ve heard the Christmas market in Naples is incredible. Relocation is possible folks, it’s just up to you to make it happen. As a last bit of advice, I have learned that if you should take a position overseas, it can greatly improve your chances for climbing the NAF/GS ladder better than residing stateside. Oh, one last bit, we have jobs available in ST. Croix and the Bahamas!!!