School, Spring Break, Service, and Sequestration

I know I’ve been radio silent for a while now, so here’s the brief update:

School: At about the halfway point this semester.  I really don’t have a lot more to say about that.  I’ll be happy when the semester is over, but I still have another semester and summer classes before I finish.  The good/bad news is at the rate of Foreign Service hiring, I’ll probably have a chance to finish.  More on that in a minute.

Spring Break: I’ve been feeling the need to take an actual vacation; something I haven’t done  for about two and a half years.  I couldn’t wait for summer, and with school I can’t just take off for two weeks, so spring break it is!  My mother and I will be spending ten days traveling around Ireland, so stay tuned for more on that while we’re there.  I’ll try to post pictures as we go, but I’m not sure what our Internet access will be like.  We’re looking forward to taking in some scenery, crossing our fingers for sun instead of rain, and experiencing all that Ireland has to offer (read: Guinness, Jameson, Celtic music).

Foreign Service: If you’re here checking my progress toward a career in the Foreign Service, you’ll be as disappointed as I am.  First of all, my register is significantly longer now than it was when I was added.  The way the registers work is that even after you are added, your position is dynamic, because people with higher scores than you (a combination of Oral Assessment (OA) score, language bonus points, and veteran’s preference) are added above you even if they are added after you.  Which means you can be pushed down the list.  This is usually mitigated somewhat by people being invited to classes, but with the November class cancelled and the January and March classes not being full-sized, not as many people have come off the list.  What does this mean?  It means my chances of getting invited to an A-100 class are decreasing.  It’s highly unlikely it will happen this year, hence my being able to finish law school.  It’s too soon to know what the next fiscal year will hold in terms of FSO hiring.

So, all that being said, I decided I couldn’t just wait and wait, I have to try to improve my chances of getting an offer.  I’m not a veteran, and I don’t speak another language well enough to earn bonus points, so my only option is to improve my base score.  To that end, I sat for the Foreign Service Written Exam again at the beginning of February.  Results came out last week and I passed, I actually did a lot better than I have when I’ve taken it before.  So, on to the Personal Narrative Questions, and then hopefully another call to the OA.  If I can improve my score at the OA, I may be able to improve my chance of being invited to an A-100 class.  Or at the very least I can give myself another 18 months before expiring off the register.

Sequestration: Who knows what this means for the Foreign Service?  And for orientation classes the rest of the year?  And for the number of people invited to the OA?  At this point there aren’t a lot of answers.  At my current job, the effects of sequestration are mostly rumors as to exactly what will be done, how it will be implemented, for how long, etc.  But we are on notice.  So, Congress, anytime you want to fix this, we’re all ready.  While I know my situation isn’t as dire as some folks, since I don’t have an entire family depending on my paycheck, I’m pretty annoyed by the principal of the thing.  Because Congress can’t get along with each other, me and my coworkers are penalized?

Okay, I’m done, I’m not going to get sucked into that black hole.  Hopefully by the time we get back from Ireland it’ll all be worked out.  My mother wants to blog about our trip, so for family and friends checking in here, I’ll post a link to her blog once she sets it up.  Here that mom, now you’re on the hook!  And if anyone has suggestions for where we should go or what we should see, please post a comment!

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