RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (November 14, 2017)--After following her husband's military career, it was finally Sharon Mister's turn to decide where to go, and her heart was set on Saudi Arabia. It took a lot of convincing, and some tears, to persuade her husband, Calvin, to follow her career this time.
Mister accepted a job as a Payroll Technician with the Office of the Program Manager, Saudi Arabian National Guard (OPM-SANG) in May 2016.
"I cried, threatened and explained that I followed his Army career for 25 years. I am asking just one thing, and that is that he come with me for my career now," Mister said. Mister explains, "Calvin finally agreed with me, that for a promotion for my career he would come with me…I took this assignment not only for the promotion, but I wanted to travel too."
So, the Misters took a leap of faith and traveled to OPM-SANG. While Sharon started work right away, Calvin enjoyed retirement.
Sharon recalls, "When I would call him from work to check on him, he would actually be sitting outside by the base pool."
Sharon didn't mind this, as she was enjoying her job and the friends she was making at work. "I was enjoying coming home to dinner on the table and the laundry done," Mister said.
After a few months of retirement, Calvin found employment with OPM-SANG.
"I applied for a job with the Support Branch and was hired as a local hire supply specialist," Calvin explains. "After retiring from the Army, I worked logistics as a contractor and I really enjoyed it. I work out at the Saudi Air base now, and I love it."
The Misters are now one of a handful of married couples working for OPM-SANG.
Despite working full-time jobs, they were still able to fulfill Sharon's desire to travel to other countries and to enjoy the culture of Saudi Arabia.
"We have been able to travel to Ethiopia, Paris, Germany, and Amsterdam," they said. Calvin added, "The travelling was relaxing this time--the other time I was in Europe, I was in the military and always working."
"The only negative I have is that I gained about 20 pounds from all the wonderful food," Sharon explained. "But it has been worth it, and I'm slowly taking that off," she added.
When asked what has been one of the tougher things to adjust to since arriving in Saudi Arabia, they both agree it is definitely the traffic and having to adjust to the stores closing during the six different prayer times held throughout the day. Another challenge they mentioned is the separate areas for just men and another area for families.
"That took some getting used to," they said. Sharon even finds wearing the abaya a very easy choice because she never has to worry about what to wear when she leaves the base.
The Misters will be celebrating their 30-year wedding anniversary next year and they are planning on celebrating with a trip to Australia.
"We have always wanted to go there, and this is the perfect occasion" they said in unison. "Following my wife has been the best decision I've ever made," Calvin added.
The Misters would encourage anyone to take an assignment with OPM-SANG, and if you can bring your spouse, that's a bonus.
"We have just enjoyed being together and experiencing the culture--it's sort of like a honeymoon, only longer."
If you are interested in working for OPM-SANG in Saudi Arabia, please go to USAjobs for current job listings.