So. Housing. I have seven portfolios here in Freetown, of which every single one takes up more than 50% of my time. You’re telling yourself that 7 * 50% is actually 350%, and a person can’t have 350% of a day, but that’s where you’re wrong.
Anyway, housing. If I weren’t the GSO, I’d be ranting and raging about living in temporary housing for THREE WHOLE MONTHS, and the fact that that heinous self-rightous GSO has stored my HHE in the warehouse, and the fact that actually my current apartment is pretty awesome and WHY IS SHE MAKING ME MOVE?!!!? WHINE ANGER GRAR.
Eventually, we’ll move out of our spacious, marvelously located, and falling-apart-around-our-ears apartment into a single family home. We don’t have a lot of stuff, and most of what we do have is for the kitchen or Jasmine.
My sincerest hope is that once I
get give the go sign, we’ll be up and out in a day or two. Until then, we ain’t packin’ shit. Some The has been promising us that we’ll be moving “any day now” since the day we arrived, and I won’t believe her until we see it.
The good news is that cutting grains out of my diet has cured my digestive ills. Coworkers, I owe an apology to anyone who got stuck in an elevator with me my first two months in Freetown.
The bad news is that it is really hard to go out to eat in Freetown and avoid grains and potatoes. As I learned when I had to start avoiding dairy and soy for Jasmine, the only way to really avoid eating something you don’t want to is to avoid processed foods all together.
Jasmine appears to be more and more OK with small amounts of dairy. A chocolate here or a piece of cow’s milk cheese there don’t seem to have major effects on her system. That said, a chocolate binge + a wine and cheese party yesterday = a gassy Jasmine last night and a big breakout today. Oops.
At this point, no grains + no dairy + no soy = basically a paleo diet. The only things left to cut out were sugar and beans. 7 lbs later, the experiment has been a resounding success.
All natural, all the time has also forced me to spend a fair amount of time cooking. This week’s lunch prep:
- 1 roast chicken
- 1/2c baba ganoush
- 4 salmon patties
- 1 dozen hard boiled eggs
- 6 carrots, sliced
- 2 green peppers, sliced
- 4 plum tomatoes, sliced
Bertrand’s all like, WTF? The kitchen was spotless just a few hours ago!
So it goes.
Three months in and I still love my job. I’m told that the low point is at about six months, so I figure I’ve got three more months to enjoy myself before frustration sets in.
Right now, the most frustrating parts of my job has been how inadequately trained I am, not in hard skills (GSO School was great, and I was already an excellent project manager), but in soft skills. Managing a section of over 50 people is small potatoes to many of you, but to me, it’s been one adventure after another. It’s one thing to take leadership and supervisory courses at FSI and read the (actually quite excellent) resources that the Department provides, quite another to apply those skills to Getting Things Done every day.
Learning how to be a GSO at the same time I am learning how to manage up and down has been more difficult than I expected. With all the arrogance of a freshly commissioned ELO, I thought I’d be able to sit down here and get straight to work. Well, I have been able to get a fair amount done, but I’ve discovered that here in Freetown, my technical competence (very high) is far less important than my managerial skills (lower, but improving every day). I imagine that this is the case in most Posts.
I keep reminding myself that becoming an excellent leader and manager takes time (decades!). I’m as arrogant and ambitious as they come, and I have to master this skillset to do what I want to do in the Foreign Service. All managers had a first management job sometime in their career. For better or worse, I’m getting my first one over with on my very first tour.