The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2016
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Career Diplomacy Today



Shawn Dorman is the editor of

The Foreign Service Journal.


Ambassador (ret.) Stephen

McFarland presents a set of sugges-

tions—a permanent To-Do list—for

developing the unique attributes of a

Foreign Service professional.

Finally, we look at the intake process,

how to join the Foreign Service. Becom-

ing an FSO for State is one of the most

competitive processes for any career.

In 2008, the process was revamped


a “total candidate” approach



We are grateful to the Board of

Examiners—the people who run the

hiring process—for providing a guide

from the source in “Examining State’s Foreign Service Officer Hiring Today,”

by FSO and BEX Assessor Glenn Gui-

mond. This is the article to share with

friends who are considering the career.

And for our student readers consider-

ing this path, we offer a three-page list

of “State Department Opportunities for Students.”

This month’s Speaking Out column

addresses the career, too, as entry-level

officer Andrew Kelly suggests ways to reform entry-level assignments.

Following on our coverage of mental

health care issues in the January-Feb-

ruary issue, retired FSO Angela Dickey

shares ideas for addressing the effects of work in high-stress environments.

And, as promised, we bring you Part

II of “Life After the Foreign Service: What We’re Doing Now.” Part I’s 22

essays, published in the May issue,

proved popular with readers, and Part II

(25 essays) will surely also resonate.


elcome to the summer

double issue of the



. This month we focus

on various aspects of the

Foreign Service career.

First, we take a close look at the state

of family member employment, an issue

that can and sometimes does determine

whether a member of the Foreign Ser-

vice stays or goes.

One major barrier to employment at

post has long been the wait for security

clearance approval. Each new posting

has required a new clearance, which

always takes months and, in some

cases, can take as long as a full tour to


But as former FSJ associate editor

and family member Debra Blome was

working on the article, State announced

the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps, which may offer a real step

forward. The bottom-line benefit is that

once family members do get that secu-

rity clearance, they will be able to carry

it with them from post to post.

What about when both spouses are

in the Foreign Service? Tandems have

their own set of unique challenges, as

described in “Tandem Couples: Serving Together, Apart,” by FSOs Fred Odisho

and Whitney Dubinsky. They argue for

more creative policies to help ensure

that tandems can be

assigned to the same

post at the same time.

In “A Roadmap for New Hires: 30 Rules to Survive and