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I need some advice about civilian contractor work in Kuwait.

calebibcalebib Senior MemberColoradoPosts: 1,701 Senior Member
So, it looks like I might have the opportunity to work in Kuwait for a year as a gunsmith/armorer at Camp Doha. The pay looks pretty good, around $100k+, but I have some questions.

First, is it typical for this type of job to be offered without even so much as an interview? I got a call from a recruiter for ITT Exelis Mission Systems in Colorado Springs to confirm some information on my resume which I submitted through Monster.com, he seemed pleased with my resume and stated that he was putting me through to the next level of recruitment. I was expecting maybe an interview at some point but to my great surprise, this afternoon I received an offer letter from them.

Second, what's the deal with income tax for this sort of job? I know there are some exemptions for around $90k if you live there for a full year but what if I still have a residence here in the US? I would be going by myself, my wife would be staying here for her job. This would have to make good financial sense for me to go spend a year working my tail off in the desert.

Third, what sort of work environment would I be in? I'm sure it would be a lot of work and they stated in the offer letter that the typical work week is around 72 hours so it would seem that they intend to get their moneys worth out of me. I intend to call them tomorrow to get these and other questions answered but any input you all could provide would be greatly appreciated. And thanks to Big Chief for the advice he has already provided.

Replies

  • NNNN Senior Member NCPosts: 25,221 Senior Member
    A guy down the street worked as an ele. worker in Iraq, he had to stay outof the USA for the year and his wife had to go to Europe for visits. They own a home that the wife lived in, so that part is not a problem for you.
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Sovereign SCPosts: 5,463 Senior Member
    The tax free part means for the year you are out of the country for all but weeks for the year. You also usually sign over certain rights while over yander..... But as far as the lack of interview, somewhat normal. I was.. close to going over for a year as a firefighter.
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • calebibcalebib Senior Member ColoradoPosts: 1,701 Senior Member
    Gotcha, so I would need to be completely out of the country for a year, no visits home. A major complicating factor is that we just put in an offer on a house yesterday!
  • calebibcalebib Senior Member ColoradoPosts: 1,701 Senior Member
    The tax free part means for the year you are out of the country for all but weeks for the year.

    Got it.
  • calebibcalebib Senior Member ColoradoPosts: 1,701 Senior Member
    BPsniper wrote: »
    Kuwait City is the most miserable place I've ever been on earth. It was so hot and humid, I thought I was going to melt. Stupid high temps and ocean humidity. Enjoy. :-)

    Oh joy.
  • NCFUBARNCFUBAR Senior Member North CarolinaPosts: 4,324 Senior Member
    First on the taxes, check with an accountant for state and federal rules ...

    Next I'm not sure about now of but there use to be a per diem for living expenses while over there so see what the case is now ...

    Camp Doha is DRY (no beer!) and strict on the respect of Middle Eastern culture so you work, you sleep and that's about it.

    See if you can negotiate 2 or 3 "paided vacations" back to the US to see the family, like every 3 or 4 months on there dime for the plane ticket.

    Doing it while married sucks but you can pay a lot of bills off. Good luck and if you just think about it you really can do anything for 1 year if you want to for a good reason ...
    “The further a society drifts from truth ... the more it will hate those who speak it."
    - George Orwell
  • calebibcalebib Senior Member ColoradoPosts: 1,701 Senior Member
    NCFUBAR wrote: »
    First on the taxes, check with an accountant for state and federal rules ...

    Next I'm not sure about now of but there use to be a per diem for living expenses while over there so see what the case is now ...

    Camp Doha is DRY (no beer!) and strict on the respect of Middle Eastern culture so you work, you sleep and that's about it.

    See if you can negotiate 2 or 3 "paided vacations" back to the US to see the family, like every 3 or 4 months on there dime for the plane ticket.

    Doing it while married sucks but you can pay a lot of bills off. Good luck and if you just think about it you really can do anything for 1 year if you want to for a good reason ...

    I should have added housing is paid for as is transportation to and from (not sure about leave flights), they also offer two $1000 leave bonuses.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Living in a van, down by the river.Posts: 14,039 Senior Member
    BPsniper wrote: »
    Kuwait City is the most miserable place I've ever been on earth. It was so hot and humid, I thought I was going to melt. Stupid high temps and ocean humidity. Enjoy. :-)

    Talking with a reservist who went to Iraq via Kuwait, he said to do this to simulate Kuwait:
    1. Turn your oven on as high as it can go.
    2. Open the oven door and place a box fan blowing out in front of it.
    3. Stand there for 3 hours, and imagine that all day long.
    4. If you want to simulate the humidity, put a large tub of water in front of the fan so it picks up that moisture.

