American Southwest Family Vacation

We followed historic Route 66 on our way to see the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, the Painted Desert, plus much more in New Mexico and Arizona.

End of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Here are our stories from two and a half years of living in Saudi Arabia while exploring the region.

Excursions to Oman

On two different trips, we strolled Muscat, hiked Wadi Shab, and sailed a dhow through the fjords of Musandam.

Our Expedition to Jordan

Highlights included tracing the steps of Indiana Jones into Petra, following Lawrence of Arabia into Wadi Rum, and floating in the Dead Sea.

Our Adventures in Sri Lanka

Safaris to spot leopards and elephants, swimming in the Indian Ocean, sipping tea in the mountains, and several more!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Considering my Options: U.S. Foreign Service Officer (2 of 11)

To summarize how things have been going (within the extended metaphor of a plane losing its engines): I’m now more concerned about just making it to somewhere I can land, so that I don’t have to ditch in the middle of an ocean of unemployment. I’m a strong swimmer, but there’s no telling how long I’d have to tread water before getting rescued.
So the best course of action is for me to adjust course and hope that the other engine doesn’t cut out before I’m within sight of land. And this led me to apply to the State Department to become a Foreign Service Officer. It’s the equivalent of packing my parachute.
The process to become a Foreign Service Officer is long, so I started my application the day after I was first notified of my non-selection for promotion. I took the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) (formerly the FSWE…also regarded by many as the Federal government’s toughest written “smart-guy” exam) on 4 June 2011.


There were three parts to the multiple-choice section and an essay, but you must score at least a 154 or above on the multiple-choice section before the essay is even looked at. To pass the essay section—essentially qualifying to continue the application process—requires a score of 6 or more on a 12 point scale. I scored a total 176.41!

For you FSO hopefuls that might care, the breakout was:
Job Knowledge: 63.02 
Biographic Information: 55.63
English Expression: 57.76. 

With an essay score of 8, I moved on to the next round…the Personal Narratives. So at least I know there’s a working parachute on-board.

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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End Of Tour Summary: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

We spent two and a half years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on our second tour in the Foreign Service with the US Department of State. As you migh...

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