Earlier today, I finally accepted a handshake to go back to the Washington, DC area for the Foreign Service Institute’s Economic Studies course. It’s six months of economics training followed by either language training for an onward assignment or a six month stint in an economic job at the Department of State or another economic department like Commerce or USTR, a think tank, or a private company.
It was a nervewracking couple of weeks waiting for something to work out and by my last tally, I sent more than 75 e-mails inquiring about positions that seemed to be open in the bidding system, but that turned out to be spoken for, just not yet registered in the system. I was not feeling excited about many of the options left, until I had a brainwave and remembered the FSI Econ course. I’m super excited to get it as an onward assignment, since I don’t have an extensive economics background and could get a lot out of the course.
All’s well that ends well. 🙂
So, Monday was the first day that they could offer jobs to mid-level bidders. They call it a “handshake” because you shake on it, but it still has to be approved by the panel. As it turns out, I did not get any offers. I made a couple of short lists, but was not the top choice anywhere. I had hoped that one of the places I’d bid on would pick me after someone declined an offer, but I found out late today that all of the jobs I had bid on had given their handshakes and their top choices had accepted them.
So, now I go back to the drawing board. I will look at the list and start reaching out to jobs that haven’t nailed down a candidate and also watch for new things that might be added to the list. Things come open unexpectedly as people leave post early, volunteer to go to a place where they really need people, or have to back out of a handshake for some reason. So, while I’d realllllly like this process to be over, /begin Dory voice I’ll just keep bidding, just keep bidding, just keep bidding, bidding, bidding /end Dory voice.
As frustrating as it is, I’m in very good company. I know a lot of good officers who are in the same boat as me. I think that the hiring surge that happened in 2009-2011ish has contributed to the craziness that was bidding this time around. One senior person who shall remain nameless called the FS-03 bidding this year the Bidding Hunger Games, and given that 20 and 25% hardship differential posts had 30+ bidders on a job, does seem a bit appropriate.
Once I have something firm enough to announce though, I’ll be sure to share.