Page 41 - Foreign Service Journal - October, 2012b

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dem couples pointed to joint placements as the number-one
factor determining how long they will stay in the Service.
Security Engineering Ofcer Daniel Carlson says that he
sees his job as a long-term career. “Te only thing that gives
me pause is that my wife is not happy with her employment
situation. If we can resolve that, I expect to remain in the ser-
vice until retirement in 20 or 25 years.”
“My spouse absolutely expects to have a career,” says an
economic ofcer in Asia who joined in 2012. “Whether he can
fnd meaningful work will be one of the major considerations
in whether I stay in the Service.” Several say they believe
spouses and the wealth of experience they bring should be
utilized by posts, and a number ofer their own stories of how
management did not help where it could have.
Te 20-plus new hires who said their spouses or partners
would be fne with opportunities to work at post and do not
necessarily expect a career are likely to be less disappointed
than those trying to ft a non-Foreign Service career alongside
an FS career. But at the same time, the new group of spouses
and partners may be better equipped than previous genera-
tions to pursue careers, thanks in part to advances in technology
and telework.
Looking Ahead
Te Foreign Service career used to be truly mysterious to the
uninitiated, to anyone not actually in the Foreign Service. While
most Americans still don’t have a clue about what the Foreign
Service is or does, this is no longer the case for those looking at
careers in international relations.
Te new generation at State and USAID signed up for the For-
eign Service with a reasonably good sense of what they were get-
ting into, and they are ready to go to the tough places and serve
their country. Tey bring a wealth of overseas and professional
experience, though not wide experience working in diplomacy.
For many, the Foreign Service is a second career.
Tey expect, in return, that the agencies in which they serve
will allow them to put their experience and skills to good use—
not bury them in bureaucracy and bad management.