Trade in Wardrobe July 31, 2012Posted by KG in FS Life.
So as I mentioned a month or so ago, for the past nine plus weeks I’ve been in at FSI. Language training — which I am petrified of — begins after Labor Day. For the summer, I’ve been in what we call “tradecraft,” our term d’art for job training. In a year’s time I’ll be working in my first Public Diplomacy position, the functional specialty — aka “cone” — I chose before joining the service in 2005. Many in my Foreign Service generation have been in the difficult place of having to wait a few tours before working in-cone. In my case, I will have been in the service almost eight years when I finally get to do the work I wanted to do when I joined. That’s decidedly non-optimal.
After years of consular and desk work, I’m not embarrassed to say I was beginning to have my doubts about my chosen cone. I’ve now almost completed the full slate of PD training — dealing with the press, working social media, the basics of grants, cultural programs, exchanges, public speaking. And though the functional insights have had their own value, that’s not the biggest thing I’ll be taking away. The best part of training: the past weeks have, with great success, made me excited again to be a PD officer.
Though really, that’s only the milestone I’m excited about in the long-term. The short-term milestone that has me most excited right now is being able to shelve part of my wardrobe. The dress code at FSI is decidedly relaxed, but about once a week during tradecraft I’ve had to put on a suit, for meetings with higher-ups or other important contacts. Today was the last of those meetings, and the number of days I will need to wear a suit will decidedly dwindle when I’m in language training. So other than very special occasions: no suits for at least nine months!