So You Want to be a Diplomat

Vodpod videos no longer available.

OK, I can’t post this without some responsible commentary.

Finding this video was not easy and I suspect the original creator was contacted by authorities to take it down. But the reality of the internet is that once it’s up, it’s up forever up. Ask Mr. “No Pun Intended” Weiner, he’ll tell you the same.

Comedy is funny because there is always an element of truth behind each joke. I hope this video gives you a chuckle, but also wanted to respond to some of the lines and continue to make a case for a career in the Foreign Service.

You will be stamping passports in some god forsaken corner of the world if you are lucky.

Yes, everyone does visa work, and sometimes they have to do it in “visa mills” like Manila, Guangzhou or Costa Rica. You’ll be surprised how interesting these jobs can be though.

You will not experience cultures. You will be hidden from the culture in a well protected office that people will occasionally stone.

Yes, and you can also choose to hide-out in your apartment all day for fear of going out for a walk and getting hit by a car. Staying indoors is your choice. Do many FSO’s stay in protected areas? Yes, they do, but that’s by choice in most posts. If you’re too lazy to go out in the States, then you’ll probably be too lazy to go out in an exotic country.

You will not debate anyone. You will exchange sexual favors to stop Chinese companies from getting mining contracts.

Funny line, but simply untrue.

No one will want to marry you except other Foreign Service Officers who are as pretentious as you are.

Dating and finding a spouse as an FSO can be very challenging so there is some truth to this. And yes, some folks in the Department can be pretentious but not more so than other organizations.

You will have to toe the party line whatever Republican nut job is in office.

OK, I admit, this is absolutely true. No argument from me.

You will die as a mid-level Washington bureaucrat.

You could also die as mid-level manager in any career. It’s all up to you how you live your life.

In sum, Foreign Service life can be tough. But life in a 9-5 cubicle can often be worse. Every job has its downsides. But as Dilbert taught us, we often have to find the humor in our careers to keep our sanity.


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