Lucky Friday the 13th

My 5th grade teacher asked us the first day of class if anyone was triskaidekaphobic.  Understandably, he received 30+ blank stares from a room full of 11-year olds.  Because why on earth would we know there was an actual phobia for fear of the number 13?  Of course, none of us have ever forgotten that now, and it makes us look all manner of smarty-pants when we pull out that little bit of trivia.  And, being the contrary child that I was (and I realize some will argue I still am), I decided that 13 was my favorite number.  So, unlike most people, I actually look forward to Friday the 13th with an odd sort of anticipation; expecting something will happen, either good or bad, but something of significance.

I got my driver’s license of a Friday the 13th; passed on the first try (most people I knew did NOT pass their first time).  I received my official job offer for my current job on a Friday the 13th.  And today, I received my worldwide availability, Class 1 medical clearance from the State Department.  Hooray!

It happened amazingly fast.  I had my first of two medical appointments at the State Department last Tuesday, the second on Thursday.  I got something in the mail asking for some test results, but since I had had that test at the State Department I was unclear what they wanted me to do.  I called to find out, and was told I have my clearance!  One down, two to go!

Okay, and now my Ode to the State Department:

I am still amazed that this could happen within two weeks.  I know some people think the FSO hiring process lacks transparency, or they wish they could get more information out of the people they talk to, or they think the system is inefficient or too slow.  All I can say to those people is that the FSO hiring process must be their only government experience to date, and that they have never SEEN inefficient, slow, opaque bureaucracy.  Compared to most agencies and hiring processes, the State Department is an efficient, unbiased, open book.  I am amazed at how responsive, helpful, friendly, and organized everyone I’ve dealt with throughout the FSO hiring process has been.  Yes, the FSOA assessors are reading from a script and won’t give you additional information.  It IS a test, and their way makes it fair for everyone.  But where else can you post an anonymous question to an official message board and receive an official, and usually detailed answer?  Are their parts of the process where you can’t get a satisfying answer?  Of course, for example, the QEP, or general information about movement on the register.  But the fact that you can find out what is considered during the QEP, and that you even have a number to call for questions about the register is leaps and bounds ahead of the information you get when applying for other government jobs!  And yes, it is a LONG process, but with good reason; there are a lot of distinct steps.  Other jobs can take just as long if not longer, with no communication or explanation, or anyone to even contact along the way to find out if you’re even still being considered.  So maybe I’ve just drunk too much Kool-Aid, but I am super impressed by this whole process and think other government departments could learn a thing or two from the State Department.  End of rant.

Congratulations to those who have received offers to the September A-100 class!  May your bid list contain all your top choices, and may everyone in your class want to go somewhere you don’t want to go!

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