The best thing about my job is that it allows me to live in Italy. As you probably know, I've been in Europe for over 11 years now, alternating between Germany and Italy. I love it here and can't even imagine living anywhere else. But alas, there is a rule for government employees called the 5 year rule - or, as I call it, "the idiotic 5 year rule". Basically what it means is that government civilian employees are only supposed to be overseas for a maximum of 5 years before we have to back to the US. Why this policy exists is anybody's guess but there's so many things wrong with it that I don't even know where to start. The only potential bright side of it is that we only have to be in the US for 1 year before we can come back overseas but even that is not very encouraging as it is very difficult to get hired overseas unless you know somebody. Currently our 5 years expires in April, 2011. Unless I get an extension (which is possible), we will have to start looking for jobs in the US. Even worse, I won't have much a choice of where I'll end up either. Fact is, there's a very good chance we'll end up somewhere we really have no desire to be such as Ft. Hood, Texas or Omaha, Nebraska. For now, I don't really want to think about it but if I had my way these would probably be my options/choices. In parentheses I'll put the degree of "realistic-ness" that we could end up there as well as the degree of my desire to go there. In no particular order they would probably be:
* Virginia (realistically: 80%, desire: 75%). My job is pretty transportion related and there are quite a few bases in eastern Virginia that have positions similar to mine. I probably wouldn't mind as I am an East Coast guy and I've heard good things about Virginia. I'm also somewhat of a history buff and there's plenty of it there.
* Ft Lewis, Washington (realistically: 60%, desire: 80%). Ft Lewis and the surrounding area features several advantages for me not the least of which would be world class fly fishing, a burgeoning wine industry, and some great hiking. One of my life's dreams is to fly fish Montana someday and being in Washington would probably help me achieve it.
* San Antonio, Texas (realistically: 80%, desire: 30%). I've had several people tell me that San Antone is a fantastic city and that I would love it there but I'm not sure I'd enjoy living in Texas. It's damned hot and they have rattlesnakes. Unfortunately, this seems to be the most popular place in the US as far as positions in my field.
* Ft Hood, Texas (realistically: 50%, desire: 20%). My reasons for not wanting to end up there are similar to San Antonio with the exception that I've never heard anybody say anything good about Ft. Hood. But it's a huge base with plenty of open positions so it's possible.
* Omaha, Nebraska (realistically: 40%, desire: 25%). I often see openings here so it's a possibility and I've actually heard a lot of positive things about Omaha being a great city but...it's Nebraska for cripes sake. I'm not sure I could ever live in the heart of the Midwest. I'd prefer to be at least within driving distance of an ocean.
* Tampa or Miami, Florida (realistically: 60%, desire: 70%). Although I'm not a big beach person, there are much worse places to live than Florida. I often see open positions in both Tampa and Miami so it's definitely on the radar. Plus, my father and stepmother vacation in Florida every year so it'd be great to be able to see them regularly.
* Ft. Dedrick or Ft. Meade, MD (realistically: 30%, desire: 90%). I've often said that Maryland would be the ideal place for me. Maryland has some of the best seafood in the US, it is close enough to my hometown that the family could visit easily, there is some great fly fishing just over the border in Pennsylvania or West Virginia, it's right in the middle of everything so trips to places like New York City, Washington, DC, Philly, and others are possible and, perhaps best of all, Gino would be close by so we could hang out often. Of all the places I've considered, Maryland is the only I could envision staying at for a long time. Unfortunately there are hardly any positions there so it'd probably be extremely difficult to get there. It might be a pipe dream.
* Natick, MA (realistically: 20%, desire: 50%). This would be an interesting one. I would not normally even consider it but about a year ago a coworker of mine who does the exact same job as I do was offered a decent position there (he turned it down). On the minus side, it's cold and snowy which I deplore. On the plus side, it's right outside of Boston and it might kind of cool to live so close to the city. Since it's about an hour from where I was born and raised, it would be close to my family and friends so the kids could spend time with them often. I could also take the boys to Fenway Park every summer.
* Hawaii (realistically: 35%, desire: 70%). If you've followed my blog for a while then you probably know how we came within a whisker of moving to Hawaii back in 2006. There are usually a handful of openings there I would qualify for but I would give it a low possibility for two reasons: first, the positions I'd qualify for seldom come open as people don't want to leave Hawaii and second, when they do come open they receive more applications than they know what to do with. But the pluses are obvious, it's Hawaii for God's sake. In the right circumstances Hawaii is another place I would consider staying at for a long time.
* Atlanta, GA/Ft Bragg, NC (realistically: 70%, desire: 40%). Atlanta is the home of FORSCOM as well as ARCENT and those are two strong possibilities of where I could end up. However the base they are at is scheduled to be closed in the next few years and both are moving to Ft. Bragg, NC. I really have little desire to go either place. The only positive would be a good career stepping stone to get somewhere that I'd rather be.
* Scott, AFB, IL (realistically: 75%, desire: 60%). This is the home of Transportation Command so it would seem like a natural fit. in fact, several people I worked with in Germany have moved there in the past year. As I said, I'm not sure I would ever want to live in the Midwest but I've been there for work several times and it's not a bad area, right outside of St. Louis. And, as with the one above, it'd be another great place to make contacts in places I'd want to go to eventually.
* Colorado Springs, CO (realistically: 50%, desire: 50%). I'm kind of torn on this one. I love the mountains and would have some the best hiking and fly fishing in the country but on the other hand, they get a lot of snow and I absolutely abhor snow. that said, I've heard nothing but great things about this area.
Well, that's a short list anyway. Of course with my luck, I'll probably end up some place I never even considered. At least I've still got almost two years before I even need to start thinking about it...