On reconciling idealism with working for The Man
I am pleased to discover that I am not the only person in my A-100 class who finds it draining to be “on” all day, every day. Besides the firehose of information we need to absorb, A-100 is a big social event. Talk to everyone. Network. Get to work on that Corridor Reputation.
Previous to the start of orientation, I was worried about working for The Man. I’m arrogant enough to know that I’ll succeed at this career, in whichever manner I choose to define success. I was not, however, convinced that I would be able to reconcile my need to make the world better with a job where toeing the party line is part of the job description.
I really believe that “American” values, like freedom of speech and the press, representative government, freedom from corruption, and gender equality can help improve lives all over the world. I also believe that a democratic world full of markets for American products is good for America.
Officer after officer has confirmed that my values are similar to their values, and core to American foreign policy. While being an idealist in the Foreign Service may be difficult, it’s certainly possible to make the world a better, safer place for everyone, not just Americans.
I’m still not sure about “the lifestyle,” where I’m going to fit in socially, and how Bertrand and I are going to balance family life. I am, however, finally sure that I am going to find this work rewarding both professionally and personally, and I think that after only two weeks of orientation, that’s a pretty good start.