THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
Foreign Service Journal
focus was “Life After the Foreign
Service.” We began preparing that
issue in January, with a broadcast
message to retired and former mem-
bers of the Foreign Service requesting
input on the “afterlife.” We asked
AFSA members to reflect on what they wished they had
known earlier about retirement, and what advice they
would give their younger selves on planning for it. We
also asked what they wish they had known before joining
the Foreign Service. And we invited them to tell us about
their interesting post-FS lives, including advice for others
who may want to take a similar path.
The response was quick and abundant. We received
nearly 50 thoughtful essays—far too many for one issue.
We published 22 in May, and present the remaining 25
in this edition. Like the first batch, this collection is full
of interesting stories. Retirees and prospective retirees
alike will appreciate the great variety of paths taken by
their colleagues, as well as the hard-won insights and
useful advice offered here.
Life After the
What We’re Doing Now
Teaching English as
a Second Language
BY JAMES WACHOB
hen I retired from the Foreign Service at age 60, I strongly
wanted to “give back” some of the fruits of my exciting
and challenging Foreign Service assignments. I was particularly
interested in applying the skills in writing and in cross-cultural
communication that I had honed in the course of a 37-year
career that included seven overseas postings.
A Foreign Service spouse had once told me of the satisfaction
she derived from organizing groups to learn English in countries
where it isn’t widely spoken. Her enthusiasm for English as a
Second Language instruction motivated me to consider employ-
ment as an ESL instructor in the Washington, D.C., area, where
my wife and I intended to remain in retirement.
A novice on ESL matters, I sent employment application
letters with my résumé to four ESL schools advertising in the
Yellow Pages. One of them was so enthusiastic about my quali-
fications that its management tracked me down in Los Angeles,
where I was administering Foreign Service oral examinations
during my final State Department assignment. They promised to
hire me without an interview if I agreed to report to their Rosslyn
branch on the first day of my retirement from State, a condition
to which I readily agreed.