With the U.S. being involved in multiple military actions worldwide, there are many opportunities for people to find work overseas. These opportunities often are filled by military veterans who go to work overseas after their separation. Like any situation, there are good and bad aspects to the prospect. Here are a few you may not have considered.
Pro: The pay for working in a volatile area such as Iraq or Afghanistan is usually significantly more than you would earn in the states. Although the tax laws constantly change, there are significant tax breaks for income earned in a foreign country. Currently, the first $91,500 of foreign earnings are excluded from taxation. To check the current status of the tax laws visit the following link: http://www.irs.gov/publications/p54/ch04.html#en_US_publink100047398.
Con: The people who work overseas are usually salaried employees so their hours are long and they work more than 5 days a week. When working in a volatile country, often there is not much to do besides sleep and work. I have spoken with people who made as much as $120,000 per year in the logistics career field working in Afghanistan. However, this same person worked 6 or 7 days a week and as many as 80 hours per week.
Pro: There is no better way to experience a country’s culture and understand its citizens’ perspectives than working and living every day in the country. Working overseas you will be exposed to all types of new adventures and will have the opportunity to travel abroad more often.
Con: Usually, when working overseas, you go alone. That means you are thousands of miles away from family and friends. If you have been in the military, you are used to deploying to different locations or traveling away from your family for weeks or months at a time. However, many spouses and family members expect this to stop once you leave the military. Make sure everyone in your family supports your decision.
Pro: There are many opportunities with different government contractors as well as the federal government. From teaching English as a second language in China to repairing F-16’s in Saudi Arabia, the opportunities are very plentiful.
Con: Many people don’t know where to start when looking for a position abroad. Here are some resources for you to use to begin your search. For federal employment opportunities overseas go to http://www.usajobs.gov/ei/employmentoverseas.asp and for other opportunities try http://jobs.goabroad.com. Also, consider how difficult it will be to job hunt from your overseas location. Set aside the finances necessary to support yourself while you transition back into life in the U.S.