Today’s post is written by the fabulously smart Jenna Mace. I had the privilege of working with her a few years back. Don’t worry if you have never heard of her… just wait, you will.
Jenna is an attorney with over 10 years of experience working with non profits, the United Nations and rule of law consulting companies. She has worked as both a legal officer and program manager for technical assistance and capacity building programs for projects dealing with property, anti-human trafficking, international human rights, legislative reform and rule of law. She has spent over six years working in post conflict zones and hardship posts in areas including Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sudan and Iraq, and is currently pondering life beyond the field. You can find her on twitter at @jennamace1
On and off for the past ten years, I’ve worked in the field. Legal jobs. Program Management jobs. UN. NGOs. Development Companies. Montenegro. Kosovo. Afghanistan. Sudan. Iraq. I’ve been fortunate in making lifelong friends, and bearing witness to some important moments in history. I’ve been unfortunate in working for more than my share of irrational, irresponsible, incompetent supervisors, but that is another blog (apparently some pseudo Sesame Street blog – dedicated to every insult that begins with the letter “i”).
But what happens when a field girl comes home? For good?
Insert the cliché here – you can take the girl out of the field, but can you ever really take the field out of the girl? And the answer, of course, is no. After witnessing such interesting locations, people, circumstances, and lifestyles, we are forever impacted. We are forever changed. And not only does that change affect the way we see the world, it affects the way we see ourselves. And what happens when we are no longer reading security reports and keeping a bag next to our beds in case we need to be evacuated? When we no longer have to wear body armor just to get to the airport? When we no longer have to make a run for a duck and cover when the incoming alarm goes off? What happens when the thrill we got from being adventurous on a daily basis is gone?
Does this mean that from now on, no matter what I do in my career, I will be bored? Will I end up spending my weekends base-jumping and volcano boarding? Will I spend my evenings crouched in the dark with all the doors and windows wide open, watching horror flicks? Will I resort to some dangerous, edgy behavior just to get that thrill back in my life? Because they write made for TV movies about people like that, you know. And it never turns out well for the thrill seeker in the end. Usually these are the kind of people that get profiled on American Justice or Investigative Reports.
So what to do, when you are transitioning from “risk taker” to “note taker”? Unfortunately, this is not the “answer” blog. This is the “question” blog. For now, I know that I’m trading something. That everyday adventure will be replaced with something I can only hope will be interesting, challenging, and rewarding. And maybe, just maybe, I will find a way to occasionally include something a little dangerous.
The rest is still unwritten.