We all have our own individual reasons for being drawn to humanitarian work. For some it is an easy decision, but others it takes a very thoughtful process to make our decision. For me, personally, I have no doubt that this is what I was meant to do. But that doesn’t mean that it was easy. I miss relationships of course, but also the little things, like having a warm bedroom and a hot shower. But even so, this is where I want to be.
The entire process took a bit of time. They ask you what your aim for departure date would be, and I had given myself a year so that I could give up my apartment and car leases and be able to prepare.
I submitted my application online, and I received an email back immediately confirming receipt. After that, it took about 2-3 weeks to receive word. First, I had a telephone call/interview. A few weeks later, I wrote an online multiple-choice exam. About a month after the exam I wrote a budget test and then another month or so I had a formal interview, which due to my distance being in Vancouver and the interviewer from the office in Toronto, took place over Skype.
There was a lot of preparation after the interview, including “welcome days” general training, finance specific training, vaccinations, and getting a medical clearance report completed by my doctor.
After a total of about 6 months, I was put forward for the finance pool, and once the head office accepted me, I was matched to my first assignment in Yemen. At first, my HR officer asked if it would be something I would be interested in. I was told that if this weren’t suitable that they would find me something else. They provided me with several reference documents to find out more, and gave me time to think it over. There was no pressure at all, and I appreciated their approach.
This last part of the process happened a lot faster than I had expected. I was booked for training, and found out that I could be deployed directly from training. Because it was sooner than I had anticipated, I quickly gave my notice at work, and sold my car, and was (sort of) ready to go…