Meh, what are you going to do? I’m busy. So there.
No, really. Stop laughing over there… I really am! See, a little over 2 weeks ago, I decided to do something crazy and quit my job. Insanity, I know… how could anyone part with such a cushy 30-hour-a-week, $25K-a-year gig? It was tough, and I DO feel bad (again, stop laughing over there!) about it, but it’s the best thing to do for me & the family.
There’s a bright side to all this, however… Really, there is. I’m quitting to, wait for it…. Start. My. Own. Business. Indeed! My wife has been encouraging me for some time to do something with my love of the culinary arts, and well, damn it, I’m going to do something with my love of the culinary arts! So, here’s to the official launch of “The Expat Chef!”
“Well, just what the heck is ‘The Expat Chef’?” you ask.
I’m glad you asked… It’s a catering company! For diplomats! Run by an expat! My main focus will be making the food we miss So. Much. here in the D.R. with mostly local ingredients. Fried chicken! Bagels! Lasagne! Spaghetti & meatballs! Indian food! Thai food! Chili! I’m setting up a once-weekly delivery to the Consular Section and the Chancery with a subscription service; i.e. sign up for the week, pay, take food home with you on Thursday to either pop in the oven, reheat, or cook on the grill (with simple step-by-step instructions). Ta-da! Good food that you can’t get here.
So, this is why I’ve been busy. I’ve got a week until launch, and I’m gearing up while gearing down in my Embassy position. Good vibes always welcome from afar… I hope I’ll some modicum of success in this venture, as I plan on having it move from post to post with me. Imagine, gumbo and bagels in Surabaya. Fried chicken and lasagne in Maputo. Fajitas and deep-dish pizza in Dushanbe. Genius, I tell ya!
So that’s it… I’m sticking it to the man. And I also learned something here today: posts will never, ever, ever be able to recruit and retain solid talent for EFM positions if they continue to offer the pittances they call salaries. I felt like a grad student here at post: captive audience = cheap-ass labor. Even if I were to have worked full-time, my salary would have been just a shade above $30K. I haven’t made that little in about 10 years. Yes the position gets me out of the house and involved in the Mission, but come on folks, $17/hr.at the age of 35? With an B.A. and significant work towards a M.A. at top-tier universities? And more than 10 years of experience? I know other spouses here who were web producers, lawyers, engineers, etc. who are taking $50K+ pay-cuts just so they can work. That’s crazy!
If State would like to re-think the compensation packages for EFMs, I’d be willing to reconsider my stance and give a Mission job another shot. Not a moment before, however. Since they’re already paying our housing, travel, health insurance, etc., and the only real costs of us working are our salary, pension, life & disability insurances, and security clearance process (if applicable), don’t you think they could make the compensation packages a little more attractive? Wouldn’t it be great if there was actual competition for the offered positions, and Post was able to hire the best and brightest instead of the simply available to work?
I won’t be applying for any Embassy jobs any time soon. Sorry HR… there’s a lot of talent going to waste in me. Wish we could have started off on a better foot.
Regardless, here’s to new beginnings! Wish me luck.