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Archive for the ‘Foreign Service’ Category

EER Tips

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Unfortunately for most Foreign Service folks it is Employee Evaluation Report (EER) time again.  The rating period ended on April 15, and if your post is being timely you should have your final submissions to the review panel right now.

I’ve written a lot of EERs – whether as the rated employee, rater, or reviewer.  Over time you see the same mistakes being made, and while my more experienced colleagues have undoubtedly similar experience, here are a few things to avoid at all costs in your EER.  Your EER is the only thing the panel sees when it comes to promotion time.  Assuming promotion is important to you, you should give it your best effort.

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Written by OSB

25/04/2013 at 22:02

Posted in Foreign Service

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RQ: Advanced Degrees

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A reader asks,

I’ve read that State doesn’t take Masters or PhDs into account when making your initial salary offer.  Why not?  This seems like it would discourage a lot of otherwise qualified future FSOs.

I sympathize with those earning an advanced degree when they get an offer of employment – I was one of them!  But I think it makes sense in the end.  Keep in mind that I have no idea what the actual reasoning behind the policy is (above my pay grade), but here are some thoughts. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

23/04/2013 at 07:12

RQ: Overseas Housing

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A reader recently asked ,

 What is FSO housing like overseas?  Does it vary with family size or rank?

Someone posted a similar question on the State Careers Forum, which, while having a sizable peanut gallery offering sometimes terrible answers/advice, does OK sometimes (as long as you put more weight on the green checked-users).

Housing overseas, first of all, is free.  You’d be surprised how many things people find in their housing units to complain about when they effectively pay $0 in rent and $0 in major repairs (plumbing, electricity, structural issues if there are any).  Post’s Housing section, usually a General Services Office function, normally does a good job maintaining the residences and making them habitable.  Now, “habitable” varies greatly from country to country.  European apartments tend to be small, especially if you have a large family.  Housing assignments do take family size into account, but it’s also important to remember that your housing also depends on the rank of the position you’re serving in.  Funny how FSOs have rank in person, but housing goes by rank in position! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by OSB

21/04/2013 at 09:32

New (Brief) DS Vacancy Announcements Open

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Both the Security Engineering Officer and Security Technical Specialist vacancy announcements are open from April 10 – April 22.  This is the first time in about a year and a half that the SEO position has been open for applications.

As always, I am happy to answer questions about either position within certain limitations.  I do require non-spam e-mail addresses, though.  Contact me at [this blog name] at gmail dot com.

Written by OSB

10/04/2013 at 02:30

President Obama, Secretary Clinton Commemorate the Benghazi Four

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Foreign Service Vacancy Announcements: IMS, IMTS/R, IMTS/T

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Three Foreign Service Specialist skill codes are now open for applications.

Information Management Specialist (until 9/19)

Information Management Technical Specialist/Radio (until 9/12)

Information Management Technical Specialist/Telephone (until 9/12)

All three of these skill codes fall under the Information Resource Management bureau, and support the Department of State’s most vital function: communication.  Candidates must be US Citizens at least 21 years of age but younger than 60, be worldwide available, able to obtain a medical clearance, and obtain a Top Secret security clearance.

Don’t Forget Where You Put Your Fake Bombs

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This story has been making the rounds of the DS Community lately:

OSLO (Reuters) – A wide section of the Norwegian capital’s downtown area was evacuated on Tuesday and special forces were deployed after a suspected bomb – later found to be a training device – was found attached to a U.S. Embassy vehicle.

The fake bomb was inadvertently left on the car and triggered a security alert when it tried to go through a routine check, Oslo police said in a statement.


“Our bomb squad removed the object and found that it was a practice bomb which was previously used for an internal exercise at the embassy,” the police statement said.

Coverage of the story can be found pretty much everywhere, including the Daily Mail, ABC, Time, and CBS.  While readiness tests such as this one are quite common at US Embassies around the world, this is the first time I can recall one going to wrong for such a silly oversight. I hate to rag on my colleagues, but come on guys.

Written by OSB

02/08/2012 at 12:39