After they’ve completed one domestic tour and halfway through their third overseas tour, she became convinced that real jobs were difficult to come by in this lifestyle. She hated begging for jobs at every post. It was not that she was not capable; there were just not enough jobs to go around.
One day she made the leap to becoming a secretary; she thought this would afford her a job as she moves around with her husband every two-three years. She taught herself the Microsoft suite, applied online and easily got into the OMS program. She left her two kids with her husband in South America and went back to DC for training. They talked every week and she worked really hard. She had no problem completing the training but she missed her family every single moment. Then she learned that she was going to Barbados for her first assignment.
Considering the other places where she could have ended up for her first directed assignment, Barbados seemed like heaven. Except that her husband was being sent to the other side of the world. She came up with four locations where she and her husband could have served together but the assignment office told her “no.” She helpfully pointed out that one of the four places in her list had not been filled for the last two assignment cycles. The answer was still “no.” She talked it over with her husband and they’ve decided she should still go to Barbados. So she put in a request to visit her family and pack out before she shipped out to Barbados. The answer was also “no.” There was no time to spare; she was needed at post immediately. She wondered out loud if the needs of the Service will now always outweigh the needs of her family. Her assignment officer did not have anything to say.
One day she was a new hire, a few days later she was part of some statistics. It almost felt like a dream, except that she had a bill asking that she pay back all the training and related expenses. All of it.