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he May

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.

—The Editors

Life After the

Foreign Service—

What We’re Doing Now


Teaching English as

a Second Language



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.