Plonkee inspired me the other day in writing “would you move for a lower cost of living? to craft up an “other side of the coin” post to ponder – How much would it cost for YOU to move to a war torn area for a year in search of big bucks?
A Tough Decision
My friend was making a decent 60k to do his I.T. job here in the states and was contacted by the Department of Defense to do the exact same job for $290,000, but the caveat was clearly that it was in Iraq.
It is/was an interesting situation to be in for sure. The lure of 290k certainly has its justification, but at what price I thought.
I know we have soldiers over there doing it for much less in much more dangerous locations; yea, I wondered the same thing, how is there a “safe” spot to be in Iraq I thought.
That’s like saying there are some spots in the ocean that are wetter than the rest. I’d be un-nerved either way. I have a TON of respect for our troops over there!
But as this relates to a financial situation I had to ask him about what his wife and kids thought of the situation. I can tell you plain and simple that his wife didn’t like it. She didn’t like it one bit.
I think that I am good at seeing both sides of the coin though:
He has 3 kids and a wife to worry about at home. I don’t recall if he said she is working now or not, but let us just assume that she isn’t for now.
At 290k she could probably afford to stay home if she wanted to, but clearly that’s not her concern. He’s got a family to provide for and without him around in a worse case scenario there really isn’t a dollar value you can put on his replacement.
Furthermore, I’ve done the long-distance relationship thing and that doesn’t work. She’s mentioned that also. A year apart from your loved ones can really wear on you and can’t be predetermined what the end result will be.
He came from a company that recently went bankrupt. He completely lost his retirement account to which he had 100k+ saved up. He is 38 years old and has nothing to show for it.
He’s squeaking by on 60k a year in Seattle with a wife that isn’t working and 3 growing kids and doesn’t see a light at the end of any tunnels. He’s got to start fresh and that’s a lot of bank to come up on.
His kids are starting middle and high school and eventually will have to get into college. He wants to be able to pay for their college, and with nothing left for him afterwards, he’s looking out for his wife and himself.
One year there and he could be back to what he lost in his retirement account. He’s pushing 40 now and the idea itself carries some weight, but I’m lost honestly.
I haven’t been put into that position to need to make that type of decision. Right now, where I’m at currently, I can’t see going, even for that kind of $. My wife and kids need me and even though I’ve got a pretty decent insurance policy I just couldn’t do it.
My days would likely be spent 18 hours on the job and back to my re-enforced bunker to hide out until I went back to work. Wouldn’t I? Would it be that bad? I don’t know.
I suppose I’d need some more info on the setup, but from what I’ve seen and heard there isn’t a lot of downtime or sight seeing.
You’d Be Helping Your Country
Yes, I buy that. I would be and that would make me proud but it comes down to options. I have the option to move or not to move. I have no clue about anything in regards to firearms or warzone tactics. Is that risk worth taking?
I’m sure I could be trained and they likely would put me through a civilian “boot camp” of sorts, but still, the guys that are over there now are very well trained, I’d just be mediocrely trained.
It’s high risk for sure – especially not knowing what you’re getting in to, but money can make you do some very risky things, including putting your life on the line. What is your break point?
I can’t see myself bending for much more than $1MIL right now, but hell, even at that price I’d have my doubts. Until it was actually put in front of me, I couldn’t actually wrap my head around it.
I’ve tried. Believe me, I’ve tried to wrap my head around it and what the pros and cons are, but am still coming up empty.
What are your thoughts? What would be your tipping point to considering heading to Iraq for a year without your family?
What would be enough to make you comfortable in doing so? Would your significant agree with you?
So I’ve gotten a handful of emails and comments in this section asking where to sign up for jobs like this and there are plenty of places to look for a job there – Google turns up a few:
Hope that helps those of you interested!
photos by: soldiersmediacenter