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Your opinion is requested

4888 Views 106 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  johnnyburst79
Most of you here have some idea of what I am about. Shy in some situations, brash and upfront in others, pretty physically oriented, and, maybe...fearless. Or at least, unintimidated :) .

Here is a little bit of backstory about me. The company I have been working for is really good. Great people, locale is second to none (visitors think they are at a resort), and the workload is not over bearing. However, the pay leaves something to be desired. My job description right now is program administrator. In addition to the regular daily work hours, I often put in hours from home, am called to provide tech support for users on the weekend and nights, and basically am happy to work for what I am getting paid, but had promises for more. Both my boss and the HR manager have noted I am doing an excellent job. My boss also told me he would be putting me in for a raise and COLA increase so I can buy a home. Ok, and for someone who manages the program that has given the company double the revenue, acceptable.

But, as the new raises came out, I am not pleased, or even satisfied with the raise. Me, as a program admin, am making less than $39K per year. Yes, I know that is not shabby, but with my raise not even covering inflation rates of 2006 and my desire to stop renting and buy a home, I really cannot do that on my own. And given a program admin in my region makes, at minimum, $55K, I am left wondering what happened to my promised earnings increase.

My desire is to be financially independent, not worrying about the next paycheck, having things come up and not having the money for them, etc. So, this is what I am planning and would like your opinion. Most of you on here are of sound intelligence and we have spoken so your opinion would have some weight to my decision. Politics play no role in this, btw.

I am debating (and trying to find my resume in e-form now, for submission), to apply for a job in Iraq. This is more than a whim, this is an opportunity to take a huge step forward financially for myself.

Now, domestic concerns. First for most people, family. I dont have one. I have not spoken to my brother or father in 3 years and do not desire to do so again. They are venomous people and I have learned much from them to make myself a better man. My mother, the only thing she called me for was for money and to front her to buy HUD homes so she can rent them out. After asking for if that was all she was calling for, I told her she can call if she has anything else to talk to me about. She has only called once as her car broke down, in the past 1.5 years.

Responsibilities...I have one, my lease. And I am only on the lease as a partial renter as there are two other roommates here. So I can leave and it will not have any adverse reaction on me and neither will a forced breaking of the lease need to occur. And as of May, the lease is up and will not be renewed anyways. Also, I am a minimalist, so I have very little of anything that matters to me, possession wise. Everything I own I can put into storage for the 1 year contract I would sign.

Now, potential detractors. Death, of course. Maiming, and that is a fear worse than death. I value my physical abilities very much. Lack of companionship. I met someone over the weekend (on a blind date), and we had a great time. We both have the same sense of humor, interests, and feel comfortable around each other. I don't love her, and really, how could I this soon, but she is intelligent, pretty, and has characteristics which interest me. But I am interested in settling down and she appears to have the same goals in mind. life's blood. I value them very deeply and do care incredibly for them. But they are just friends.

Pluses. Money. Average salary for me in a likewise position would reap between $150-$220K, and the first $80K is tax free. Even if I stay for just 1 year, it would enable me to buy a nice home outright (or by secured loan) and allow me to educate myself, increasing my value to corporate America upon my return. International job opportunities and getting a job while becoming a resident of another country. There is a month of paid time off, and destinations are anywhere in the world with the means to do it.

This is a big step, and I do want to do it, but I also don't want to miss anything in my thought processes. Of course the job and salary level do dictate if I take the job or not, but I am thinking it will be good for me. And with a high turnover rate, promotions are rapid (as are pay increases).

I have to lookout for myself and live my own life for me. Not for my company, my boss, my friends, or a beautiful woman. What is your opinion?
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Will the company you would be working for supply you with body armor and a weapon?
I hesitate to recommend risk taking, but I honestly if I were in your situation I would probably go for it.

Your situation being that you have no dependents and no personal or financial obligations so that the risks you choose to take affect only yourself. You are relatively young, in good physical condition, have military training, have special or marketable skills, and are approaching this decision with your eyes open being aware of the possible risks versus the rewards. As gbrumb has said the risks are probably a lot less than one would think by watching network news. As BanditFlyer commented, statistically the risk may not be worse than many locations in the United States. As others have stated, the level of risk probably depends on whether or not you go looking for trouble. If you go over there with the intent to use your head, use common sense, and avoid unnecessary danger, then I would bet that the actual risk would be low. On the other hand, in a worse case scenario things could be very bad.

As for the rewards, the sound of making in one or two years as much money as you would make in ten years in the states, with additional tax benefits to boot, is very attractive. You know there are plenty of people in the United States who face much danger and risk in their normal jobs on a regular and on-going basis who make much less money than you might make in Iraq. For example, how would climbing poles to work on live high tension power lines in all sorts of weather, often bad weather such as ice storms, on a regular basis for twenty years compare to the risks of one or two years in the green zone in Iraq? How would the danger of working on the high steel constructing tall buildings compare to the danger in the green zone? How would underground coal mining compare? How about salvage diving? There is a TSG member here who does cave diving for recreation, which statistically in terms of risk is roughly equivalent to walking through the slums of Baghdad, unarmed, in your underwear, carrying an American flag in one hand and a “screw Mohammed” sign in the other hand.

There is also the opportunity and freedom for adventure and travel, plus unique experience and the connections that you might make in the bargain. Those opportunities will be gone when you are older and take on more responsibility.

The one thing that I would insist on if I were to consider such a move is that I have the means to defend myself in the unlikely event of a worst-case scenario.

I can understand friends such as some here at TSG not wanting you to go into harms way, as they perceive it. I have done many risky things in my life that, although I was never afraid for myself (at least not until later when I had time to think about them), I would never want my brother or any other loved one to do. Would I want my brother or nephew to do what you are considering? Hell no! Would I do it if I were in your situation? Heck yes.
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