I've been on cloud nine for the past couple months looking forward to my Foreign Service career on the not-so-distant horizon. I often daydream about my first post and relish in the thought of my wife and I leading rockstar lives as a Foreign Service power couple. Over the last week though, some of this fantasizing has given way to a sense of anxiety and anticipation, hence the title of this blog.
First of all, I learned that my rank on the political register has slipped six spots. I now sit at 26, which is still relatively secure but might not be high enough for a call to the next class tentatively scheduled to begin on July 18. I might have to wait until the following class in September or even two months beyond then. The delay wouldn't be all bad but I have grown increasingly eager to begin my career.
My fortunes these days are mostly being driven by the federal budget impasse. Until Congress and Obama agree on a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, the State Department has no hiring authority. Although there are a range of different scenarios, I personally think an agreement will be reached around the April 8 deadline and offers for the July class will start going out soon thereafter. I will be following the news from Washington closely and then checking my email even more compulsively. I am counting on a number of factors but unfortunately they are all beyond my control.
Secondly, my wife is now awaiting word whether she will proceed to the next stage of the Foreign Service selection process. She just submitted her Personal Narrative Questions (PNQs) tonight and will probably find out the results in the next month or two. PNQs ask potential candidates to describe various skills such as leadership, communication and intellect. This ain't your typical job cover letter. Boilerplate language won't cut it. The responses must reflect both breadth and depth in experience while highlighting results in a very succinct manner. We've worked late the last couple nights on fine tuning her responses. I'm obviously biased but I can honestly say that they are exceptional. If she does not receive a passing score, it will be because the level of competition and hiring slowdown have raised the bar to near insurmountable standards. If she does pass, we will celebrate together and then she will start preparing for the decisive Oral Assessment sometime after the summer.
Well, that about sums up my current state of mind. Hoping for good news to share in my next posting.