It's not like we haven't been looking at quasi-lists or pre-lists or kinda-sorta-lists for months already, but yesterday the real, honest, bonafide list came home.
Bidding is a strange season. There's a lot of pent-up excitement waiting for the list to be released, then there's the let-downs as posts drop off, renewed excitement creating Excel sheets of potentials, curiosity as we plunge into the research of schools and jobs, annoyance when e-mails go unanswered, nail-biting as the season progresses and hopes are pinned on one particular post, and finally joy when there's a solid hand-shake.
This time we have these considerations. Some are obviously carry more weight than others, but they all have their place in the decision-making:
The job - of course that's where our list begins. Ian wants to go back to Consular work, so we have the Consular list in hand.
The level - Ian is an 03 and is up for promotion to 02 this summer. This creates a bit of a pickle. Obviously, we hope he gets his promotion so we're looking heavily at the 02 positions. But.... what if he doesn't? Not everyone gets their promotion the first time it's up so we're looking at the 03 positions as well, just in case. The problem then is that some of the 03 jobs look really great. Like Lima, Peru great. How do you balance your heart really liking an 03 position while your brain obviously preferring the promotion? Ack.
The school (part 1) - High School is top priority. It has to have a great school through all sections, but typically a school that has a great HS will also have great lower schools. We'll have 2 kids in HS at our next post, so this is deal-breaker.
The school (part 2) - We want an IB program, to the point that we've enrolled Katherine in a school outside our bounds in order for her to take advantage of the IB program. Continuing in that vein is important to us.
The medical care - We'll need good health care options in-country.
The travel options - OK, a want. But still, a very strong want. We've missed traveling the past couple years.
The school (part 3) - Activities. I know this one seems odd, but a school that doesn't have band/orchestra or swimming or drama would be very hard for me to accept.
Starbucks - No, seriously. OK, not that seriously. We'd take a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf too.
Our lists are due in October but in the mean time Ian talks to people and more people, and then more people. He says it's been nicer this year already because he knows many of the people already in those positions, or their underlings because of his current job. The process ends when one of the posts offers Ian a hand-shake on a specific position and he's then paneled into that position.
October can't come soon enough.