With baited breath my husband and I have been waiting for the bid list for our second post. Due to extenuating circumstances (ahem, COVID), our bid list was sent a little later than expected. At long last, we received the bid list around close of business on Friday. For the past three days we have been researching what has been written or said about each post by fellow foreign service employees or EFMs, looking at YouTube videos, and having multiple discussions about ranking each post. Here was our process in deciding how to rank each post:
1) I created an Excel spreadsheet to put vital information about each post. There were various columns for differential pay, COLA (cost of living allowance), notes about housing, pets and employment found from websites, other blogs and colleagues that are at those posts currently.
2) I watched several YouTube videos by searching the city and country. I randomly selected videos that looked like they could give me a good feel of the city. This way I could get a sense of if I could see myself living there.
3) Filtering through what we read or heard about each country and adding in the vibe of the country, we revised the list several times. We had conversations about what the post size is, and how that might impact my husband’s job tasks, whether the climate, housing, and vet care would be good for our pets, cost of living in each post, and whether I would be able to find EFM employment easily were our top considerations.
For us, our pets are our babies, so they are important to us. We need to make sure vet care is good, that housing at our future post allows dogs, and that housing has parks nearby or green space for our dogs. We also have financial goals that we are working on, so post differential and EFM employment are important to us.
We came to an agreement in the ranking of each post. The top one was a a surprising pick for the both of us, which I have a feeling we will get. Hopefully we will hear by the end of July where we are headed!!!