Back in July I posted about my decision to separate from the Air Force; yes I know it’s been two months, and let’s just say I’ve been a busy little bee, the struggle is real wearing multiple hats. Today’s post is a continuation of what happened after I made the decision to not re-enlist. I’ll be jumping right into discussing my initial contractor experience. If you missed the previous post, you can catch up here My Transition-Part 1: The Decision.
When I finally shared my plan to work overseas after final separation from the Air Force with my family and friends, most of them were thoroughly confused at my decision. “ Tee, Didn’t you just leave that type of environment?” everyone would ask. My answer in turn would be, “Yes, but I enjoyed my job the most in the Air Force when I was deployed, as a contractor I get to be in that environment all the time, and get compensated well for it.” I received plenty a side-eye and the notorious “Whatever Tee” or the “Money isn’t everything” response. While my decision wasn’t quite well received, my family knew that I would be doing exactly what I WANTED TO DO, regardless of their opinion.
What was it like?
Being a contractor overseas, at least in my experience, was just like being deployed except there was no 6 month rotation or turnover, just vacation. From Afghanistan to Iraq, I worked and worked and worked. I attempted to finish up school, and even worked from my creative side attempting to attain my Event Planning Certificate. I will admit it was extremely frustrating trying to juggle so much on one plate and I felt obligated to keep everyone (family & significant other) happy from the other side of the world, even when it might have been at the sacrifice of my own happiness.
I did go home on vacation twice a year, and I’ll be honest it was like trying to manage 3 lives at once. My vacations home would be so jam packed with To-Do Lists, Medical appointments, and People To See, that I needed a vacation from my vacation, but that wasn’t an option for me. Spliting my time between loved ones, up & down the East coast within a my limited time frame was truly an art form. Can you say OVERWHELMED & EXHAUSTED?
Something still wasn’t right…
While the paycheck was handsomely rewarding, I still missed so much in regards to my loved ones; my brother graduating High School, my significant other and the life/family we were supposed to be building together, Ummm, these were some of the very reasons I had opted to not re-enlist Air Force, and I was still missing out on important parts of family life because I was overseas working. If I hadn’t already been home for a trip to Belize with my guy, I would have missed my grandfather’s passing and his funeral. It made life pretty hard at times, the distance was causing more damage than good in a few parts of my life.
There came a time when we were to close the location I was working at in Iraq and I was given two options; go back to Afghanistan or go home. Being that I had already been homesick, it didn’t take me long to make my decision. I had decided I was done, I was tired of being on the other side of the world. I just wanted to go home, finish my degree, get married and work on the blended family I had been looking forward to. After 3 years of contracting, I was preparing to go back stateside and officially START OVER as a civilian.
A few questions for you.
- Question: Are you the type of person who attempts to please everyone at once(family/significant other)? If so, how do you work it out and keep your sanity?
- Have you made any decisions that may have gone against the norm? Did it work for you or did you have figure something else out?