I got a comment on my entry Here's a More Accurate View: The Foreign Service, A Rewarding Life But It’s Not for Everyone.
"So here's my dilemma - I've made it to the top of the Econ register, but have asked for a "temporary postponement" while I sort out my family and current job options.
My concerns include: as a female potential FSO in my early 30s, I'm worried about my young family's safety and about my husband's job track. He's been a steady career guy all his life and is nervous about following me around into the Great Unknown.
I'd also be giving up a much greater salary (not to mention my husband's income). So here's the question - just how great is the FS? Is it worth it for me to take the risk(s) or should I pass? Is it all it's cracked up to be, or is it a lot of bureaucracy and not as much on the job learning?
Any insights from other FSOs would be greatly appreciated!"
I started to respond on that post, but thought Anonymous would be better served by me reposting it here and opening it up to everyone for comment.
For me, it is a very personal decision, and not one that I regret even though I gave up a career I loved. But it isn't for everyone.
The running joke in the State Department is that the answer to every question is "it depends," and that is certainly true here. Is it worth it for me? Yes, but for you, it depends. Yes, you will get experiences you would never get anywhere else. You will experience countries in a way no tourist can. You will have the chance to do meaningful work and make a difference. But it is also a bureaucracy.
Will your children be safe? It depends. Some 85% of folks in the Foreign Service, me included, have been the victim of crime. I felt very safe overseas, but there are some who don't. Some spouses find meaningful work, some don't. I found being a Member of Household unacceptable, so I joined the service, but not everyone can make that choice. So it depends.
I hope others will weigh in. All I can say is that for me, I love what I am doing, can't wait to go back overseas, and don't regret my choice.
For me, it is definitely worth it.