Friday, August 17, 2007


I swear that sometimes (okay, a lot of the times), the State Department seems like a hurry up and wait sort of place. It starts before you join. You sign up for the written exam and then you wait to take it. You take it and wait to get the results (3 months I think for me). You get the results and then wait for the oral assessment (seven months). You pass the oral assessment and wait to get your medical and security clearances (mine took 2 1/2 months, but only because I have had a boring life! Some take 2 years!). Once you get your clearances, you wait for "the call" to join an A-100 (the orientation class). Depending on your score, that could happen quickly (I got an offer almost immediately, declined it and took the offer for the next class) or you could wait 18 months, not get an offer, and have to start all over again.

Then you wait for the bid list, wait for your assignment, wait for tenure, wait for promotion, wait for your bid list again. It is an OCD's worst nightmare.

And so here I am, less than a week after getting tenure and I am in the holding pattern for not one but two things...promotion and bidding. Promotion I will find out about around Octoberish. The bid list is due out next week. It is weird to be bidding so soon after starting an assignment, but my position in INR Watch is only for one year, and so it goes. Getting tenure opens up all kinds of options for me, because before tenure, you are only eligible to receive one full course of language (I got Hebrew...useful only in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, neither of which I want to bid on after living in J'lem for more than 2 years).

Now I can bid on almost anything at my grade, since I am now considered a mid-level officer (no longer a Junior Officer! Woo hoo!), including language. But what to do? There are some interesting Public Diplomacy (PD) jobs (my career cone is PD), but there are also some desk jobs. I just found out a friend is going to be the Deputy Office Director for Western Europe, and I wouldn't mind working for him. The guy I did my bridge assignment for in NEA/PD (Near East Affairs Public Diplomacy) is now handling PD in DC's South Central Asia (SCA) office, and he was great to work for. There are analyst positions in INR, which would be lots of fun, and then there are any number of overseas posts offering a year of language training before you go to post. This might be my chance to get Russian.

So bidding this time could be fun. Of course, once I bid, it could be as late as January before I actually get my assignment locked in...Sigh.

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