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Should I take a job in Afghanistan?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by PettyOfficer, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. PettyOfficer


    Nov 24, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Any war profiteers here? I'm looking for advice from experienced folks who worked in Iraq or Afg as a civilian in a non-security role.

    My friend's firm is looking for people with engineering skills similar to my own, and he thinks I'd make over 200k tax free for a one year obligation.

    I'm married, no kids, have a good job that doesn't have a long shelf-life, and could use the cash to wipe some debt clear.

    I've deployed overseas when in the Navy, so as far as being away from home for extended periods of time: been there, done that.

    There does exist a risk, but nobody in his firm has been injured or killed (or come close) and he basically has an office job. Worst part is the 12 hour days, but it's not like there's much else todo.

    Any practical advice from experienced expats or war profiteers?!
  2. mixflip


    Mar 4, 2009
    Well... ever since the Koran burning, I'd say its a pretty foolish employment choice to go to work in Afghanistan now. The translators and police that are assigned to help you will most likely be the ones to put a bullet in your infidel head sooner or later.

    Yes it was a risk before, but its even more so now. Screw A-stan. I dont want to build their nation when my own nation is on the brink itself. I vote to keep your mind and body here in America and put all your assets to good work here. Thats my opinion but it my opinion aint worth much lol.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012

  3. Padre


    Jan 23, 2010
    Republic of Texas
    Working in Iraq right now...on my second tour here.
    You don't get 200K tax free. If you stay out of country for 330 days, then you get 91.5K (I think) tax free. The other 110K is taxed at the 91.5K rate.
    As far as A'stan, honestly can't give you and advice. Here in Iraq it is getting "interesting" but you do what you have to do for your family.
    Stay away from home for a year...and bank a nice sum of money to help your family.
    That's what I'm doing.
    Take care and if you do decide to join us...good luck. Be safe
  4. Detectorist


    Jul 16, 2008
    I'd go in a heartbeat.
  5. Go for it my friend. Its not that bad there really.
  6. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Happy Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    Bend Oregon

    He 'thinks' wrong. Make sure the rest of his story is not BS also.
  7. Where can I sign up?
  8. Booseman


    Feb 26, 2012
    Lake Charles, LA
    I worked in Iraq for 6yrs and I am now in Afghanistan. Dont worry about the book burning, it was an isolated incident. One of the previous posters is correct, in a way. You will have to be out of the states for a minimum of 330 out of ANY 12 consecutive calender months. If you accomplish that you will receive a $95,100 deduction for 2012. You will deduct that from your total gross for the year and then pay taxes on the remainder on a very weird scale, way to difficult to explain here.

    They living conditions suck, that is the only way to describe it. Its either freezing cold or hot as hell in the tents, you can only heat and or cool a tent so much.

    Everywhere you turn there are TCN's (third country national's) from India, Nepal and so on that are just filthy nasty individual's. They will literally poop on a toilet seat and leave it there.

    Your laundry will be stolen by the TCN's while they are washing it for you.

    You will work 12 hours a day 7 days a week. At times you will feel like putting a gun to your head. But then when you see that paycheck you will say to yourself, "I can do this for another month" and so on.

    You will be tired and cranky all the time and your family will not understand and you will not be able to properly explain it so they can.

    There is much more but I don't want to write a novel in a forum. If you feel that you can deal with all that and the separation from the loved ones, than hell yeah, do it!!

    It can be a very rewarding job at times and very monotonous at times as well.

    If you have any more questions please feel free to PM me. I am writing this from Afghanistan by the way.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  9. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    I've been to Afghanistan and worked with plenty of contractors, but as a soldier, not a civilian. I would and did volunteer to go for military pay, so if somebody had offered my $200K to go, I'd quit my civilian job and be gone before they could change their minds.

    I had a comfortable conex box to sleep in and plenty of decent food and a relatively stress-free life compared to being a lawyer here. Unless you get scared easy, do it.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  10. Glock19Fan

    Glock19Fan Cool Guy

    Mar 25, 2003
    I am in Afghanistan right now (soldier) and here is my opinion.

    95 percent of the civilians working here have jobs that operate on large bases. And the ones that do have to leave (very rarely), they are provided security by at least a platoon sized element. The biggest risk for civilians are rocket attacks and mortar attacks, although every work station and living quarters on large bases usually has a bunker, and sirens to warn the base of incoming.