    He actually said he preferred the weather in Iraq.
    I'm just here for snark.
  • NyGunownerNyGunowner Banned Posts: 328 Member
    Fer crissakes, it beats the heck outta being unemployed in San Diego or Fresno with no AC. If ya can sock away some serious dough for ONLY a one year sacrifice, go for it. MANY people are away for 2.5 out of 4 years on uncle sam's GI plan and they live through it.
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Everyone is right. The weather there is horrible...I mean some of the worst crap on earth horrible. And in the winter the wind blows like a dang hurricane and if you are already acclimated the winter's 50 degrees feels like 20 degrees. The year will go by as fast as you want it. The busier you are, the faster it will go. Most of the ITT guys I have worked with get PX and us support privileges while over there. So. That will help...the thing about ITT though. They seem to be the bottom of the barrel on the contractor list. We all know that cream is not the only thing that floats..but ITT whasn't caught on to that. So the cream will jump ship another contract company because they are tired of having to put up with the crap...then you come in to the work environment that has nothing but crap left and jump ship or just let the contract run its course and run away...meanwhile, the crap floats by and keeps collecting dough...and it is an endless cycle....A lot of the crap they pick up are the army E4/5 that were too sorry, lazy, worthless, or stupid to get promoted and got out or got kicked out. You will find some retirees that are there setting themselves up for the rest of retirement....
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • calebibcalebib Senior Member ColoradoPosts: 1,701 Senior Member
    Well, that explains a lot. I guess they're not too picky about who they hire, hence the lack of interview. Maybe I should look into work with other companies and let this ITT job go, the pay offered does seem to be on the low end of what others are offering.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 9,705 Senior Member
    A buddy of mine served some of his stint in Kuwait shortly after Gulf War One. His impression was not far off of BP's - kind of a pit.

    I can't tell you jack about the tax situation, but as an armorer, I can say that you'll pick up A LOT of credibility when you can correctly diagnose and fix stuff - especially when you do it in five minutes while the end-user is standing right there and even more so if you pull it off in the field. You will get VERY good at figuring out which parts you need a lot of in your inventory, which parts you don't, and you may get in some teaching time showing people how NOT to break what you give them.

    What it looks like to me is that you've got an opportunity to essentially get a master's degree in keeping guns running under less than ideal conditions, sock away a good chunk of change doing it, and be pretty darned employable in the gun-wrenching trade when you get back. You'll probably get an opportunity to learn the workings of fairly exotic stuff (in civilian eyes), which will give you a wider understanding from which to approach the more mundane stuff like 1911's and Mauser '98's

    $100K for an 80 hour work week is $50K for a more sedate pace, so really you're just packing two years into one and not really making all that much per hour (not that I'd likely want to go out and do much other than stay inside and work on guns in Kuwait anyway). Yeah, it'll be good money to throw at the house and assorted bills, but what you should be looking at is if you are really getting the long-term career bennies I'm guessing at.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Manistee Natl ForestPosts: 18,291 Senior Member
    calebib wrote: »
    Gotcha, so I would need to be completely out of the country for a year, no visits home. A major complicating factor is that we just put in an offer on a house yesterday!

    Get a durable power of attorney for the wife...then she can handle the house buying on her own...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Pensacola, FLPosts: 10,831 Senior Member
    Sounds like references were needed........ on them.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • centermass556centermass556 Senior Member Posts: 3,579 Senior Member
    Calebib....I forgot to mention in my note that these other contract companies over there use ITT as their vetting process...so they are good for getting contacts and letting your name and face be seen by the other companies....
    For instance, buddy of mine..A SFC got out and took a commo job with ITT, served the bare minimum of his contract and jumped ship to man tech, from man tech he went with Lockheed Martin...I don't know who he is with now, but I know that he manages all the satcom links for every embassy in the centcom AOR...3,000 sq ft home in Utah paid for in a 6 yr span....if you want to go the contracting route, ITT will be a good stepping stone to start from. but remember it is stepping stone, you dont stay on one for longer than you have too...
    "To have really lived, you must have almost died. To those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Between Ft Lauderdale and MiamiPosts: 12,564 Senior Member
    You need to double check with your tax person as there is a very fine line in the number of days that you may step on US soil and keep the tax benefit. I believe you must spend atleast 301 days outside of the US to keep that first 92K tax free benefit.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • SirGeorgeKillianSirGeorgeKillian Senior Member Sovereign SCPosts: 5,463 Senior Member
    Something else to keep in mind... Over there you dont have any ATF... You can make any conversion you want as you please. THAT portfolio will look good on your resme.... :devil:
    Unless life also hands you water and sugar, your lemonade is gonna suck!
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    I'm in love with a Glock
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    I sent you a couple more Pms on Camp DOH- HA- HA, as we used to call it.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • WhitewookieWhitewookie Member South GeorgiaPosts: 181 Member
    Kuwait is hot...very hot. Can be humid near the coast like Camp Doha. When I was in Kuwait during Aug-Sept once we saw a week straight of 140+ temps with 85-90% humidity...Nothing moves in the daytime mostly.

    Camp Doha is not a bad local as far as Kuwait goes.

    If you come home, you are taxed for that quarter....Come home in Jan, you are taxed for Jan-Feb-Mar, etc., That is why most meet family in Europe for vacations and such. Also you are taxed for everything over 90 grand after deducting expenses, so keep goo records.

    Most contractor types, the guys who do this all the time say to figure your actual in-pocket pay at about 60-75% of the quoted amount. In other words a 100K gig is gonna net you about 60-75K.

    Also, the entire country is dry.

    $100K ain't bad money, but after doing 6 little fun trips in the Air Force it would take more than that to entice me back to the Middle East.
    RV,
    Harry
    "I never learned from a man who agreed with me." - Robert Heinlein
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