Career in NGO's
Career in Development Sector

Working in a Conflict Zone

We all have stories about working in dysfunctional offices, with whacky colleagues and under stressful deadlines. But even this cannot compare to working in a conflict zone, a place that is ravaged by war. If you have such experience, it can make your resume instantly attractive for employers.There are, of course, many challenges associated with working in a conflict zone.

First of all, there is a huge danger to your safety and well being. Bullets, mortars and artillery do not distinguish between combatant and civilian. Working in conditions with constant threat to your life, health and property will take its toll on you emotionally and physically. It takes a very strong person to continue working in such conditions. This person must also have strong, unconditional love for the community and people which they serve. This love and hope for better times will keep the fire of perseverance constantly ablaze.

The conflict itself creates a temporary population. These are people who have been caught in the crossfire and for many reasons cannot escape. This population is only concerned about their basic needs i.e. food, shelter and survival. They do not have the resources to buy products other than their basic necessities. They have a lot of health needs, but unfortunately, medical health is not always available or the health facilities cannot accommodate any new patients due to overpopulation and lack of resources. This, of course, presents huge financial problems for your business because, after all, every business must be profitable.

Simply keeping your business afloat under such circumstances is a huge accomplishment and speaks volumes about your management and leadership skills.

Another result of this conflict is the tension it creates between the population. When a war breaks out, people are forced to choose sides. This often creates a lot of tension not only among friends and acquaintances but between family members as well. These tensions do not go away even after the war is over. Some people will approve of your decision to stay in the conflict zone and some will view it as treason. In the end, you just have to do what you think is right, no matter what anyone else says. This is what being a leader is all about.

As we all know, there are many strong rules of war spelled out by many international organizations such as the United Nations and the Red Cross. However, during times of war, the rules are not always adhered to. This includes mercenaries collecting the spoils of war and illegal attacks on civilian infrastructure. While the war is going on, there will not be many people who will stand up for your rights and investigate any allegations of misconduct. All of this will be done after the war is over. In the meantime, you have to deal with the aftermath of any illegal actions yourself. Working under such conditions shows your courage, desire and mental strength.

In order to maintain a working environment for yourself and your employees, you need basic things, such as electricity, running water, food and telephones. However, in conflict zones, all of these things are luxuries. The electricity can be working at certain time in the day and not necessarily during regular business hours. You never know when it can be shut off. Without electricity, there is no light or internet connection. Only a person with strong organizational skills and creativity can work under such conditions. If you do not have contact with the outside world via the world wide web, perhaps the telephone is working or something else. You have to constantly keep improvising.

All in all, if you are looking for a leadership position, showing your future employer exactly what you have accomplished under the circumstances of war will be very impressive. The professional and personal skills you have developed can be a tremendous asset for any business. When inserting information about your work in war zone, try to paint as clear of a picture as possible about how much you have achieved while working in seemingly impossible circumstances. Your experience will make you uniquely qualified for management positions requiring strong visionary, management and perseverance skills. In most cases, you can be a dream candidate for many employers!


Alice Berg

Irene Kot is a coach, volunteer, and web developer. She eagerly shares her ideas with other life enthusiasts and her readers on Irene Kot blog.