Thursday, October 25, 2007

Misplaced Optimism

Posted in Foreign Service Life at 9:31 am by graceandpoise

I made a comment a while ago about the list I submitted to the department and how I didn’t want to jinx things by disclosing the list. I shouldn’t have worried. My list was:

  1. Kathmandu, Nepal, GSO, Jan 2009
  2. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, GSO, Feb 2009
  3. Port au Prince, Haiti, POL, Oct 2008
  4. Kingston, Jamaica, GSO, Aug 2008
  5. Frankfurt, Germany, POL, Jun 2009
  6. Accra, Ghana, ECON, Sept 2008
  7. Chennai, India, GSO, Oct 2008
  8. Sarajevo, Bosnia, GSO, Jan 2009
  9. Kyiv, Ukraine, ECON, Feb 2009
  10. Maputo, Mozambique, POL, Mar 2009
  11. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, POL, Oct 2008
  12. Dubai, United Arab Emirates, GSO, Mar 2009
  13. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, GSO, Apr 2009
  14. Lilongwe, Malawi, GSO, Jan 2009
  15. Bamako, Mali, ECON, Sept 2008
  16. La Paz, Bolivia, GSO, Jan 2009
  17. Port au Prince, Haiti, CONS-ECON, Nov 2008
  18. Bangkok, Thailand, POL-CONS, Mar 2009
  19. Bujumbura, Burundi, POL, Feb 2009
  20. Toronto, Canada, ECON-CONS, Aug 2008

Note: Each of these is a 2-year tour, and those jobs with a “-” between two descriptions indicate one year in each embassy section listed. Key to section abbreviations: GSO = management, i.e. real estate, motorpool, repairs and maintenance, logistics; POL = political work, i.e. your stereotypical diplomat; ECON = almost like political work but focused more on economics – also kind of a stereotypical diplomat; CONS = consular work, i.e. visas, visas, visas (like i’m doing here), and dealing with U.S. citizens who get into various situations abroad. You’ll note that I specifically avoided bidding on any 2-year consular tours at all, no matter how nice the location might be, because the job really does not suit me.

What they gave me:

Kingston, Jamaica, CONS, Sept 2008

No, it was not on my list.  I hadn’t even considered it as an option for my list.  Also, still no guarantee that my husband will be able to be posted with me (they tell me, “but the commute from Kingston to D.C. is at least shorter”).

I’m, um, not elated.

This is the second time in a row that something similar has happened to me in the assignments process, and I can’t help but compare my experience unfavorably with that of most of my colleagues. I feel evil for feeling resentful, but every time the assignments people try to tell me about “equity” (this being based exclusively on the perceived hardship of where you are, not whether it was a job or place you wanted), I want to throw things.


  1. Diane Dodd said,

    Hey Sexy Lady,

    I’m so sorry that you have been screwed on your assignment (again). I guess, even though you are not well matched in your current role, you are obviously doing it very well (is that inspiration for doing a poor job so you can be changed to a role you would actually enjoy?) Messed up as that sounds I remember all sorts of crap people being promoted in the police (just to get rid of the jerks). Is there anyway you will be able to change your assignment? Do you have to go?
    I’m so sorry babe, I’m sure you will find a way to make the best of it if you end up having to go and at least you’ll be in a nice location. I wish I could be there to give you a hug and have a glass of wine with you. What’s your phone number babe, I’d love to have a chat and commiserate. Keep your chin up, I’m sending happy thoughts your way!

    Love ya!

  2. Shawn said,

    Wow…that really, really sucks. It definitely sounds like you were robbed and you gave them plenty of good options to pick from. I’m assuming you’re MGMT coned by the number of GSO spots on your list?

  3. Kit said,

    HEY!! I have not been able to get ahold of you!!
    Silly diplomat with her crazy busy schedule, blitzkrieg wedding, and inconvenient time-zone discrepancies…

    First of all, once again, Mazel Tov on yer wedding. You’ll have to tell me more about this hombre, other than you find men with unpronounceable names attractive. I hope you enjoyed your time in Seattle. Mandy & I were there yesterday; we took a week vacation to WA for her brother’s wedding and just hung out there with friends, doing Seattle things. We’ll be there permanently in 2011.

    My folks keep asking about you. Being old DOS cronies, they sort of get a kick out of seeing what yer up to. They wish you all the best.

    Life in the south is still hot, humid, conservative, and rediculous. I am in the 3rd year in my oral surgery program, which means I am doing 4th year medical school. Its a laid-back schedule. Mandy is now a resident at Baylor in Houston (bought a condo there), and I am doing elective rotations in Houston at the moment. I’ll be back in New Orleans in 2/08 and will be there more or less permanently until I finish.

    I have managed to get picked up to be the staff oral surgeon for a medical/dental mission trip to Nicaragua this April, and I couldn’t help but think that it would totally be something you would do. I’ll have to let you know how it goes, and send you some photos.

    Give me a call (504)451-8793 or email and let me know what’s up!! I don’t have your email address.

    Best –


  4. Bethykins said,

    Jamaica huh?

    Maybe you can learn to Bobsled?

    Feel the rhythm
    Feel the rhyme
    Get on up its Bobsled time
    Cool Runnings………………

    🙂 KISSES

  5. Sorry you’re disappointed with your next post. There are a pair of FSO bloggers there currently:

    It’s been a few years since I was last there, but it does have its redeeming features. There are a number of ELO positions there for its size, so hopefully your new husband can be posted there as well.

  6. april said,

    I’m so sorry you’re bummed with the station. However, I would love to photograph you, the dress, and the hubby on the beach. Tell me this is possible…..

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