My husband may go to Iraq

for six months. He’d have to leave around the end of August. I’m pretty bummed. We’re not military so it isn’t something that I ever considered as a possibility for us. I have tremendous respect for the military and their families, but when they joined they knew it was pretty much a guarantee that they may find themselves in a war. It never occurred to either of us that when we took the promising-looking job with a software company that they may require him to do this. So, having a pretty rough day at the moment. Anybody want to share it with me?

Yuck - they are making this part of the terms of his employment? If so, that really sucks. If not, then I guess it is a choice that you are making. If you are unhappy with that, I guess it still sucks. In either case, I guess you have 6 months to look for new employment that dies not require this, which is a benefit you have over the military.

Does he know where he is going to? There are some places over there where, aside from the separation, it is almost like being at home. He can get internet connection, satellite Television, and good food. Then there are the other places, but you don’t see many civilian software company employees in the remote areas. Have him find out where he is going then look it up on globalsecurity.org website. That will give him a general idea of what it will be like.

I know my opinions are kind of skewed, but I really do feel for you. Deployments aren’t easy even for those of us who know that we are going.
Best of luck to both of you.

SSG Schwartz

Yeah, six months is a long stretch for an unaccompanied civilian.

While it isn’t anything you signed up for, you need to decide now if it is something you want to do. If it is, go ahead and do it well, the both of you.

Doing that won’t make it any easier, but not doing that will make it harder. Trust me.

He works in software? So why does he need to be physically present to perform his work, its not like he’s a plumber or a bricklayer. What the hell is the rationale here?

Thanks for the support everyone, I very much appreciate it. I talked to my husband a few minutes ago and they told him he has ten days to consider it, and while they didn’t explicitly say “or else you’re fired,” it was something along the lines of, “It will be difficult to justify keeping your position if you were to be unwilling to go,” so whatever that ends up meaning. I’m not sure where he would be, I forgot to ask. I don’t know a whole lot about what exactly he does. He has clearance, so I’m not allowed to know about some of it. But some days he just seems like delegated company gopher! He’s been on several trips to different bases in the US to train troops on certain computer programs. I’m not sure what he would physically be doing while being there, if he’d be in one place or moving around or what. I guess we will give it a lot of consideration over the next ten days.

Thank you for not thinking bad of me when I know that this is one six-month period when many families have to cope with this over a career and have no say in it.

As a military spouse, I can definitely state that having mrAru away about half of the total time we were married and he was still in the navy was difficult at times because of my health issues, and loneliness issues as well but it is survivable. It is something you both need to be serious when considering.

What is your current lifestyle? Do you both go out for a ‘date night’ every week or so, are you accustomed to going out together regularly. Will you go nuts if you dont get out to the movies or whatever every week? If so, you can go with a friend. Is he going to feel slighted because while he is off slaving away you are going out and socializing?

Are you able to fix a leaky faucet/plunge or snake a toilet/kill the spider in the tub? Can you mow the lawn and toss the doggie poo back into the neighbors lawn or does the thought of nature turn you into Mr Monk? Can you afford a lawn service to do it for you?

Can you change a tire/add oil/find the fuse box in the car?

A military wife has to either make enough money to pay someone to do all these things or be able to do them adequately themselves. You are going to be in a similar situation. Sit down and think what it is he does to keep the household functional and how are you going to accomodate his not being there? Is it really worth the money[i hope they are going to pay him extra for going overseas…]

If the stuff breaks on site, especially if it is integrated with a whole bunch of other things, he can’t often fix it from 8,000 miles away.

Also, training troops on the thing is easier if you can look over their shoulder and point to stuff.

Things like this mean the difference between a system that works and that is used effectively and one that doesn’t and isn’t.

Jelymag, if you haven’t done so already, look up unemployment benefits in your state. IANAL but I believe that in some states you can collect benefits if your job moves to another city (or continent, in this case).

What financial benefits (aside from still being employed) will accrue as a result of his going to Iraq? There are certainly tax advantages in being employed overseas (IANA Tax Accountant but I believe such income is exempt from Federal tax). Will there be bonuses? Not to be morbid but if something happens to him, is there extra life insurance? (in fact, will his regular life insurance even cover if he dies while posted to a war zone). I don’t know that any of those outweigh the concerns over going to Iraq in particular, but with an overseas posting elsewhere they could turn the tables from “don’t go” to “go”. Will he get periodic trips back?

