Page 33 - Foreign Service Journal - April 2012

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A P R I L 2 0 1 2 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L
not easy or feasible to withhold the
spouse’s diplomatic duties.
• Keep in touch with former col-
leagues and clients.
A trailing hus-
band we know regularly calls former
colleagues and clients to update
them on industry trends in his coun-
try and hear their news. With peo-
ple widely connected through inter-
national travel and work abroad,
these contacts can also be helpful
for job searches or to line up con-
sulting gigs. LinkedIn, Facebook
and other social media tools are useful ways to maintain
contact, as well.
• Be ready to wait.
And wait, and wait! After a gruel-
ing job search finally leads to a promising position, the ap-
plicant is usually eager to dive into the work. However, it
can take a while for the host country to issue the neces-
sary permits.
Having a string of interesting jobs
does not necessarily a career make.
No one talks about it, but there is an
invisible yet abrasive dynamic in
most two-career Foreign Service
marriages and relationships. Even if
the spouse or partner is able to line
up interesting, lucrative work in
each new country, there is no guar-
antee that will lead to a career. This
is particularly true because the For-
eign Service expects its members to
be ready and willing to serve any-
where in the world — even if the onward assignment of-
fers nothing for the trailing spouse.
Yes, the needs of the Service should, and do, come
first. But high among those needs is keeping FS fami-
lies fulfilled, professionally and personally. Until this be-
comes a priority, the Foreign Service will continue to
experience a substantial loss in work productivity, cur-
Until assisting families
becomes a priority,
the Foreign Service will
continue to experience
a substantial loss in work