Monday, February 1, 2010

Foreign Service: Part II

So, WHY Foreign Service? Jake and I talked about the pros and cons before he left for DC in November to take the OA. Eventually we (or maybe I should say 'I') came to the conclusion that the pros did outweigh the cons and we were ready to do this. Jake already knew this is what he wanted but obviously needed a spouse on-board as well. After he passed the OA it became very clear to me that our path was being led this way for a reason, and amazingly life just seemed to make sense at that point.

For a complete list of FS benefits listed by the Dept of State, click HERE.

Here is OUR benefit list:

* Jake would make decent $. Considering we are living off of a pretty low salary to begin with (non-profit work doesn't necessarily pay the bills), Jake will be making more in the FS than he is now.
* Government health benefits
* We get to travel and see the world
* Make new friends wherever we go
* Good education for the kids
* Opportunity to experience different cultures
* Language acquisition
* Amazing family vacations
* Living in DC for training (Jake and I love DC!)
* Housing expenses paid for
* Ability to save $
* Possibility of living in amazing places where we couldn't afford to live otherwise
* Service opportunities
* Family and friends could come visit
* Student loan repayment program
* Plenty of allowances and incentives (foreign travel per diem allowances, cost of living, etc.)
* Possibly have a housekeeper (woo hoo!)
* Generous annual leave (accrual is 30 days/leave year if assigned in US, 45 days/leave year if assigned overseas)
* 10 paid holidays/year, and also observe some local holidays celebrated at overseas posts of assignment
* FS becomes family- tight knit groups wherever you go

* Most importantly, we only live once.

Of course Jake and I talked about hardship tours, the possibility of being separated, the kids being yanked out of schools and changing friends every couple years, the pain of moving often, language/cultural barriers, away from family and friends, worrying about safety, etc. Ultimately, we truly feel that putting up with the cons will just be part of the experience and we are strong enough to deal with whatever is thrown our way. I'm not saying it will be easy. I'm sure there will be days when I will be asking "Why did we do this?" But, that's life. If we never had hard times, we would never realize how good the good times really are.

Now let's just hope Jake gets on the register soon so we can get this show on the road!


Ashley said...

I've loved reading about the FS. So interesting, and I'm hoping that things work out for you guys and that the next step happens soon. Plus we could come visit :)

Pete & Mal said...

Favorite one is.... Family and friends can come visit!!! We will start saving now! However, we are sure going to miss you guys! But your right, you only live once and what a great opportunity... I am sooo jealous!

Pete & Mal said...
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Kimberly Mosca said...

I wanted to do the foreign service at some point...I think it's great!

Alex said...

Sounds like you haven't make the decision lightly. Good luck to you on a speedy A100 offer!