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48

APRIL 2016

|

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL

FCS VP VOICE

| BY STEVE MORRISON

AFSA NEWS

Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA FCS VP.

Contact:

steve.morrison@trade.gov

or (202) 482-9088

The May issue of

The Foreign

Service Journal

will focus on

“Life After the Foreign Service.”

Since the bimonthly FCSVP

Voice column is not scheduled

to appear in May, consider this

my contribution to the discus-

sion on retirement.

Historically, the end of the

calendar year has been

a good time for people

to retire. Doing so allows

officers to “cash in” on any

unused annual leave, pay off

that nagging mortgage, go on

a trip or buy that fancy new

car they’ve always wanted.

As 2015 drew to a close,

I saw a lot of Commercial

Service retirements, which

Life After the Commercial Service

allowed me to catch up with

a large number of former

CS officers who had trav-

eled to Washington, D.C., for

the celebrations. From my

conversations, it seems there

is no “one size fits all” when it

comes to FCS retirement.

So, what did I learn?

Based on my very unscien-

tific survey, it’s anyone guess

what you’ll be doing when

it’s time to retire. Foreign

Commercial Service retirees

come in all shapes and sizes:

happy, sad, angry, resigned,

working, not working, playing

golf, writing, fixing things up

around the house, traveling,

you name it.

As to the myth that all

FCS officers retire and go

on to work for some firm or

entity making big bucks in

countries where they were

last assigned: Hooey! Again,

from my very limited sample,

only one or two officers—of

the dozen or so I met—were

in any way trading on the

experience they gained in

their last several assign-

ments. Besides, there are

limitations on what you can

do in post-federal employ-

ment, right?

So what is the upshot

of all of this? Plan all you

want when it comes to

retirement, but keep your

options open—fully twice

as many senior-level (FS-1

and above) FCS officers will

age out from 2018 to 2020

compared to 2015 to 2017.

Plan to attend the Foreign

Service Institute’s Retire-

ment Planning Seminar or

Job Search Program, or both.

Visit

www.state.gov/m/fsi/

for a schedule, and send an

email to Tyler.Glofelty@trade. gov to register.

If retiring in the greater

Washington, D.C., area,

keep in mind the possibil-

ity of serving on the Foreign

Service Grievance Board or

on an AFSA committee, and

don’t forget to proactively

sign up for the reduced AFSA

membership rate for retirees

at

retiree@afsa.org.

n

AFSAGoverning Board Meeting: February 3, 2015

Consent Agenda:

On a motion from State Representa-

tive Erin O’Connor, the board approved all consent agenda

items. These included (1) the Jan. 6 Governing Board

minutes and (2) the appointment of State Foreign Service

Officer Jennifer Haskell to serve on the AFSA Profession

and Ethics Committee. The motion passed unanimously.

Overseas Development Program:

On a motion by Retiree

Vice President Tom Boyatt, the board approved a position

paper regarding the Department of State’s evaluation of

the Overseas Development Program (including State’s

recommendation that the program be expanded from 20

to 40 positions, with five added this year). The paper—

which has since been delivered to the Bureau of Human

Resources—states that the AFSA Governing Board does

not concur with the proposed expansion and suggests

revisiting the issue only when the department (1) demon-

strates that the ODP’s existing 20 positions are consis-

tently filled, (2) provides clearer evidence that the ODP

is meeting its stated goals, and (3) arranges for an inde-

pendent cost-benefit analysis that justifies the resources

expended on the program.

Talent Retention:

The Governing Board discussed issues

of retention in the Foreign Service and the need for more

reliable data on why members of the Foreign Service leave.

The board agreed to form a working group that will begin

to look at ways to collect data to inform decision-making

related to workforce planning

.

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