Thursday, October 27, 2016

So what am I doing now?

Someone who followed my blog asked why I quit posting FM updates.  I don’t know why I stopped….I guess I felt like I had said everything interesting.  But after thinking about his email – I’ve decided to start posting again and I realize I’ve actually got a lot to say.

So what am I doing now?

Right now, I am the Contracting Officer Representative (COR) for the Operations and Maintenance Support Services (OMSS) contract in Iraq.  I’m based at the Baghdad Embassy Compound (BEC) and support three Alternate-COR’s (A/CORs) throughout the country.  I am not a Facility Manager (FM) here in Baghdad even though the COR job must be held by an FM.  

Not my office....or my view. :(

Unlike a “normal” Embassy where the maintenance technicians work directly for the FM, in Baghdad the maintenance services are handled by a huge maintenance and construction firm called PAE based in Arlington, VA.  The FM shop here Baghdad has no technicians…all of the technicians and supervisors work for PAE.  FM instructs PAE staff do maintenance and construction work, but all of FM’s requests need to be within the scope of PAE’s OMSS contract with the US Government.  That’s where my team and I come in.  The COR (me) and the A/CORs ensure that PAE performs the work required by their contract and doesn’t perform work outside their contract.  If a request for work outside PAE’s contract comes up – then my team works with AQM to get funding for the w.  It’s a very different way of doing maintenance and it was a big adjustment from “normal” FM work.

The work is very admin intensive and I work +65 hours per week to stay on top of things, but it’s been an interesting change from a regular FM assignment.  Besides, I can do anything for 1 year. J

Jacci and the kids are still in Jerusalem.  When you take as assignment at a Priority Staffing Post (PSP) like Baghdad or Kabul, your family has the option of returning to the USA or staying at your previous Post.  Since Jacci, Max, and Siena like Jerusalem and it’s “close” we opted to keep them in Jerusalem and not uproot the kids too many times.  It really makes R&R’s and Skype calls easier as Jerusalem and Baghdad are on the same time zone.

Speaking of R&R’s – I get 3 during the course of the year.  So that’s one R&R about every 3 months…..believe me – you need it.  There is so much work and since we do not leave the Embassy after 3 weeks I was climbing the walls to get out.  I just got back from our first R&R.  Two weeks in Greece and one week back in Jerusalem.  It was wonderful!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

After a year away...I'm back to talk about FM life.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Two websites you should never, ever go to.

William Penn said "Time is what we want most, but what we use worst."  He's right....we waste so much of our time doing unproductive and mindless things.

Allow me to introduce you to the two most pointless, annoying, and time wasting "Foreign Service" websites and why you should avoid them:

1) Trailing Houses

Remember liveliness on yahoo?  If you wanted to post a question on liveliness you actually had to go to yahoo and login before you could post.  Then you had to go back to yahoo and login to look for the answers.  That's makes sense.  Since it was a bit of work to get the items posted, I suspect a good number of people either didn't bother or ended up emailing the CLO or the appropriate person to get the answer.  Sadly, liveliness is dead/dying and replaced with a facebook group Trailing Houses.  I guess it supposed to be easier.  

Actually, it is easy.  It's too easy...too easy to post and too easy to respond.  If I see one more post starting with "I just had to share this..."  I'll pluck my eyes out.  No, you don't have to freakin' share this - you really, really don't.  Gripe to your friends at "wine night" or complain to your spouse, but seriously, no one cares how long you got delayed in the airport with 3 kids and how United didn't have you sitting together.  No one cares, because it's happened to all of us.  Move on.

And to the folks who feel like they need to offer sympathy, or smiley faces, or hugs, or to pile on the righteous indignation - for cripes sake don't you have something better to do?  You're the same people who send emails with "You're welcome" in it.  It's unecessry to say "you're welcome" after I say "thank you."  It is simply not needed.

This is why I delete my facebook page several times a year....


If this website had some ads on it to make the web-designer some money, I'd be less irritated.  I've created a few websites myself to make some money on click-thru's.  But there no ads on this site which means the person created the webpage to either: 1) get back at someone they hate by trashing their reviews or 2) is self-promoting to land a good assignment.  Either reason is enough to stay away from this thing.

You can see today there are 56 people signed up.  Two days ago there were 30.  Did I sign up under a fake name and give myself a high rating?  Did I get my wife to do the same? ....maybe...  And the guy in Gabon that I really, really ....well, you get the point.  

There is absolutely nothing good that will come out of this website.  At its worst - people who make tough, unpopular decisions, but are good employees risk getting trashed by embittered collegues.  Probably the same people posting on Training Houses.

But, just to be clear - if this thing takes off I'll write good things about you for $5 per review.  Email me and we can talk...