    I am on a small outpost, and the only civilians out here are MANTECH (RG and MATV mechanics). Being an engineer, you may travel to different places to oversee projects, but you would probably never stay at a small outpost (OP) or combat outpost (COP) overnight.

    From the time I have been on large bases (which is where you would most likely be), the living conditions seem to be pretty good considering. The dining facilities have good food (relative), there are usually several American restaurants (the large base nearby has a KFC, Dairy Queen, TGIFridays, and several burger places), and living conditions are typically built up connex's, at the most 2 each. Internet services are provided just about everywhere, and MWRs are always available (pool tables, ping pong, video games, movie theater type setups).

    So, coming from a soldier who has been there done that, twice, I would DEFINATLY jump on the offer, especially if you wouldnt have a problem being away from family.

  11. Glock19Fan

    Glock19Fan Cool Guy

    Mar 25, 2003
    A couple of more things to add-

    First, being a civilian engineer, chances are you would rarely get your hands dirty. A big part of the reintegration phase in Afghanistan is hiring locals, so changes are you would just inspect/design/whatever, while the locals and possibly military engineers do the actual work.

    Also, your job here would likely be clearly defined, so 12 hours in an office probably isnt realistic for an engineer.
  12. PettyOfficer


    Nov 24, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Yeah, waiting for more info and a chance to set up a Skype chat. Time difference is a pain.
  13. PettyOfficer


    Nov 24, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I doubt my type of engineering would require me to leave... Not mechanical construction or civil.

    Brother, as a fellow veteran, I think we all learned that lesson when we enlisted! NAVY- Never Again Volunteer Yourself... I don't let a cell phone contract go unread.

    Thanks for the info. Stay safe.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  14. PettyOfficer


    Nov 24, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I can't really say what my work would entail, but I can say I'm in software, a code monkey. 12 hour days is realistic and definitely not laborious or dirty in any way - low risk too: just going blind from staring at a monitor, carpal tunnel and a fat *** from sitting around all day (other than the mortar and rocket attacks apparently).
  15. jilverthor


    Apr 11, 2004
    Parker, CO
    I would say go for it. I have deployed as a contractor multiple times and as mentioned, the large bases are reasonably safe, comfortable, and enjoyable. The pay regarding taxes works as follows. The first $95k is tax free but the remainder is taxed at the marginal rate. Basically, compute what you would have paid in taxes for a salary of $95k, and subtract that from your actual taxes (in 2011, it was about a 15k tax credit if married, $20k is single). This only applies if you are out of the states for 330 days out of a 365 day period.

    The job will always involve long hours, and a struggle to stave off boredom when you are not working. I have lived in b-huts, tents, CHU's, and wet CHUs. I have lived in a room by myself, with another person, and with 19 other folks, it all depends on the location and contract.

    Once you find out the actual job and are convinced you are well qualified and reasonably compensated, give it a shot. One thing you will find is that contractors can sometimes end up with the short end of the stick. Several places have military only hours (px, dfac, ...) and medical care is generally the responsibility of the company to arrange through a private service. The military will see you only for life, limb, or eyesight reasons.

  16. PettyOfficer


    Nov 24, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Thanks JilverThor.. I chatted with my buddy over Facebook today and I'm leaning closer: just need pay/benefits info and to read the contract (if one is offered that is).

    He said he works on base but lives in a hotel off base. The company pays for everything and that there is a ton of security (civ and mil) everywhere.

    He's not allowed to carry, said its a new policy because lots of the contractors were yahoos without any legit training.

    Not having the ability to carry is good and bad.

    I think he was pulling my chain when talking about having a Steyr Aug A3 at his desk. But I wouldn't be surprised if one of the multinational security forces that protects his compound has an Aug.
  17. nursetim


    Mar 1, 2006
    liberalville N. M.
    If they are looking for medical support, I know an NP that would be willing. :whistling:
  18. RichJ


    Jan 26, 2009
    Why would that job require you to be in A-stan to do it? You can code from anywhere.
  19. janice6

    janice6 Silver Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    they don't give a crap that you want to help them..Just look at their protest signs. To Hell With Freedom.
  20. PettyOfficer


    Nov 24, 2011
    Houston, TX
    Just know that the systems require a security clearance and this job is in support of those systems.

    Also, it pays a lot more than stateside, with 90k tax exempt, so why not work in AF?