Monday, September 19, 2011

Future Career Path Discussions with the Colonel (4 of 11)

My Foreign Service Oral Assessment invitation arrived today! 107 days since I took the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) 66 days since I submitted the PNQs. I saw the email on my phone as I was headed for lunch, and wouldn't you know it, I couldn't download the file. And while it took a great deal of self-discipline not to rush to the nearest computer to find out the results, I decided that win or lose, it was better to find out on a full stomach. The butterflies aren't nearly as frantic when they are sated.

As I drove to the library to check my test results, the last song playing on the radio was the Black Eyed Peas "Tonight's gonna be a good night." Call it the power of positive thinking (even if you don't like the song), but I opened the letter with guarded optimism. Like most people, I stopped processing what I read after reading "Congratulations!" It's still not guaranteed that I'll pass the OA, but at least I'm still in contention. I'm currently deciding when to schedule my OA, as my job is looking to start getting busier as time goes by.


Concurrently, the paperwork for the second military promotion board has started to flow. I should point out that my career field is considered “mission support”, one that lacks the glamour and fraternity of being a ‘flier’ or the 'practical necessity' of several other career fields (medical, special operations, etc). This is a polite way of stating that the promotion opportunity for me “above the zone” was virtually non-existent.  Which led to a fun interchange between my boss and me during the career path discussion he's having with each of his subordinants:

Me: "Sir, I'm here for my appointment to discuss my career options with you."
Boss: "Yeah...so, given your situation, have you looked at what opportunities are available to you?"
Me: "I have. And very few of them involve staying in the military."
As for the extended metaphor: To me, it feels like I’m watching the engine oil temperature dial for my one remaining engine slowly rising and knowing that if the engine gets too hot, it’s going to seize up. You, my friend, are about to watch me become a very heavy glider.

To read my Military to Civilian Transition mini-series in chronological order, Click Here.
To read my Entering the Foreign Service mini-series in chronological order, Click Here.
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