Foreign Service update – clearances complete, figuring out my next move

So I obviously haven’t posted any updates regarding my application to the Foreign Service last spring, and I’m sure the myriad of FS officers and hopefuls are itching to know what the story is. Well, I contacted State yesterday out of curiousity and was surprised to learn that my security clearance finally went through last week! This was a bit of a surprise, as I was expecting to have to wait at least another couple of months. At the moment I have no news on whether I actually made it onto the register, but I’m expecting to hear more definite news regarding that within the next couple of weeks.

At this point I’m happy to hear my candidacy is still alive, but a bit worried that I might get an offer right away (that is, within the next month or two). As nuts as it may sound, I’m toying with requesting a deferment if that happens. I know there’s really no professional reason for this (I work as an ESL teacher after all, not exactly a career ambition) – a Foreign Service position would pay far better, allow some degree of career stability, and would give me the fantastic benefits that come with being a federal employee.

That being said, I’m actually sort of happy with the way things have been going lately. While I don’t exactly love teaching (I’m not the most effective teacher and some days I feel more like a zookeeper!), I love my boss and coworkers, I absolutely ADORE my students, and I really enjoy living in Korea. Considering the experiences I’ve heard from fellow expat ESL teachers, I feel like I’ve really gotten lucky with this job. It can be a pain sometimes, but I really like having the day-to-day human contact in this job that I never got as a cubicle-bound engineer.

On top of this, my life has been in an almost constant state of flux (both career-wise and in terms of physical location) for the past year and a half, with the result being that I have few friends or roots to speak of. While I am most definetely not ready to settle down, I would really like to stay in one place for at least long enough to actually meet people and have something resembling a normal life for a while. That, plus I feel like I’m finally starting to form a little niche here. Everything I could possibly want is within walking distance, I know my way around, have a routine, and am even finally starting to make some friends in this city.

On top of the personal reasons, holding off for a short while would allow me to take care of some financial concerns – notably selling my house and replenishing my somewhat depleted savings.

The good news is that I’ve heard that State seems to suffer an almost chronic hiring shortage when it comes to SEOs. I’m hoping this continues to be true, since it would mean that my chances of getting called up for ANY future orientation class is pretty good. If I don’t, well…I feel pretty optimistic and the 18-month hiring window I think gives me a really good chance of getting called up sooner or later. Right now I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude – I’ll just deal with how to handle an offer when and/or if I get one. If it doesn’t work out, there’s other jobs out there and I can always re-apply a year or two down the road.

I know a lot of other Foreign Service personnel and hopefuls read this blog – maybe they can share some insight? I would love to hear from anyone else who has been in a similar position…hopefully it worked out for you.

~ by theuncommonlife on July 15, 2010.

2 Responses to “Foreign Service update – clearances complete, figuring out my next move”

  1. Nice blog! I’ve done a similar route; teaching English in Korea, A-100, and now i’m posted back to Seoul. Feel free to ask me any questions you’ve got.

  2. Hi quirksalight, thanks for the compliments! Always glad to meet another Seoul-area blogger šŸ™‚ I actually have several Foreign Service-related questions for you – I’ll send you an e-mail when I get a chance.

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