State Department Will Continue to Hire!

April 10, 2011

Take the FSOT!

I was talking to a friend of mine and was encouraging her to re-take the FSOT.  During the conversation she said, “Congress is cutting budgets across the board and I heard the State Department is going to cut back on funding for hiring diplomats.” This was a reason she gave for not re-taking the FSOT since she’d be wasting time as there would be no jobs to fill.

WRONG!!!

Check out this article, “DOD, State Department Present Budgets to Senate” where DOD officials are saying cut DOD before cutting State!

[Deputy Defense Secretary] Lynn called on the senators to fully fund the State Department’s fiscal 2012 budget request of $59.5 billion. The request includes funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“We at the Department of Defense strongly believe that a full and robust funding of our foreign policy operations is an effective means of meeting our national security,” Lynn said. “Indeed, if we promote security and responsible governance as crises are brewing, we will be able to avoid later in the crisis the deployment of U.S. military forces.”

People, this is rather unprecedented, almost like your neighbor knocking on your door and offering a cut of his paycheck to you every month in return for you just being your good neighbor self.

Reduced federal budgets is NOT a reason for avoiding the FSOT!


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State in Top 10 Best Places to Work

January 28, 2011

Media Note from the Office of the Spokesman:

The Partnership for Public Service and American University’s Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation have announced the results of the 2010 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government ranking, and the Department of State has once again ranked in the top 10, placing seventh overall among the 31 large Federal agencies, third for effective leadership, and fourth among Hispanics.

Rankings are based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Employee Viewpoint Survey of 263,000 executive branch employees in over 290 federal organizations, conducted in February – March 2010.

Best Places to Work is the most comprehensive ranking of federal government organizations on overall employee engagement, as well as in ten work environment categories. The rankings are designed to offer job seekers unprecedented insight into the best opportunities for public service and to provide managers and government leaders a roadmap for improving employee engagement and commitment.

All rankings and analyses are available at: www.bestplacestowork.org.


State Ranked #5 Place to Start a Career

August 7, 2010

The Businessweek article is here.

The full list of best places to start a career is here.


Some Things at State Never Change

August 7, 2010

I came across this article last night, an essay titled “The State of the State Department” from Time Magazine archives dated October 15, 1965.  Although much has changed in the last 40 plus years at State, some old habits seem to still linger.

I am thankful for the modern State Department.  Single female diplomats no longer have to resign after getting married.  The wives of male diplomats are no longer included in promotion reviews; it doesn’t matter if your wife throws terrible parties because it won’t affect your promotion anymore.  Gay and lesbian couples are serving openly without fear of discrimination.

But some traits of the old institution seem to be still around.  Then as now, we get unfairly lambasted for being “soft”:

It was F.D.R.’s Harry Hopkins who pronounced State’s men to be “cookie-pushers, pansies—and usually isolationists to boot.” From a somewhat different point of view, Joe McCarthy called State “a nest of Communist traitors and Communist sympathizers.” More recently, the department has been metaphorically denounced as a “bowl of jelly” (President Kennedy), drowning not only in its “booze allowance” (Congressman John Rooney) but under a flood of paper work springing from “the bureaucratic necessity that everyone has to write so much to justify his existence” (Ambassador to Kenya William Attwood), while working under an overall policy based on “the lowest anti-Communist denominator” (Professor Hans Morgenthau) with a surplus of “pedestrian people” (former Ambassador James Gavin) headed by a Secretary with an “irrevocably conventional mind” (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.).

Politically appointed ambassadors have always been hit or miss:

Its ambassadors are able. Three-fourths of them are careermen, and of the political appointees, none are like the blundering, bottom-pinching misfits who have sometimes embarrassed the U.S. in the past.

Managing inter-agency cooperation is like managing a zoo:

The proliferation of other agency representatives irks State Department careermen. Says former Ambassador Ellis Briggs: “They clutter up the premises. In theory, the American ambassador is the captain of this team of untamed sportsmen. But it is not much use unless the captain has control over the players.” Yet the numbers simply reflect the essential interests that the U.S. has in the rest of the world, and State might just as well settle down with the situation

And a culture of “keep your head down” still permeates the Department:

Moreover, there is a feeling throughout the State Department that boldness earns an excessive penalty if it miscarries. “The thing to do,” says a careerman in Leopoldville, “is fill the norm, do as you’re told, and above all, don’t make waves.” Veteran Diplomat W. Averell Harriman sums up the possible cost of such caution: “I have seen men’s careers set back and, in fact, busted because they held the right views at the wrong time, or for accurately reporting facts which were not popular at the time.”


Working in the Op Center

August 1, 2010

Landing a job in the Op Center is a career enhancing move for a young diplomat’s future. These jobs expose junior officers to all the goings-on of the State Department at a very high level and allow them to communicate directly with top-level State Department officials. But as the article illustrates, the job comes with it’s share of stress as well.

For State Department officers directing calls, adrenaline always on the line