I've been giving a lot of thought to not leaving the State Department. I know that sounds weird. I was even asked at a job interview why I was considering leaving, when it was such a plum job.
There are no two ways about it. I was miserable in Jerusalem. And I spent a great deal of time searching USAjobs trying to find a job back in archaeology. But finding a job in archaeology that pays what I make now is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.
But I realized the other day that I was thinking about how content I am right now. Okay, I am not wild about the shifts, but I am already 1/4 of the way through this assignment. And I do like my job. The work, especially when I am the Watch Officer and not the Current Intelligence Officer (that is more like being a copy clerk), is really interesting. I am learning A LOT. And as I am bidding and talking to people about jobs I am bidding for, I am realizing how happy people in my bureau, Intelligence and Research (INR), are. Many have done multiple tours there, some even converted to civil service so they could stay in INR permanently. And with the higher clearance I now have, I could also go work for other agencies if I chose.
I have also realized that I would enjoy any of the six core bids, or bids on jobs that are at cone, in grade (meaning in our career track (cone) and at our rank), that I have picked. Plus, there are a least another six jobs I am bidding on that are not core, that I think I would like. I am bidding on four desk officer positions for the Balkans and one for Germany, plus a press officer position for the Balkans, a consular press officer position, a job teaching the public diplomacy course, a job working with the legislature, two political analyst positions and one press analyst position. There is a staff aide position in INR I may bid on as well. And any of these jobs would be interesting.
Which is to say there is are a lot of places I can go in the Department and find interesting work. And the supervisors for all of these places seem pretty good.
So I have a good job with great benefits and interesting potential for the future. Add to all this that I love our condo, I love being in the states, and I love being here with M. Really I have a lot to be thankful for. We don't have to worry about bills. I can go to the dog park with Noostie. We are developing a network of friends here, including some of our best friends from Jerusalem. I am thrilled that outside of that pressure cooker, we all still like each other.
All of which is to say maybe I will stick with the State Department.
Which of course means I am milli-seconds away from being offered the perfect job in archaeology. But even if that happened, it is not a bad position to be in.