Page 29 - Foreign Service Journal - October, 2012b

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I think a lot of us tend to be overly confdent and perhaps
impatient with the older generation.”
As one female USAID FSO who joined in 2011 notes, “Our
generation appears to be able to look at historically difcult
interagency negotiations with fresh eyes. We are results-ori-
ented.” A similar sentiment was expressed by a USAID democ-
racy ofcer serving in Central Asia: “I think that my generation
is no-nonsense. I think we are less concerned with rank and
ceremony and more concerned about getting things done.”
And FSO Ben Kaufeld writes from USAID Ghana: “As a Gen
Xer entering the Foreign Service in my 40s, I think I am strad-
dling generations. I think the newer generations have higher
expectations that the workplace/agency should be responsive
to their needs and interests, rather than that they should adapt
themselves—and I think this is a good thing that will, hope-
fully, bring change.”
One USAID FSO serving in southern Africa commented
on a lack of experience of some of her colleagues coming into
the Service: “Te current crop of new FS ofcers often lack
signifcant work experience. Some have no work experience
except for internships, coming to USAID straight from graduate
school. Te way USAID set up the DLI program (not ofering
mid-career slots and with very low starting wages) led to a
situation with lots of new professionals. So we now have some
new ofcers who are not ready to lead ofces, at a time when
we are losing senior staf and could really use people with good
leadership skills and with the ability to work collaboratively,
both within and outside USAID.”
A Critical Look at FS Culture
Impressions of the Foreign Service culture among recent
entrants vary greatly. A USAID ofcer covered all the bases
by observing that FS culture is “what you make of it.” Positive
descriptions from respondents include: pride in service, patrio-