Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Coming to America Update - 20180828 - If at First You Don't Succeed...

There's a little foreshadowing in the title of the post!

Well, my first attempt to secure employment, and in fact a career, back home has come to an unsuccessful end. The job I have previously hinted about is a no go, for now.

I was lucky to get an email from the Recruiting Department, if you will, explaining to me that I was not qualified for the position that I applied for.

I was happy to get this email rather than spending the next few weeks in limbo. Now I can reassess things a bit, decide next steps, continue applying for positions elsewhere and I can stay excited about the decision we have made to try to move our lives back to America.

We are still on our 2-5 year timeline, nothing has changed there.

I am still confident that I can eventually qualify for this position that I failed to qualify for this time around. The job is such that it's not necessarily a "dream job" but it seems to be the "perfect job" for my personality, experience and even current age.

There's no quit in this Marine. I promise you that...so, we'll keep probing and testing the waters all around the states, but with an eye and a determination to sacrifice now in the way of giving up my weekends and evenings to go back to school for a while in order to make myself a better candidate for this "perfect job".

As mentioned in a previous update, this result was a little bitter sweet as it means that we are back to the drawing board but it also means that I won't be bailing on Thailand and leaving my sweet wife behind for an extended period of time. Either way, accepted or rejected, it was going to be bitter sweet.

Wish us luck! We're still over here, being positive.

This may sound very weird, it was strange to me, but amusing. A week or so ago Pae accompanied her flight attendant friend to see a fortune teller (tarot card reader). For fun, Pae also had her fortune read (I abstained). The fortune teller told Pae that "The husband will get a job on an island."

Nice...Madagascar here we come?

That's it for this week's update.


Tuesday, August 21, 2018

29 Year Yellow Footprints Aniversary

29 years ago, I stood on the yellow footprints.

Semper Fidelis. 
That is all.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Coming to America Update 20180817 - Bitter/Sweet Situation Approaching?

Okay, update.

I have previously talked a little on here about how I'm not getting my hopes up with a certain job that I've applied for back home. Well, no matter how much I try to just forget about it and not get excited or not let the possibility of getting the job affect my current job...it's difficult.

The more Pae and I talk about it, the more excited we are at possibly taking that step.

 - The job comes highly recommended by a friend. A bestie from years gone by told me to look in a certain area, prepare my documentation and wait. I did. Now we wait. That

 - The job is in an area where I have a lot of experience. That's all I'll say right now. But one thing that is a super bonus in starting something new or changing jobs, is knowing that what you are getting into is 1) something you enjoy and 2) something that you are good at.

 - The job is a government job, with government benefits, with possible government retirement (yes, even for a 47 year old! My friend told me that working for the government, former members of the military are able to "buy back" their military time towards retirement. This means I would pay a small amount for my 6 years in the Marines and National Guard and then only need to work another 14 years to hit the  20 year minimum. 14 years?!! FOURTEEN YEARS!! I would have to work anyway to get by for at least another 20 years until age 67...but to have the option to call it quits at age 61 or 62 (extra 0.1% to my retirement calculation multiple if I retire at or past 62) is great. Hell, I'll still be running marathons at 62!!

 - The job is not a permanent position; It is a 13 month contract with possibility of extension. This leads me to worry about quitting my job at my school that I've been at for nearly 12 years, only to have a job back home for a year then having to come back to Thailand and literally start over. Right now, it's a risk we are willing to take. 13 month contract workers can be changed to permanent workers if a position comes open. I look at it as a probationary period' Prove myself useful, hard-working, cooperative, collaborative, knowledgeable, capable, willing...irreplaceable...and I will earn a permanent position. We've had a lot of bad timing in this life...but this could be an opportunity that is one of good timing for us.

 - Pae and Guy would have to hold down two households for at least 2 years before we could be together in the States. Financially this is stretching our combined salaries to the edge, gut with that struggle also come great financial benefits (in the long run)...contracts that need to be completed and the incentives that come with finishing a contract with the airline would go a long way to make us comfortable with leaving Thailand for good. But again, this means 2 years apart. We used to talk about separating about 6 months in advance to get a home set up...but 2 years...it can be a long time.

