Blogging has been a good thing for me, it helps me sort out my thoughts about becoming an EFM and my wife becoming a diplomat. Thinking about moving across the planet to a place where most people don’t speak my language for two years, then moving someplace else entirely, repeat for the next twenty years. Thinking about maybe not working anymore, because it’s not allowed or not possible. This is sort of like visiting a counselor once a week, only I’m basically talking to myself here.
So, a couple of weeks ago, I realized I was in a very bad mood, upset in general and not really sure why. It happened to be on a Friday, the day I work on this blog. And I realized, while talking to Diplowife, that I was really not handling this EFM thing well. It was after swearing-in day, and my EFM responsibilities were non-existent for a while and I went back to my normal daily routine, working in IT. But I realized I was feeling a lot of anxiety about my new role as an EFM, and it was starting to really get to me.
At lot of it had to do with my uncertain job prospects in China. As I’ve mentioned before, I won’t be able to work there, at least not doing anything like I do here in the states (IT consulting). I’ve switched jobs before, of course, but the uncertainty of this new life was causing stress. The unofficial motto of the Foreign Service is “It Depends”. That is, every situation is different, and nobody can give you a simple answer to any question. Uncertainty abounds in that job. Several of Diplowife’s colleagues have already switched assignments, just two months after Flag Day. I’m pretty sure we’ll wind up in Shenyang next spring, but you never know what could happen.
Anyway, I didn’t (and still don’t) know what I’ll do in Shenyang. Not working at all seems crazy to me, I’m only 43 years old, hardly old enough for retirement. It’s true that Diplowife’s salary will be plenty to support us, but what does that make me? It’s not like we have kids to take care of, so I wouldn’t be a respectable stay-at-home parent. I don’t think anyone would be convinced that staying home to take care of our cats is a worthy occupation. I suspect Diplowife would be pleased if I stayed home and pursued my interests in baking and charcuterie full-time.
So, should I take a part-time entry-level job at the Shenyang Consulate? I like the idea of going to work with Diplowife, and getting to know her colleagues. But the salary would be pretty bad, and the actual work looks pretty uninspiring. From time to time, I’ve been tempted to quit the IT racket and get into software development of some kind, and two years of home study in Shenyang could get me to the point where I could do it for a living. Diplowife and I talked this over, and I felt a lot better afterwards.
First world problems, right? Maybe so, but try to make time for yourself, and be aware that a giant upheaval of your life can really get to you. Pay attention to how you feel. Talk to your spouse, they are probably stressed out too, and it feels good to talk about it. Looking forward, I still feel anxiety about Shenyang, but I know Diplowife will be there with me and she’ll support me as a stay-at-home cat dad, or whatever I wind up doing.