Ok, I promised we're going to try to do better about updates now that we're moving on, so here's another post.
I mainly wanted to cover what it's been like from my (Jesse's) perspective with applying for and getting this position. About 3-6 months after getting here, we decided Germany wasn't for us. I won't go into the details, but suffice it to say that we were not looking forward to another year and a half here. However, I found some language in my contract that freed us from the full 2 year obligation, and meant that after 1 year we could leave. I'm fuzzy on the dates, but sometime in the August timeframe, I started looking for jobs in earnest.
Here's the breakdown of what I did:
1) Updated resume (2 versions: Word and Text file)
2) Sent emails to previous associates mentioning my desire to find work in Korea/Japan and see if anyone had any leads (BTW, this is ultimately what ended up landing the job).
3) Did some research on the web to find the top 10 or so contracting companies with large contracts in Korea/Japan.
4) Opened accounts with the job sites for all of these employers, input resume information, and began checking for available jobs that met my criteria. Repeat every week until leads start solidifying.
What ended up happening was that I got a contact/introduction from a former co-worker to a hiring manager at CSC, my new employer. He mentioned that their contract in Japan was up for bid and that some jobs would be coming up, so I should apply for them when I saw them on the website. It would be Oct/Nov before the jobs appeared. This was pretty accurate, and when the jobs showed up, I applied for any and all that I was remotely or overqualified for. Seriously...I would have done just about anything. Then I emailed him and let him know I had done all the online stuff and was anxious to hear back from them. He kindly kept me appraised of the situation as a couple of delays to the contract award occurred. Once the jobs firmed up, he let me know that I'd hear from the actual managers on the ground if they wanted to interview me. They did, and after a failed attempt or two, we did a phone interview via skype, early in the morning. A couple of weeks then passed as we waited to hear back one way or another...this was interminable! But after a little prodding, I did hear back that the answer was yes!
What followed then was a phone call with HR to hammer out details of the official offer, and then another week until I actually got it. I believe in being above board with my current employer and let my manager know what was up, though I could not officially resign yet until the offer letter arrived with the start date. This was all occurring just as our guests for Christmas arrived (Steve, Mayen and LuAnne), so we were a little weirded out by the idea that we would be leaving in about a month, but could do nothing to get ready for that fact until everyone left on the 4th (2 days ago!). Not completely true, we did start asking questions and trying to line up people to take our car (etc...).
Speaking of which, a new lesson learned is not to ask too many questions about something free! I.e. MPS (military postal system) is a free method of mailing stuff from one base to another. We did this with all of our stuff from Kuwait to Germany. Great! So I was asking the local post office about how they did it here, and he must have gotten the gist of what I was talking about because he outright asked if I was *moving* permanently to Japan (which of course I was). Apparently, if you are doing this, you are not permitted to use the free MPS...you have to pay for it like normal (about $70 for maximum of 70lbs). Ugh! Of course everyone told us to just say we are mailing it to someone over there instead, but now that we know, we couldn't break the rules like that. Anyway...quite a bummer. And here we thought we had at least one thing figured out by now!
Anyway, we have been using the website Bookoo (which is heavily used here in Germany by the military folks) to sell our furniture and other stuff. We were blessed to know a new family who took most of our furniture in one fell swoop! Well, they will take it on Saturday at any rate. Most everything else has sold, and we are confident we know what to do with what won't. There is a recycling center on base that we can dump most anything at, and the local bike store can sell our bikes for us if we can't find buyers prior to leaving.
Today we spent the day packing up the big stuff that has packaging and boxes (sound system, playstation 3, iMac, etc...) and we shipped 5 packages. Someone came for Rowan's bed too. So now things are looking quite manageable as we end this week and go into the final stretch. We just need to pack up the clothes and little stuff into the gorilla boxes we bought, and I think we'll be ready in plenty of time!