 - Immigration timing...more on that another time as it is complex.

There are really no more cons or negatives to consider or at least none that I wanna talk about, hahahaha.

There are geographical preferences that wouldn't be met or possible, but all of life is like that...after all, Pae isn't married to Chris Hemsworth or Hugh Jackman; She lucked out and got me!!! So we're cool with those types of things.

Overall, I think we are going about our search and all of the consideration in the right way. We are being open, we are trying to temper our excitement but at the same time allow ourselves to dream.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Coming to America Update 20180814 Cost of Living

Today is the day before payday, so I had money and bills on my mind. Life here in Thailand is pretty easy once you get past immigration and all of the red tape that staying in the Kingdom requires on an every three month basis. Once an expat gets used to it though, it's just like anything else in life; get used to it, accept it, suck it and do it.

Today I was looking at job postings on a government job site. I was looking for jobs in Hawaii, for fun and just in case there was something that fit my experience and skill set.

Obviously, accounting jobs are something that I'll look at, even though I'm not overly excited about getting back into the world of cubicles and late, late nights with ridiculous deadlines that often require an extra few hours in a 24 hour day. I look though.

An observation that I made while looking at available accounting positions with the government in Hawaii is that your job better be the household's SECOND job.

The starting government "rank" or pay grade for an accountant with a degree in accounting, in Hawaii, is what is called GS-5 which starts at just over $33,000 in most cities in the states, but is adjusted for cost of living to just above $34,000 in Hawaii.

The pay grade that I would be looking at (stretching it a little with only 3 years of experience at Deloitte as a senior associate and being 12 years removed from the industry) is GS-11. The standard rate is just over $61,000 annually. Adjusted for living in Hawaii, the rate nears $63,000.

Hey, I lived in Hawaii back in the 90's making less that $15,000 annually, but then again, I had everything taken care of for my by the Marines; housing, food, medical insurance, dental, retirement if I stayed in, life insurance if I died...etc., so being technically well below the poverty line was no big deal.

I haven't lived in Hawaii in 25 years but I do know that I struggled there once I got out of the Marine Corps and tried to live there, single, on part time jobs and no schooling. I ended up running away with my tail tucked between my legs, having failed miserably in nearly every aspect of my life (between end of active service in the Marines until I stepped on the plane to leave HNL forever).

It gives me little confidence to think that I could possible go to Hawaii and work a job I don't really enjoy, for at worst (as a GS-5) $73 dollars more monthly than the average government job pays in most other cities around the U.S. and best case scenario (as a GS-11) making $130 more monthly. I did the math...It's right, but I just doesn't "seem right" based on my idea of how much life costs in Hawaii compared to say, Idaho or Arizona.

Those margins don't seem to add up when I think of making ends meet. This has led to a quick shut down of my search for a job in Hawaii ;)

Not really, I am still searching pretty much nationwide. It does make me have to deal with the reality of the situation, but I'll still search Hawaii...maybe we can live with Mom and Dad when they retire there in a year or two...Then it'll be a little closer to living as a Marine than living in poverty ;)

So, that's where the job search and potential move back home stands.

Have an application being looked at right now, but don't have my hopes up. We will certainly keep you up to date with everything that happens in our quest to return to America!

Aloha **the Hawaiian language doesn't cost me anything :)
Pae and Guy

Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Foto - Aloha from Bangkok - 20180803

It's Friday! Another opportunity to stick up a Friday Foto and have I got one for you!!!!

This one I stole from Pae's Facebook page. We had gone toget Bubble's hair cut last week and I remembered that there was a new doggy cafe about 50 meters from his haircut place. Bubble, who is not used to other dogs, tried to avoid all of the chihuahuas that were following him around. We went to the roof where they had some artificial turf and just hung out, and Pae took this selfie with the Buubs.
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