Friday, August 6, 2010

Spouse Day and Security Clearance

I can tell you that the most often heard expression in my life these days is "security clearance." Everyone keeps talking about it. Everywhere. I almost asked the cleaning lady today--Do you have security clearance? (Btw, I am sure she does...). A good friend of mine with whom I had drinks last night was telling me about the new love interest in her life--without thinking, I blurted out, "oh, does he have security clearance?" to which, without batting an eyelash, she responded immediately, "yes"! Welcome to DC.
Life in the fast lane of the Foreign Service has been interesting. On Wednesday, I attended an overly informative Spouse Orientation Day. Every hour or so, a new group of excited, enthusiastic and dedicated folks would drop by the classroom filled with confused wives and three husbands, and happily inundate us with huge amounts of info, sprinkled by many six-letter acronyms. By the end of the day, we were all so lost in the myriad of health, security (!), child care and family assistance information, that we would have gladly taken a post in Burundi immediately just to get away from that room.
As a reward, that same afternoon, the Fledgling Diplomats were given the "BID LIST." For those uninitiated folks who don't know what that is--it is the list of posts available to a class of foreign service officers, and they get to rank/bid on each post depending on their country preferences. Now, don't get the silly idea that the list has Paris or Rome or London on it. No, no. The Fledgling Diplomats can choose among exotic locations like Bujumbura, Abijan, Ho Chi Min or Hermosillo, MX among others. The crazy part is--we LOVE it! So, we have 2 weeks to rank preferences for our first post, and we find out about what we picked out of the diplomatic hat on August 26th. Cross your fingers for Burundi! Yes, I was kidding on that last one.


  1. Fingers crossed that you get one of your high bids!

  2. "The Fledgling Diplomats can choose among exotic locations like Bujumbura, Abijan, Ho Chi Min or Hermosillo, MX among others".

    On the subject of security clearances, the content of the bid list is SBU (Sensitive But Unclassified). Meaning its content should not be posted on an open blog site. Sorry to be harsh about this, but just want to keep you and your spouse out of any trouble.

    Great blog by the way!

  3. I don't think you could get in trouble for listing a couple places as examples of what's on the list - besides, you didn't even say it has Bujumbura, just "locations like Bujumbura."

    Anyway, good luck with bidding!

  4. I am just starting the process and will be following your progress with great excitement! May I ask what age range you and your spouse are in? I think I am probably a bit older than the average candidate at 44 years.

  5. Stan, there are folks there ALL ages. Not even sure an average would be fair. 44 is a fantastic age, good luck!!

  6. @Anonymous--the bid lists are often publicized at opne membershi yahoo groups. Which is why I didn't even think of it as a possible problem. But thank you for the thought, I will keep it in mind in the future!