I'm still months away from the opening of bidding season, but I. Am. Terrified.
I've looked through the Middle East bureau's projected vacancies for the next five years and convinced myself that I qualify for none of them, unless I want to do visa work in Dhahran (again) or manage the motor pool in Sanaa. Not gonna lie, y'all, neither of those positions or countries are any place to which I ever want to return. The awesome jobs I dreamed about in Beirut, Damascus, and Dubai? They don't appear to be open until sometime in 2014.
Let's leave aside even the positions: for my third tour, I have to lobby for assignments. It was so much easier when I gave some faceless bureaucrats a list of my top twenty choices and they picked for me. How in the hell am I going to convince a bunch of faceless bureaucrats to love me enough not to send me to Ethniklashistan? And even if I do get to Ethniklashistan, I will have to get there either 5 months before my tour in Istanbul ends or in three years - there doesn't appear to be anything available in between those arrival times.
I'm not the only one panicking. This week I've walked up to four colleagues' desks and caught them all looking at FS Bid (the bidding "tool" through which we allegedly are able to find gainful employment) or printouts of available positions. I've gotten emails from a billion people who evidently think they have enough wasta to get a post in Istanbul... meanwhile, I'm counting my chits and hoping enough people tolerate me that I can get to Khartoum and not Juba, or Monterrey instead of Juarez.
Oh dear god. I am so scared - and the bid list doesn't even officially come out for another two months.