Be Awesome

Look, our forefathers died for the "pursuit of happiness," okay? Not for the "sit around and wait of happiness." Now if you want, we can go to the same bar, drink the same beer, talk to the same people every day or you can lick the Liberty Bell. You can grab life by the crack and lick the crap out of it.
--Barney (HIMYM)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

From Candidate to Career

So now I can't be fired.  Well, at least I won't automatically be cannned due to the 5 year candidacy rule.

New hires to USAID's Foreign Service have up to 5 years to be tenured.  I'm happy to be tenured so the looming threat of meeting that deadline is no longer there.  Bureaucratically, I'm just now listed as from "Career-Conditional" to "Career".

The requirements to be tenured generally are:
  1. 36 months with USAID and at least 18 months of that time in an overseas Mission.
  2. Medical and Security Clearances valid.
  3. Achievement of a foreign language proficiency (mine was in Indonesian).
  4. No other issues.
  5. Re-certification of Worldwide availability.
So what are the advantages of being tenured?  From what I know, one is that I can now safely switch backstops (career specialty) without worrying about the tenure deadline (tenure evaluation based of performance in job function).  Though, I'm pretty happy doing what I'm doing right now.  And then supposedly it's more difficult to fire me.  I'm sure there are others but haven't yet figured that out yet.

However, I'm not fully a real "Officer" yet.  That doesn't happen until I can get promoted to the next grade and receive a commission.  But it's a significant milestone in my career and looking forward to working toward the next.

If interested in reading the details of USAID's tenuring process, the information is available at:
Tenure Policy and Process:
Precepts for the USAID's Foreign Service Tenure Board:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Re-orienting and Re-exposing to the US (aka Home Leave)

After number of get-togethers, last dinners, and going-away events, I left post this month and headed back to the good Midwest USA.  About half way through this month off of work, I've been indulging in spending time with family and friends, gorging on foods particular to home, and catching up on everything Americana while running a number of errands before leaving for DC for training and then my next assignment.

Home leave is one of nicest perks of the Foreign Service career which is basically 20 work days of paid time-off between assignments to spend time in the US.  Since home leave is time off in-between jobs, it's a nice opportunity to see neglected loved ones in the States without the worry of all the work that may be piling up while you're gone.  It's amazing how much and how many things I've missed from just being away for a year.

The last few months at post were spent diligently working to accomplish work objectives before leaving post, packing and shipping goods for storage and goods for Kabul, as well as apartment-hunting and moving for my wife who will stay behind in Jakarta to work while I transition to my next post.  Immediately after leaving post, the next bidding season began for my follow-on assignment after Afghanistan (we bid and receive assignments about a year before we leave the current and Afghanistan is currently only a one-year tour).  

Coming back too, a stark reminder of the development challenges that still persist in the US with the Ferguson, MO shooting incident making national headlines.  With all the ethnic, religious, and equality issues I'll see in Afghanistan, the US still struggles today in managing similar challenges.
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