Saturday, April 27, 2013

Security Clearance, for the nth time

The joining-the-foreign-service process is like a marathon. Every step you successfully take leads to more, and just when you think you see the finish line you realize it was a mirage and really it's still several hurdles ahead. OK that's a mixed metaphor, the process is so long and arduous one metaphor isn't enough to capture it all.

Although more and more spouses of FSOs are joining the foreign service, the majority of the ones I know of declined to use their "deferrment" option and instead take the first A-100 class they can. With an 18 month "ageing off" window from being put on the register to being dropped off, and the security clearance we get when mere hopefuls has a different expiration date from the one we get as actual FS employees, it means not too many people are in the situation of having their clearance expire before they either join A-100 or drop off the register. I am one of those rare individuals.

The first time I asked my Registrar about what to do, she told me nothing could be done until after my current clearance expired. This would mean, with certainty, I would not make it into the January 2014    
A-100 class, which has been my hope and dream since the day I learned I passed the language exam.

Then I remembered. Another EFM/FSO actually went through this exact same thing! And I sort of know his wife through the blogosphere! So I quickly got in touch and this lovely couple were so incredibly helpful and specific and the EFM/FSO said it was OK to reference him specifically when I spoke with my Registrar and even gave me some diplomatically worded ways to say "No, really, I AM right" and ....

I called my Registrar, explained why I was taking her time when we'd already exchanged a handful of emails on this exact topic, and dropped some names and dates. After putting me on hold for maybe 2 minutes, she came back to me and said I could start the process within the week or two and even, kindly, suggested I email her to remind her next week if she hadn't sent me her part of the process yet.

I am giddy. One hurdle smoothly cleared. And all because I "waste time" reading blogs.

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