Friday, January 25, 2008

Driven, but not by Ambition

So this morning I made a decision that clearly places me in the camp of those who want to have an interesting rather than fast-rising career. I had been offered the position of Special Assistant in INR. Staffer jobs tend to be fairly high profile, and while INR is not neccessarily a high profile bureau, service in that position is a means to getting some pretty good slots. The current staffer is going on to be the Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Political Affairs. A pretty good post for the ambitious sort. And no doubt an interesting position, just as I am sure the INR staffer is.

But it is not for me. So I turned down the staffer job and accepted a position as an INR analyst for Israel/Jordan and the Occupied Territories instead. In so doing, I turned down an 18% shift differential (a move that already pains me given how expensive DC is) in order to do a position I think will be rewarding and where I think, given my expereince, I have something to contribute.

What I am realizing about myself surprises me but probably shouldn't: I want to stay with State. If you have been reading this for a while, you know I have been struggling with that issue. But what's more, I want to make a difference. I want to continue to serve my country, and part of that service means going where I think I can do the most good AND working to change the department from within. I want to help make a difference with MOH issues and to make a difference with some of the challenges the department faces (In an entry yesterday, Bloodless Coup said he wasn't aware of how badly the Department was dealing with some of these issues, and the coverage of the whole directed assignments debacle was so negative overall, that I think what was missed in all of the media coverage is that most of us are fiercely loyal and are just fighting like hell to save the service. We need a strong diplomatic corps now more than ever, and instead we are being gutted...) I can't make a difference on these issues if I leave (maybe I can't if I stay, but at least there is more of a chance), but I also can't make that kind of difference if what I am driven by is ambition.

No comments: