I am damn pleased to announce that I’ve accepted a handshake to be the Management Officer at Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. We’ll leave Jerusalem next April, spend several months in DC, then arrive in Malabo in January 2018.
This is a bit insider baseball to those not familiar with the Foreign Service, but very briefly, just because we get jobs as diplomats doesn’t guarantee awesome postings for the rest of our lives. After our first two directed tours, we have to convince each new post and their Washington bureaus that we are the Mostest Awesomest for the job (this process is called “lobbying”). It is exactly as awful as it sounds.
Third tour bidding was a real roller coaster. I’m sure I’ll eat my words when I have to do this again in a few years, but here are my current thoughts:
EG checks a lot of boxes for my family, which is why it was so high on my list and why I lobbied so hard for it. I was surprised and thrilled when it unexpectedly worked out. Yes, congratulations are in order.
I was honest with everyone throughout the process, whether speaking of my bidding plans, my areas for improvement, or my management style. I am happy that I stayed true to my normal directly-communicating self. (I might have felt differently had I not gotten a handshake for a post so high up on my bid list so early in the season).
I did not focus on posts based on how good they’d be for my career. While I certainly worried about it, I bid only on posts that would be fantastic for my family. This opened up the door to a lot of interesting places that we might otherwise have ignored. It also closed a few doors this time around, but we decided early on in my government service that family > career, and I’m OK with that.
The best part about the entire process was my interviews with incumbents. It was fantastic to have conversation after conversation about the best parts of working all over the world, and how the incumbents were overcoming the many challenges of running tight management ships in diverse cultures and environment. A++, would do again. Srsly. I loved it, and I’m trying to figure out whether there’s a way to turn it into a blog series because it was AWESOME.
We can’t wait to see everyone in DC, and then get out to EG!