The global response to humanitarian crises is the collective output of a complex ecosystem of communities, organisations and national and international governments, each facing a range of choices about how, where, when and how much they contribute to meet humanitarian need.” – GHA Report 2012
The Field Mission Dilemma: Feel Good, Be Good AND Do GOOD?
The Field Mission Dilemma: Choice and Access Reality Check
On a Field Mission you are based in a remote location, a conflict zone, or insecure area. Access to open space is bound by security restrictions, and you are often confined to a compound. Your choices are limited too. You cannot choose where to live, what to eat, where to exercise, or who to socialize with.
The Field Mission Dilemma – ‘Take it or Leave it?’
The work we do when on assignment/tour/mission is often for a common good that is seen as much bigger than us. ‘Save the world’, ‘Feed the Hungry’, ‘Fuel for a Country’, ‘Protect Women and Children’. How can you argue that these are not causes well worth fighting for? For an outsider you are a lifesaver, a hero, an adventurer, and all the other beautiful titles that you – the insider – do not quite recognise.
You get experiences you cannot always put into words, and it’s hard for those close to you to understand. The job satisfaction can be immediate and immense – yet draining, and overwhelming.
You see things that no photo would ever do justice – and to explain it all when you ‘come out’, does not come easy. For the outsider the photos and stories sound ‘extra ordinary’ and you hear: ‘What a wonderful experience!’ To you the insider — to process it all, so it makes sense, takes the edge off ‘wonderful’.
Take it? or..
You choose to do this because of the work that you do. It is a way of work that is a way of life. No such thing as 9-5 work / life balance in the classical sense. You work with the UN, NGO, Oil company, or local service provider. You are in a career situation as an Organisation Official, Air crew, Transporter, Medical staff, Missionary, Security – on the front line of humanitarian emergencies, natural disaster, or natural resource extraction. You work in places where friends and family say OH! when they hear it.
The employee, consultant, and contractor on the front line of these causes, are here based on choices made by themselves, or in fact made by others (reassignment). The drive to ‘do good’ comes with being based in remote locations, living in temporary constructions – and exposed to the realities of civil strife, human suffering, war, harsh climatic conditions, medical bugs and – yes! all sorts of bugs.
You cannot argue against the mission/the cause – because then you are not ‘worthy’ to take part – so goes the saying. Nor can you complain about the location – as is a result of conflict, natural disaster, or natural resources (gas, oil, minerals extraction etc).
Could the conditions within the location be changed, perhaps? While the employer work on a wellness programme time will pass as committees meet and discuss. You – the individual can start now to increase your wellbeing by doing small changes to how you eat, move, rest, and ‘think’.
Field Mission Dilemma: Take it – Then – Leave it!
The Field Mission Dilemma: How to be Fit for Purpose
The GOODista ‘Fit for Purpose’ Series will cover:
- How you came to be in this location (your choice or other factors?) and why a Choice to be fit, and Access to the same, makes a difference;
- How to make healthy food choices when access is limited;
- How to exercise within the confines of ‘living in a box’, a compound etc;
- How to deal with the very particular stress realities of a field mission;
- How to take care of your relationships when away;
- How to get peace of mind for yourself, and your loved ones when away – e.g. finding the insurance, medical coverage, legal tools (disputes, last will etc);
- How to negotiate your consultancy fee, contract pay, and employee conditions – as this is a key part of feeling good – too :);
- How to career plan for your next reassignment/move with expert advice, and links to top job sites when you want to work with NGO, UN and global contracting companies.
- How to find the best mission leave, R & R places, where relaxation and recuperation is really on the agenda.
- Which topics YOU want to see covered? Comment and Let us know!
- Global Humanitarian Assistance. Facts, Figures, Analysis – Global Humanitarian Assistance
- Working in the Field – UN Careers
- Why you might want to work in relief and development – and why you might not? – humanitarianjobs.wordpress.com
- Are you Ready to Be an International Aid Worker? – Red Cross Canada
- ReliefWeb The Specialised Digital Service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- Why Aid Workers are Targets – The Globalist.com
- The Luxury of Choice – The GOODista
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