Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘Bidding’ Category


Posted by quirksalight on June 26, 2011

It’s been one year since I arrive at Seoul, jetlagged, bewildered and armed with a vague notion of what I’m supposed to do. In that year, I’ve made some wonderful friends, weathered political crises, fielded called from friends and family worried about my safety, and finally gained a sense of what this job is all about. I remember griping back at FSI about the vagueness of the training, and non-specific answers to questions about what we were supposed to do as a political officer. And I realize now that the answers we received were vague because there really isn’t an answer. There are case studies, if/then scenarios that can be discussed, but an answer? No, singularities such as that isn’t what this is about.

In whole, it’s an ever changing lifestyle. The social aspects, being a “rep”… it becomes a second skin that you easily don on and off.

Though a downside of the job are the inevitable blatant users. For example, I had dinner with a group of people; friends of my friend, who the dinner was in honor of. One person sticks out because of the interesting turnaround in her behavior after she found out what I did for a living. When she thought I was “just another Korean” – I wasn’t worth bothering with. But an American diplomat with access to the PX, well, that’s another story. Immediately became chatty, asked if I could “help her out”. tsk tsk….

But I don’t regret it. Now, it’s bidding season, and I’m worrying over my bid list, wondering which places to list, what I need to put in my narrative, etc. 2nd tour will be 2012 onward…………


Posted in 152nd, adventure, ancedotes, annoyance, Bidding, commentary, work | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »


Posted by quirksalight on April 10, 2010

There are several considerations that need to be factored in when you’re in the bidding process.
Personal preferences, the tenure requirements, and CNL and SCNL requirements, if applicable.
And of course, there is the trump factor, which is the needs of the service.

In my case, I received and took the +0.4 bonus for passing the Korean language test. This bump on the register got me to A-100 faster, and in turn, requires me to serve in a Korean speaking post in one of my first two tours. In addition, tenure requirements include passing proficiency in a language and serving a Consular position for at least one year. Considering the proficiency in Korean is 2/0 (Speaking/Reading), I’m reasonably sure that I’ll pass it. And I’m Consular coned, so that requirement will be easy to fulfill. So the main issue (excluding the trump factor) is how the Korean post will interact with my personal preferences.

My main preferences are to be in the developing world, with a high danger/differential; to learn either French, Russian, or Arabic as a third language; to use my science background. The likelihood of meeting all preferences is highly improbable, and I realize that. The likelihood with the preferences coming into conflict with the needs of the service; who knows? I know and am OK with being sent wherever my skills will be best utilized; it may not be my top choice, but it’s something that anyone who’s serious about the FS has be OK with.

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