Career Counseling In Kuwait
by Judy Acord, CCC, CT, CPRW
Who would have thought there was a need for Career Counseling in Kuwait? But, just as soldiers separate from the Army in the States and receive career counseling, their schedules frequently call for preparation to separate from the Army while they’re overseas. Thus, on Sept. 29, I was in the air from Richmond, bound for Newark, London then Kuwait, leaving comfortable Ft. Eustis, VA behind.
What greeted me at Kuwait City Airport was a lengthy process through immigration, then a ride to Camp Doha, through lots and lots of brown sand, past a herd of camels and finally to the gate, where I went through an in-depth security check. All proceeded well and I was dropped off at my training area, the multimedia center, where I organized supplies which had been Fed Exed in advance.
The remaining days of my two week stay were very involved with the career counseling portion of my assignment, consisting of two sections of soldiers scheduled back to back. The soldiers and I explored veterans’ benefits, the Pre-Separation Counseling Checklist, their Verification of Military Experience and Training and the Transition Assistance Program, all under the umbrella of ACAP (Army Career Alumni Program). It was a very rewarding period of time and gratifying to see each soldier target specific jobs and companies, generate a fine résumé document and participate successfully in a mock interview. Of course, we as a group explored the strategy involved with follow-up after the interview and efforts they could expend to help secure an offer and negotiate a satisfactory compensation package.
That area of the world has daylight from approximately 6 a.m. to about 6:30 p.m. Once the sun went down, lights came on. I was fortunate to be able to go to downtown Kuwait on two evenings and enjoyed the local markets and TGIFriday’s. Being a dry country, however, a margarita is still a margarita minus alcohol. Appropriate dress for western women is long pants or long skirts and, of course, I complied. Apparently, I learned, head or face coverings for Kuwait women is an independent decision which their families make.
There is a lot of recreation available, including city parks and elaborate amusement parks. Many families take advantage of the cooler evenings to socialize with their children and friends, enjoying this time following daytime temperatures of 110 degrees or more, common in September. Fortunately for U.S. personnel, air conditioning is common on Camp Doha. I was certainly glad!
All too quickly, the days flew by and soon I was packing up the training materials and getting ready for a 5 a.m. pick up and return to the airport. The return flights followed the same route as my arrival flights and the entire process went very smoothly. I even managed to get in a little snooze. Thus, the Army Career and Alumni Program ventured to South West Asia, with me as its proponent, and may just return again, next quarter.
Acord is a Certified Career Counselor, Certified Trainer and Certified Professional Résumé Writer, supported by an MBA. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.