I alluded to this a few posts ago, so without further ado, here is my next post:
Beirut, Lebanon! I'll head there in early 2015 to encumber a consular position.
This was my first time bidding mid-level, which was as nebulous a process as you always hear it is. Many of my FS-acquainted readers will be wondering how I have already been assigned when the Summer 2014 bid cycle is still open. Well, it was a surprise, and it happened very quickly, but it worked out well.
I had been bidding a different position in Beirut on the Summer 2014 list when I was alerted to a position in Beirut on the Now list. This one fit my timing and was more interesting, professionally. On Tuesday I found out about and interviewed for the position, Wednesday I was asked to submit a formal bid on it, and on Thursday I received a handshake. I formally accepted it on Monday after talking it over with family and friends and getting concurrence from the career development folks and was paneled a week later.
The Now list isn't bound by the same timelines as the regular cycle, and this position met my timing because I already am sufficiently proficient in Arabic. So for those of you who will soon be mid-level bidders, don't forget about the Now list - it can yield unexpected gems!
Professionally-speaking, this is a great job. Personally, it's a tougher assignment. It's not unaccompanied, but it's a danger post for a reason, and movement is restricted. But I know that going into the assignment and don't see that as a major impediment for me, personally. I had initially been considering a priority staffing post, so now's a good time to do this tour, one of the harder of the hardship tours.
My family isn't 100% thrilled by this assignment but support my decision. I think the financial incentives and the four R&Rs help ease the pain a little :-). I thank a good friend who let me walk through the pros and cons that Wednesday and helped me realize this was the right decision for right now.
Actually, that's one of the things I really like about the FS. Each post and each job has its own unique qualities, and there are a lot of right for right now jobs/posts. And those 'right' jobs/posts are different for every person.
So while I'm a bit disappointed I won't be going back to the United States for a longer period of time, won't learn a new language, and won't head to a new region, there are a lot of great things about Beirut. Decent weather, amazing food, phenomenal scenery, awesome travel opportunities, wonderful people, and an exciting and challenging job. Not to mention it starts my mid-level career off well and meets a few important professional development criteria that will be critical for future advancement. Plus, the cats can go with me!
But perhaps the best thing of all - I learned my fate in mid-September instead of waiting until November or later. That two months of not lobbying and being anxious and 'what if'-ing everything is priceless.
So I'm settling in for my final year in Kampala (has it been a year already?!) and trying to stay in the moment. And - a little bit of bragging - I just got promoted :-). It's been a pretty fantastic fall so far, with more to come!