Becoming Better

Like 9 out of 10 people I met at my degree immersion program in DC, my current aim with my life is to become a foreign service officer. As I am apt to do when I have a specific goal in mind, I’ve begun to rearrange my life in order to make me best prepared to take on that role.

Foreign service officers don’t have to have degrees. They don’t have to be worldly. They don’t have to be physically fit. They don’t have to have certain backgrounds or qualifications. They only thing they have to be is able to pass the written FSOT test, the narrative review process, in-person interview, medical check, and background check. I know I can pass the medical check. The background check should be without too many hiccups. The other three steps I’m going to take again and again until I pass. Those are things that might take a while, but perseverance and patience will see me through.

A lack of necessary qualifications, however, doesn’t mean gaining certain knowledge and skillsets won’t make me better at my job. This process doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that I can do now that will make me both more competent and confident at my job. For example, I am working to get in better physical health so that I need less medical attention while overseas and so that if I do need to save myself from a dangerous situation, I can.

I also am working to increase my knowledge of the global sphere. I’ve enrolled in a master’s program at American University at their School for International Service in International Relations. It’s an online program that still retains live class sessions. I love it thus far. The knowledge I’m gaining will make me feel less like an imposter when discussing international issues. It also means a nice pay-boost when I do enter the foreign service.

A foreign service officer, at its most basic, is a liaison between nations; they represent the US to the foreign nationals and they tell the US what the foreign nationals are like.

The thing is, the United States is fucking huge.

We have a generally homogenous culture in the way that all humans have the same basic needs and desires, but spending time in California this past spring really showed me many of the differences too. The values they held closest were simply different than the midwest where there’s always a cornfield within a 20-minute drive and soy-beans within 30.

In order to really, truly understand and represent my country overseas, I simply need to know it better.

I’m in a comfortable position in my life right now – working a well-paying full-time job that’s flexible enough to give me a great work-life balance. Heck, I was able to spend almost the entire month of May in California and I was able to spend 16 days at Pennsic without issue. I’m able to work from Chicago in a couple of weeks so that I can see Enter Shikari perform that night.

However, my company is selling my division and thus my time here with the company is coming to a close. Probably by the end of the year, but definitely within the next six months, I’ll either be laid off or absorbed into the new buyers. There is, unfortunately, nowhere for me to really stay within CDK without moving back into sales (ugh) or leaving for the Seattle or Detroit offices.

So. I need to know who is buying CDK and what our new office plan is going to look like before I know what my career for next year will be, but I’ve got a new plan seeded in my heart for how to get to know more of the US culture.

This is me we’re talking about so I have more research to do, more Reddit boards to stalk, and a few more links pages to make before I can announce the official plan.

Stay tuned.

(post image source)

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