Page 27 - Foreign Service Journal - October, 2012b

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the older generations,” says a political ofcer serving in sub-
Saharan Africa. “Tis may be because our generation does not
value hierarchy as much, and we tend to have the philosophy
that if you can play, you should be in the game, regardless of
age or rank.”
More progressive, more innovative and more in touch with
what’s truly important to host-country populations is how a
consular ofcer in South Asia describes the new FS generation.
He adds: “It also seems more open to new ideas. However, the
stifing State Department culture forces even this younger gen-
eration to conform. Many good new ideas never go anywhere,
and change at State proceeds at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile,
the world we’re supposed to be engaging is changing far more
rapidly, and becoming far more complex at the same time—
a situation that inherently demands more outside-the-box
“For the most part, we’re well-educated, have other work
experience, and joined the Foreign Service as a career, not a
stepping stone to something else,” says Beverly Mather-Marcus,
a political ofcer who joined in 2008. “Some of the more obvi-
ous diferences with prior generations are that there are more
female ofcers with male ‘trailing spouses’ now. It’s also far
more common for our spouses, male and female, to work.”
Overriding Commitment to the Mission
Te USAID ofcers who responded are committed to devel-
opment work as their career, and several see this as a higher
priority than commitment to the agency. USAID FSO Kristin
Ray comments: “I think in general this generation of USAID
FSOs is highly committed to USAID’s mission, highly ambi-
tious, and eager to be innovative. We adapt well to change, are
able to use technology efectively, and seek ways to network
and share tools that work across missions. Most of us have
experience working across cultures and being collaborative.