Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flip a coin

I'm sitting here trying to write a report for one of my donors and, instead, having one of my usual crises of... what... a crisis of determination, I suppose.

I have a few jobs up in the air right now.

One is as the country rep for a very good NGO in Somaliland. It would be two years (I'd turn 30 in Hargesia, hmmmm), hard work, stretching my current skills, a bit isolated and, depending on what happens in the next few months, potentially a bit tricky on security which, as always, means lots of time trapped alone in your house. Career and pocketbook-wise, it is a no-brainer. This makes me look like a wunderkind rockstar and I'd make tons of cash. Plus, you know, I mean, SOMALIA. How cool, right?

Two is in Cape Town. I haven't even been shortlisted for it yet, but I'm overqualified and one of my best friends works there and I feel pretty confident I could get it. This would be a sort of reports and grants job, a standard 9-5 deal, absolutely no career advancement and, most likely, stalling the momentum I've been lucky enough to build over the past couple years. If I took this it would be about the other life: vineyard tours on the weekends, all my friends, bookshelves for my books, boxing lessons and fresh vegetables whenever I want.

Three is back in the States. This one I've been offered, kind of, but there's no money for it so I'm being asked over and over to be patient. It would be a mix of the two, long hours and high stress, like a field position, but in a first world country, just not one I'm overly fond of and a city I loathe. It would be a career advancer, though.

What I am trying to figure out right now is what I want to BE. Do I want to be a real go-getter? Ambitious girl who gets to be a country director at 28, works herself hard, lives in remarkable, if difficult places? Or do I want to be just another girl, career-wise, who is in a job she could do with her eyes closed but has a rich outside life, with people and activities and hobbies and all that?

Eccentric, knackered and lonely or bog-standard normal, bored and surrounded by friends?


Erin said...

wow...you make the girl (me) who just decided to come home to a boring US job, super excited! haha, jk. it's a toss-up for sure...the happy medium professionally and personally sounds like the US, and I'm thinking it's DC? while i would adore it, and would be happy to help you fill your time with trips up and down the eastern seaboard, i would say do what makes you happy, now. isn't it way better to be happy than to have a kick-ass CV? At least that's what I'm trying to tell myself...

Anonymous said...

That last sentence just about perfectly sums up the personal dilemma I have with aid work. Especially accute right after getting back from a holiday. Somaliland or South Africa - it's not even sane to be asking that is it? But I'd find it hard to answer for myself. A tough call - good luck with it.