Friday, July 13, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I said goodbye to my Ambassador today.

He isn't leaving yet, but today is my last day before vacation, and he will be gone by the time I return.

I didn't cry when I hugged him, but I came close.

I have been very lucky to work for this Ambassador. Everyone I spoke with about him before I came here said they would serve with him again anywhere. In the Foreign Service, that is the highest compliment you can pay someone.

He chose me for this position. It was a stretch assignment for me, and I feel like he really gave me a chance to prove myself by letting me come here and run my own PD shop. I feel like I have really grown, and continue to grow, and I owe him a lot for seeing some potential in me and letting me learn.

I also appreciate how much faith he seemed to have in me. If he ever questioned my judgment, he never let me see it.

He expects a lot. He expects people who serve here to behave as though this is a larger embassy. So we do a lot of things bigger embassies do and smaller ones do not to prepare us for running larger sections. And I feel ready for that for the guidance he has provided.

And while he expects a lot, he is also profoundly reasonable. If you give something your best and it just can't be done, he accepts that. He is easy to laugh with and is even willing to laugh at himself. He expects you to be respectful, but doesn't seem to think that means you have to be distant. I have seen him angry, but I have never seen him yell. He doesn't take out his frustrations on his subordinates. And when you do accomplish something, he is free with praise.

What I never told him is that I have one character flaw: if you micromanage me, you will get exactly what you ask for and not one thing more. But if you manage me the way he has, trusting me, expecting a lot and being reasonable, I will do backflips to get done what you ask.

So I am very sad to see him leave...this has been a great year. I am sadder still to know I will not have the chance to serve with him again. This is his farewell tour as he heads into retirement.

So farewell Ambassador Polt. I have enjoyed working for you and with you, and I wish you and your family all the best in your future endeavors. I hope to see you again.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, inspiring post. It is thoughts like that keep me patiently waiting on the hiring register hoping for an opportunity to become an FSO. I definitely want that experience. I'm just sad I won't have the opportunity to serve alongside him.

Crossing Borders said...

What a great post! I hope I have an ambassador like him one day! :)