It is a great honor to take a job working at the U.S.embassy. You represent and serve your country by giving your skills, time, and expertise.
Working at the U.S. embassy in some parts of the world may also require sacrifice. While you get many opportunities for travel, challenging work, and remuneration, you may also be a long way from home, sometimes even in conflict-ridden areas.
If you are considering taking a job overseas with a government entity, here are a few factors you should think about.
1. Great Pay
For people employed by an embassy or serving as contractors to the U.S. government, the pay and benefits may be far superior to what you might expect from private employers at home.
If you have experience or education in accounting, diplomacy, infrastructure, or languages, you may be eligible for a job in the State Department, Department of Defense, or as a contractor on a military installation.
Individuals are often attracted to working overseas due to generous salaries, good insurance, and plentiful vacation and leave policies.
One of the scariest aspects of living in another country is having to figure out bureaucratic issues like insurance, banking, and visas.
When you work for a U.S. government entity, often these issues will be handled on your behalf.
If you are stationed in a war zone or area considered a hardship area, you may feel vulnerable to injuries or illnesses to which you might not be exposed at home. Luckily, the Defense Base Act (DBA) covers contractors who get injured while working for the armed forces overseas.
If you get hurt or sick while performing your government job overseas, this insurance will take care of you.
3. Experience Other Cultures
Very few Americans get the chance to travel widely before they retire, because they are busy with jobs, children, and bills. If you work in the Foreign Service, you will get the chance to live in far-flung places all around the globe.
The generous (by American standards) vacation time will let you spend your days off exploring your assigned area, or traveling further afield. You can usually bring your family along as well.
If you work in an embassy, you will meet other expatriate Americans who can help you learn how to make the most of your experience. They can share special travel and living tips to guide you towards places to see and to avoid, and how to really experience the local culture.
No doubt about it, in today’s uncertain world, there are risks to being an American abroad. Working for the United States government offers special protections, but it also can come with some risks.
Obviously certain countries present some danger due to war or anti-American sentiments. Others may present the risks of various illnesses, or require strict adherence to local customs which may limit your activities.
Depending on your physical condition, family situation, and personal goals, you may want to speak with an expert about how to protect yourself before taking an overseas post.
Working for the U.S. Embassy: Great Rewards, But Not Risk
If you are thinking about working for the U.S embassy, you need to weigh the pros and cons. Patriotism, salary, and travel are great incentives. But make sure you know what to do and how you can protect yourself in case something happens while you are far away from home.
For more on the challenges of working as an overseas government contractor or employee, check out our blog.