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October 2012

Department's summer bidding season

Signs
Unlike other jobs, working for in the Department of State's Foreign Service gives you the opportunity to move every 2-3 years.  Most of the time, the move is to a new country.  But if you're working domestically, in the US, then the move can be to another building, bureau, or US city.

I'm bidding on my next assignment and I hope I can stay in the U.S. for a couple more years.  Why, you ask? If the Foreign Service is all about overseas assignments and supporting missions abroad, why stay in the U.S.  Everyone has their own reasons for U.S. assignments.  I myself have really enjoyed being back in the States after almost 10 years of working abroad.  I'm still envious of friends working overseas.  But I know the work here in the U.S. is equally important to the work abroad.  I'm reminded constantly of the work we do to support others overseas.  It's also the best way to experience how the Department operates.  Working overseas, you tend to become jaded on how slow things occur back in the U.S.  But there's many processes that have to work together to complete common goals.  Inter-agencies and multiple bureaus are often involved in developing projects.  

The deadline for submitting bid lists was last Friday.  Discussions take place between candidates and the supervisors of the positions now.  After interviews, phone calls, emails, resume and reference reviews, decisions are made.  That's when the Department's muscial chairs version of switching locations begins.  Everyone finds out where they are and are not going next.  Weeks and months of planning begins as families and individuals prepare to leave their current assignment and move on to the next.  

Not too many careers offer the chance to change where you work so often.  It's definitely a plus for those that want to face the challenges of living abroad while also supporting their country.