Showing posts with label Register. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Register. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Finally finally finally

Today I received my offer to join the 176th Generalist class of A-100. Starting March 10 I begin my foreign service career!

Monday, December 30, 2013


After huge amounts of stress and anxiety, after 3.5 months, I am back on the register with my shiny new clearance. I am 11 out of 126 on the Consular register. Come on January, come on March invites, let's make this official!

I think this is the best early-birthday present I could have asked for.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Well, I guess I won't start working in January ...

I learned today that the invites for the January A-100 class have gone out.  People lower than me on the register got invites. I did not, because I am not technically on the register. After 2 years my clearance needed to be "re-upped" so I am currently under investigation yet again. This time it feels slower than any previous time. We had really been planning on me starting work in January, so this is an enormous blow. Please, if anyone's reading this, think good thoughts for this to be done in time for the March class (assuming there is a March class).

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.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Another register update

Apparently right now is when all the superstars are racing through their Oral Exams and landing on the register ahead of my 5.47 - so I've been pushed into the high 20's on the shadow register - not a hireable place to be. And of course right now is when there are no classes in the foreseeable future to drain those ranks. And ... well, they changed the rules once and who knows if, when or how they will change the rules again.

All that leads to this: I officially accepted the extra bonus CNL points and have agreed to serve 2 tours at Russian speaking posts.

I am now #7 of 93. For perspective, when I first got on the register I was 124 of 124. When I passed language I was #17 of 73. That was about 6 weeks ago. 20 more people on the register in that time (shudder).

Saturday, June 2, 2012

FSO update - no pressure

There's a change to the language bonus points policy and it's not for the better (in terms of me becoming an FSO). The good news? I'm grandfathered under the old system: assuming I pass the Russian phone test, I will gain an additional 0.4 bonus points (moving my never-getting-hired 5.3 to a which-A-100-class-do-you-want 5.7).  My first impulse was panic. My second more rational thought was "If I don't pass the test during either of 2 shots at it, when I will be studying Russian pretty full time and am already close to or at the 1+ mark now, then I probably don't have the capability to learn languages to the capacity I need to and this isn't the career for me anyway."

More on the new policy here. Wish me luck in December and, if necessary, June 2013. And let's hope for no newer new changes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The FSOA (prelude)

The morning I left to take the Foreign Service Oral Exams was well-planned. I needed to leave by 9am to be on the 11:something train, where I'd get out in Baltimore and spend a few hours with a friend before heading the rest of the way to D.C., where I'd check into my hotel early enough to do a dry run to the test site, get a decent dinner, and get to bed on time.

It was HOT. 90's hot. I hadn't brought a drink or snack in the car because it was only 1.5h til the train station. We have EZPass so I breezed through the toll booths. As I pulled into the parking garage at Cira Center, I went to look for my purse to put the ticket in my wallet. And I looked some more for my purse. And under the seat. Then a swore a bunch, and pulled my phone out of my pants pocket (thank you honey for drumming into me to always have my phone on my body!) A quick call back to Terry's mom's house confirmed that yes, my purse was still there.

If Terry hadn't filled the tank the night before I would have been completely breaking down at that point, because there wasn't enough gas for a return trip before the fillup. Back onto the Schuylkill Expressway. Back into traffic so bad the A/C can't keep up because I'm not moving enough. On the phone with my friend explaining why I wasn't going to be able to see her. Talking to myself, reminding myself that the kids were healthy, we weren't in danger of losing our house or Terry's job, the marriage was strong, essentially that this was not a tragedy. AND, that night would be the first night in 4 years I spent away from all 3 members of my immediate family - heaven! The good thing about leaving all day for a 2h train ride is that if things get stalled there's still plenty of time to fulfill the urgent parts of the plan.

By the time I got to the house, I was parched and desperately needed a restroom. And a snack. Back on the road a mere 15 minutes later, I managed to make the 1:something train. Unfortunately we got held up right outside the station but still got to Baltimore by 3:00 and we were able to get ice cream and chat before I caught the D.C. train I had originally planned to take. Hotel, check. Test site reconnaissance and transit time verification, check. Dinner, check. All good.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wish me luck

I think I have spent more time working on my e-QIP security clearance stuff - that only matters if I pass but I have to have prepared just in case - than on preparing for the Foreign Service Oral Exam itself. So, I hope it's been worth my while. I take the exam on Friday, wish me luck!