Tuesday, May 03, 2011

why turkmenistan?

I am getting the sense that I need to explain this next work assignment a bit better. Turkmenistan isn't exactly near the top of any quality of life surveys. Instead, it finds itself near the top of less desirable lists. There will be issues with medical care, connectivity, travel restrictions, etc. I am not sure the what the full extent of any of the hardships there will be like until I arrive. It is, without a doubt, going to be a very eye-opening experience.

What will I be doing? It'll be more similar to my job role in Hungary than the last one I had in Gabon. In that sense, slightly more technical and sales/marketing focus, but operations will always be close by. It is mostly a lateral move though saying that makes it sound like it's not a good thing for me when I am quite confident it will be good.

What will life be like? It is a camp location. While the camp is not inside the operations base, the welcome booklet indicates it is a couple minute walk away. This is fine with me because then I don't have to drive which is actually something I have never really enjoyed as commuting combines both tedium and risk in a very unsatisfying way. However, I am not going to be in Turkmenistan to savor the tourist attractions and Silk Road history. I will be there to work and don't plan or foresee much other activity that will draw any meaningful amount of my time.

What are some reservations? Connectivity is perhaps going to be less optimal than any other location, but there will always be bandwidth for e-mails. My lack of writing, as always, will be driven by laziness and a gripping uncertainty about what to write about. Given that, please don't send me large attachments or YouTube links. I will not look at them.

Why is this a good thing? Rotation. I will be working what will generally be a 7x3 rotation, meaning 7 weeks on and 3 weeks off. But, and this is a very big but, I fully expect the rotation to vary from that, especially the first 1-2 shifts there as I need to get my cycle to fit in with my manager's time and other colleagues. This fundamentally means more time off. I have already worked 7 days a week for a few years now, really since my time in Texas. I can handle this. Plus, for me, a camp-like housing situation means fewer distractions and hassles. Frankly, I kind of hate grocery shopping. And don't hate cooking, but dislike the time it takes. Now, food will be prepared for me! Also, I expect a similar level of support-side difficulties as Gabon. This is obviously not a good thing, but it is something I have come to both expect and know I can cope with.

Once I get there, I'll pretend to keep promises about taking photos and writing home. Cheers.

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