Bidmania ends!

I just sent in my bid list to my CDO and now its all up to karma, I guess.  I’ve felt kind of like Forrest Gump in this whole process, just being myself and things have worked out splendidly.  Even if I don’t get my most desired post, I’ve got a good strategy in place that should produce something relatively in line with expectations, regardless.  I’ll be happy no matter where I end up, and there’s no guarantee that your first selection is going to be roses and candy.

It was an interesting process, really.  I found out today that I’m off language probation, so I’m free from that issue in the near term.  Language is still going to be a big consideration for me in the future and I’ll likely learn Chinese, maybe Spanish/Portugese eventually.  But for now, I’m hoping for a non-language, early departure post.

Initially in the process I went through and eliminated all the posts that I was simply ineligible for simply due to the language requirements and the timing of the post. There’s no way I’m going to learn (Spanish/ Portugese/ German/ Dutch/ Russian/ Chinese/ InsertRandomLanguage here) by the summer. After that, I was extremely flexible, ready and willing to go anywhere.

I broached the subject of a possible hardship post with the Emminent Wife and we began to consider the implications of extending our family separation (NOTE: this is not a legal or marital separation, it’s just the term used when FSO live apart from their families) through the first post.  The more the Emminent Wife thought about it, the more she realized that while it entailed significant hardship heartache, it had some significant benefits for the Emminent Child and her continued cultural development.

Once we leave Japan entirely, she’ll be out of the Japanese cultural system probably for good. Even if we get posted back there, she’ll most likely attend an international school.  Two more years of elementary school would really go a long way for building a solid core and foundation in a cultural sense that is more likely to persevere. It would be great for her to still have that Japanese sense of self that she could tap into in the future, but if they moved out now, it’s unlikely to be but a whisper and a memory in a deep cultural sense.

Although this request represented essentially my worst case scenario and the one situation I’d sought to avoid at all costs, when the EW makes up her mind, fighting her on it only makes it worse.  I trust her enough that I don’t think she did this deliberately. As much as you try to think things through, you can’t really make a real decision until you actually have it in front of you. We felt it when I got the invitation letter and it changed the moving calculation as well.

So yeah, it’s pretty crappy that I’m going to be living alone for the next two years with occasional visit from the two Emminences, hopefully it works out as we’re envisioning it.

Now that’s a pretty huge diversion from the topic at hand though, which is bidding strategy.  As I started to say, I was super flexible, almost to a fault, and this change of perspective really helped me to focus my plan. I formulated a strategy based around in-cone positions at posts with a high hardship differential.  This gets me into the main work I’ll be doing for my career early on and forces me to take my consular tour in the second round.  But if I get posted to a place with a high differential, I’ll get to choose my second post a little bit before others, giving me a slight advantage in choosing a place ideally suited for the reunited family. As additional frosting on the cake, consular positions typically work more regular hours so I’ll be around a little bit more, perhaps, or at least with more reliability and predictability than a political position.  That’s the theory at least.

So now its just a matter of waiting about 3 more weeks.  Hopefully I’m leaving almost immediately thereafter for a hardship post in my cone, but it’s essential I keep in mind the still very real possibility I might spend the next 10 months studying Chinese in D.C.

Leave a comment


  1. B-chan

     /  April 22, 2011

    Hey I hope you go to Papau New Guinea (because it looked cool on the TV show I saw about it)! I suppose there’s no mission there (you’re not working for National Geographic?) I’m really looking forward to see the results (so I can plan a trip). Any chance we’re talking Africa?
    Are people leaving comments? If so, how can I see them?

  2. just found your blog and added to my blogroll. Congrats on your assignment! Tell us more about it.

  3. Where is your first post? I’ve been following some of your colleagues’ blogs in the the 160th hoping for good bid list karma in return. 🙂


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