Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Private Life? What Private Life?

Another thing you give up in the Foreign Service is any expectation of privacy.

We are on duty 24/7, especially when we are overseas. And you may even be being "observed" in the "privacy" of your own home.

Got a blog? Don't say anything that contradicts our official foreign policy. When you sign up, you do so giving up your right to object publically to our foreign policy. If you can't do that, there are better jobs for you. (Domestic policy is fair game, however. Thank god!)

Got a Facebook account? Make darned sure, no matter how strong you think your privacy settings are, not to post anything that might be embarrassing if say, your mother or your Ambassador or the Washington Post were to read it.

For that matter, if you wouldn't want people to know about it, just don't do it.

A recent article in the Washington Post's "The Loop" demonstrates this (and judging by the number of "shares" by my friends on Facebook, is generating a lot of buzz too). According to the article, the State Department can now discipline Foreign Service personnel for having affairs, even if they are conducted off duty.

And you know what, I don't really have a problem with that. For this reason: if it would embarrass you for your mother or your Ambassador or the Washington Post to know what you were doing, you might consider doing whatever you have to in order to cover it up. And there are people in a lot of places where we serve who would just LOVE to blackmail you.

The military has long since had a policy along these lines, and I imagine for the same reason. We don't need vunerabilities to blackmail and we don't need black eyes on the services.

I know there are a lot of folks who will disagree with me, and say that what we do offduty is our own business. And maybe that is true when we are stateside. And certainly they need to clarify the policy and take it on a case-by-case basis. But really for me it comes down to, if you wouldn't want people to know, just don't do it.

1 comment:

Mochi said...

well said.