Last night I girded my loins and attended the State Department’s networking event. I’m a terrible networker, as I’ve already mentioned. But I made an effort this time.
I realized that I’d never been to State’s main building, so that was cool. The pre-presentation munchies and drink were good and plentiful. Most of the participants were either young people fresh out of undergrad or grad school, or older folks who were looking to change careers. The panelists came from different parts of State and there was one gentleman from USAID. I learned some new things, like how econ officers don’t have to be economists by training, and how the civil service side works. Otherwise, most of what the panelists said was familiar from what I’d seen myself or heard from other State people. There was actually one Filipino guy on the panel, the IT specialist; maybe I’ll shoot him an email later. Surprisingly, given the emphasis on diversity, there were only two minorities on the panel (the Filipino guy and the African-American gentleman from USAID), and no women of color.
I know I am a good, nay, excellent candidate for the Foreign Service. I know that State is one of the few institutions that actively encourages generalists. I know that joining the Foreign Service is the best way to thank the country that gave me so many opportunities and privileges. I know that this is an exciting time to work as a diplomat. But something in me still hesitates.
I say go for it. That way, you give it a try and if you don't like it, at least you tried and won't have that "What if?" situation hanging about. I know what you mean though about being good at something and being hesitant about actually doing it.
You sound like you are bearing your testimony of the SD!
My sister, who lives in Arlington, did FS. I'd be happy to send you her contacts if you or MB wanted to pick her brain, although I am sure you have known plenty FSOs along the way. Her cohort certainly were an eclectic bunch.
While FS certainly has it's perks, I couldn't stomach the first tour which, mandatory for everyone, is denying visas (and granting them occasionally, I am told).