Introducing Liz Cotton and the Wotshelike band … with “Hardship Post”:
Welcome to a first in what will hopefully be a new series called Tuesday Triangle Tunes! Once per month, I’ll share some expat / repat / life abroad related songs for you!
Today, I’m introducing the sometimes crude, always honest Liz Cotton and her band WotSheLike with their song, Hardship Post.
Our very first home as an expat family was in Delhi, India, which was classified as a hardship post. But what IS a hardship post?
A hardship post is a term used in the United States Diplomatic Service to describe a diplomatic post where living conditions are difficult due to climate, crime, health care, pollution or other factors. Employees assigned to such posts receive a hardship differential of between 10 and 35 percent of their salary.
From an article on CNN, I found these comments:
What defines a hardship post? There is the question of war and personal security, but for the average multinational company much more is involved — health services, education, climate, language, how remote the place is and the availability of goods.
“Traditionally a hardship posting is defined as one which presents particularly onerous or unhealthy conditions,” Sarah Collins of Sterling Corporate Relocation told CNN.
“It does depend on the individual and there are certain people who, when taken away from their frames of reference, their support networks, their friends and families, would find pretty much anywhere a hardship,” she reiterated.
Re-location advisors say that success and enjoyment in a hardship post depends on attitude and that planning is essential, as is getting advice.
That piece of the quote that I’ve put in italics, I found, was so true! There were people who THRIVED in Delhi, in spite of the label “hardship post” and there are people who can barely get out of bed in some place like Singapore, which is nicknamed “Expat Lite” because of its general ease of lifestyle and lack of struggles.
I find often that expats rank the level of their hardiness by the locations they’ve lived. “Oh, that was where you lived? WE lived in _______.” (as if it earns them extra badges or jewels on their expat crown) I have talked to countless Triangles who then struggle with feeling as though they aren’t worthy enough because they lived somewhere “so easy.”
What do you think? Should the insinuation of having lived through a hardship post be relegated to days of past and instead focus more on the quality of life that a family / individual / couple is bringing to their current adopted / host country? Should we stop talking about hardship posts and instead simply support and encourage each other, regardless of where we’ve lived?