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Having Options

Three years have passed since any substantive action regarding my continued exploration of the State Department’s Foreign Service. I first applied to an internship while in graduate school in 2008, but it did not work out. In the Fall of 2012, I began the more formal Foreign Service Officer (FSO) exam process and passed the following Spring. In fact, I have applied every year since then, making it to the final round all but twice. This year, I made it to the infamous “oral exam” (an intensive all-day experiential exam that tries to simulate the type of work an officer can expect) and passed. Three for three. Not bad. This time, however, I scored very well and am likely to receive an invitation to a new recruit’s class soon.

A very promising opportunity.

If you are noting that this has little to do with the general theme of this blog, namely the exploration of things we can do to welcome more meaning, awareness, and intentionality into life, you’re right. But that was not its original impetus. Back in the day, this space was devoted to working through the process of finding a higher and better use of my talents, and I like to keep the old school readers abreast of how that process has unfolded. It has included the twists and turns of a career that led to the non-profit sector in Chicago, time spent as a volunteer teacher in Jamaica, and now finds me in the energy and climate change space, a field that is exactly the type of work to which I had hoped to apply myself.

Your choice depends on where you want to go.

However, in addition to an update for the party faithful, this particular installment includes, tangentially, an idea that can accompany the search for “something better to do.” Namely, having options. Typically, when looking for a more meaningful way to earn one’s daily bread,

Options may seem limited. A person feels they only have one set of skills, or perhaps the idea of starting over – being the rookie – is unattractive. That is understandable. However, in some cases, a person (regardless of their tolerance for starting over) may find themselves with more than one potential road in front of them, a situation with pros and cons.

My current work, thankfully, lacks the dreadful feeling that inspired me to jump ship and find something better more than a decade ago. I relish the opportunity to do my bit to address a global challenge. In fact, I am not so sure I am ready to put it on hold, even if that means throwing away the hours spent working to put myself in this position vis-à-vis the State Department.

Fortunately, I don’t have to decide that right now. In fact, I find myself in that sweet spot of having work I like, with other options available, and plenty of time for consideration. And that is the other side of having options. If there is a time constraint, “paralyzed by choice” becomes a real thing. Options are best weighed and discerned in calm, not under pressure.

So no big moves right now. If there are, I’ll be sure to let you all know. For now, and as always, thank you for being along for the ride and all the support. It means a great deal.



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