My Adventures as a U.S. Diplomat and Family Man

First Stop: Tel Aviv, Israel (July 2012)!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cure for Bad Blogger Syndrome: Bidding Season!

Guilty as charged. I won't even try to offer a good excuse. Yeah, I was a little busy when President Obama was here--two months ago. Nothing good to blog about? Spring break in Austria. Nice try. Malaise? An utterly fascinating political environment which I cover. Next. Writer's block? Perhaps, but I compose plenty of prose every day so surely the English language doesn't escape me once I leave the office. Lazy? Getting closer. My wife and I do love us some Netflix. Lack of discipline? Perhaps. 

I think I just need to come to grips that I will never be a serial blogger. I've noticed too many other blogs go dark after a period of time. I need to accept that my blog fell victim to the daily routine. Is it bad that I want to spend time with my family and decompress when I'm not at work. Now this blog is starting to sound like some kind of therapy. As the cast of video game characters say in this clip from Wreck it Ralph, "I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good and that's not bad."

Luckily, I have found a cure, at least temporarily, for my bad blogger syndrome: the yuletide season of Foreign Service bidding has arrived! I felt like a kid on Christmas morning several weeks ago when the summer bid list came out. Sugar plum assignments in exotic locations danced in my head and at last I could begin plotting my strategy for where I will end up for my second tour. Before I go any further, I will provide a brief run-down of the process.

The new list had over 500 open positions from seemingly every place in the world. I now must rank order 30 positions and send my list off to an all-powerful career development officer who will determine my next assignment. 

Stop right here before you start thinking about visiting me in Paris between 2014 and 2016. Not gonna happen. For starters, I must serve in a consular position for my next job so that pretty much cuts the list in half. My time in training is also limited for my next assignment so I won't be spending a year learning a hard language. Sayonara, Japan. The real kicker though is timing. Every position on the list has a TED, or time of estimated departure. I have to bid on positions that fall within a certain one or two month window. As you can surmise, the list has winnowed down considerably. 

That's not all. The order of bidding is done according to what is known as equity, or the degree of hardship one experienced in his or her first post. It's only fair that fellow first-tour officers who didn't have a cushy post like Tel Aviv should get to bid before me. I do serve in a rough neighborhood and last year's bout of missiles has earned me some hardship "cred" though. Nonetheless, I have to wait until a second round before I can bid. In a few days, I should receive the revised list and will finally be able to assemble my bid list.

I believe my expectations are realistic and I think I will be quite pleased with what is still available. I won't mention any possibilities now because I don't want to jinx myself. I will, however, surely announce the outcome when I know in late June or early July. Then comes the next blog in which I will try to explain how I will align my second tour with the first tour of Mrs. DiploDad, who will officially become a Foreign Service Officer in her own right very soon.

So, I guess there is plenty to blog about. Stay tuned!  

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