What’s your home situation? I don’t recall whether you have kids, or whether you work outside the home. Do you have family or lots of close friends near you to help the loneliness?

Og, that’s a horrible position to be put in. I would let them fire me before I let my employer force me to put my life at risk in a war zone.

Good luck in whatever decision you guys make.

When I was recently looking for another job, I got tons of approaches to work in the Mideast, including Iraq.

I didn’t go for quite obvious reasons. But the companies looking to put people there sure were trying to sweeten the pot.

That might be another thing to consider.

If your husband resigns himself to going anyway, who says it has to be for his current employer? Demand for people actually willing to fill the positions there might far outstrip supply, and he could do far better with another contractor in country.

Look into that as well. At the very least, it will strengthen his negotiating position with his current employer.

Just because his boss says he “has to” go to Iraq doesn’t make it true. He can tell his employer to go screw, he’s not going to Iraq, and if they want to fire him then they are perfectly welcome to.

On the other hand, if he’s not unalterably opposed to going, he can hold his threat of quitting over his employer’s head to demand lots more money. The only thing is, he has to mean it.

Well, in response to some of the above, I did some light browsing around for other jobs in his field and a number of them do mention up front that travel to Iraq is a possibility. But I didn’t consider that going to Iraq with some other company may be better than the one he is with now. Preliminarily, they said that for the time that he is there, he would make about $80k, which is roughly double what he makes right now. They mentioned that an immediate bonus and a little extra vacation leave before going is a possibility. And, increased life insurance was one of the first things my husband mentioned. It made me sick to my stomach to consider, so I told him I didn’t really want to hear about that aspect, that if it turns into reality, to just take care of it and leave the papers somewhere where I can find them if it turns out that I need them. (It’s a little hard not to be morbid about it, like Mama Zappa said.) We don’t have any children right now; ironically we had been discussing it recently. I’m a high school teacher so at least if he goes I won’t be sitting at home with only free time with which to allow my imagination to run wild. I have some family relatively nearby so I wouldn’t be totally alone. We haven’t discussed it much today, mostly because this morning I threw a fit when my father in law told my husband “Well it isn’t Jelymag’s decision to make.” Grrrr. Anyway, at the moment we’re leaning towards Lemur866’s first suggestion, tell his boss to go screw. :smiley:

Look at the insurance aspect carefully. Regular life insurance may not cover you if you get killed in a war, because the assumption there is that Serviceman’s Group Life Insurance would be the benefit to kick in.

Unfortunately, your husband isn’t a serviceman. Make sure he isn’t in some weird gap. If he was covered for a large amount, and his regular company life insurance is only 2x salary or somesuch, make them pay for a policy for the time he is over there.

It may have to be the company that arranges this - the premiums will be sky high, and this sort of cost should be passed along to the customer, as it is legitimate.

Don’t tell your insurance company you are going right off the bat - your regular rates will go up. But if all else fails, you’d better let them know and hope they cover it - otherwise they might reject a claim outright if something happens.

Just my opinion, but don’t go assuming that she is going to need the life insurance benefit. Get as much as you need . Yes, it is a good idea to check into it. He will likely by somewhere that the higher premiums are a cost of doing business. But find out where he will be. He may be in a relatively safe place and the pay and benefits well worth the six months over there.
All I am saying is the go or don’t go decision should not be made as to the policy payout. Jelymag If you want to PM me about what some of the safe places are or discuss what the conditions are like, feel free. I can tell you from experience what I did to prepare and what the wife did.

Best of luck.

SSG Schwartz

I spent over two years in Iraq and as Sgt says, there are wide differences in the leverl of danger depending on where he is going. If he is going to the Green Zone in Baghdad, then he is actually pretty safe. As a government contractor he will likely be in the middle of the Green Zone or some other very large base where he won’t be in much danger. I know it is freaky, but it is likely scarier than it sounds.

Word.

Believe it or not, most people who go to Iraq, don’t die.

But
The company better be prepared to deal with any health issues that come from this including, but not limited to, PTSD.