Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Consulting

Today was another day choke full of consultations.

Again, I found them really useful. But I just have to say, the PD offices in the Pharmacy Building (SA-05) are just nuts. If you think that Main State is challenging to navigate, try those offices! There is no rhyme or reason to the office numbering. In Main State, if an office is say, 5432, you know that it is on the 5th floor, 4th cooridor in numerical order. Odd cooridors run one way, even the other. Pretty simple.

Not so with the ECA, IIP, etc offices.

For example, you might have office number 3x02.

Okay, so you know 3rd floor.

But then you arrive at the third floor and you there are doors to your left and right. But no numbers. You just guess. Hmmm...this starts with O? But wait, there's an H.

So you just wander around until you find a kind soul to direct you. And even they admit that after being there for two years, they still have to guess. They only know where the cubicles are that they normally visit.

I was late to two meetings there today because of this "system," or lack thereof. But one of those was cancelled at the last moment, and the other was with a kind, understanding soul.

I got lots of great ideas today.

The meeting with the Fulbrighters was great too...but I didn't mean to be one of the speakers...

I got there after the meeting was a briefing on the Baltics by our INR analyst, the same one who came to our area studies three times and provided the only substantive info on the Balts during our 10 MONTHS there. I just wanted to hear what he had to say and then meet the folks headed to Estonia afterwards.

I walked in about 30 minutes into the talk (because I had a meeting beforehand and then had to make it across town, so he knew I'd be late) and quietly found a seat. After a few minutes, he noticed I was there...and stopped his talk to say hello and to intriduce me to the group.

Then he asked me to come sit up front...I said, no no, I am just here to listen. Then the Fulbright coordinator insisted I come sit at the table. So I did. But I wasn't prepared to say anything to them. So I just told them I wanted to get all their emails so we could keep in touch, and that I looked forward to working with them in Estonia.

And speaking of INR (the speaker...keep up), I encourage you to get briefings with them. Too often, folks forget INR, and they are a font of knowledge. They can tailor a briefing to your clearance level, and let me tell you they are all awesome. You will only find experts of their calliber in the finest universities. And check out INR/OPN too. They do media analysis and polling in our countries. They will have some great unclassified info for you. I had two INR briefings today in addition to the Fulbrighter talk, one with the analyst and one with the analyst from OPN, and they were great.

You will be better prepared for having done it.


Sadie said...

This week’s State Department Blog Round Up is here, and you're on it!

Please let me know if you have any objections and would like to be removed. Thanks for the submission!

Digger said...

A commentor who asked not to be identified because of their position in INR said: "Thanks for the INR shoutout! I would have to add that almost all INR people are experts... there's also the occassional intern in the office, sprinting to catch up. ;) But my colleagues would all second your comment, we love to do briefings and read good newsy cables from post. (And you're right, the Baltics analyst is great.)"

I'd add though that I was often in the press when I was in INR and I had an agreement with the A/S that I would not mention where I worked so long as he understood that my working there was not classified and could therefore end up in the paper. So I respect the commentors choice. I'd also add that while you may get an intern, I found that even our interns, though less experienced than the analysts, were some of the best interns I had ever worked with.