Updates y’all! Since I disappeared 10 months ago, we found out where we’re going next. This time around, Diploman had a completely different bidding process. (See here for some info on how the process worked for the first two tours.) We knew it was coming, but even knowing a little about what to expect, it was a very daunting process this time around. Here’s the skinny.
Starting with the third tour, you are basically lobbying for jobs instead of just choosing from a pre-existing list, ranking them, submitting your choices to an HR assignments officer and hoping for the best. The process from here on out is much more similar to finding a job as a consultant, if that helps gives some context for you ex-consultants out there. You are relying on your reputation, lobbying with folks that you know or that know someone connected to the job, emailing those in the job currently, and also others who are considered decision makers for the job.
The first step though, is to look at the list projected vacancies for the season you are transferring. Find the jobs that fit timing wise after considering any required training, the requested arrival date from Post, and time for home leave (mandated “vacation” in the U.S. to reacquaint yourself with all things ‘Merica. This may seem weird, but it’s actually surprisingly necessary when you’ve been out of the country for a year plus. We’ve been back to the U.S. twice since we’ve been here, two visits within a month of each other – and let me tell you, reverse culture shock is as real as anything). You also have to consider the grade/level of the job, and of course, what the actual job is. If something doesn’t fit, it’s going to be that much harder to be competitive for the position.
Diploman was really on top of checking the projected vacancies list regularly and reaching out early (but not too early) to express interest in certain jobs. We were very certain about what we wanted – either a job that gave him Spanish language training (which is really hard to come by when you’re at your third tour already, considering how many Spanish speakers there already are in the Department), or Japan. Japan is absolutely amazing, but it was not at the top of my list because of how far it is, made even more important due to the impending arrival of Little Diplodude (baby #1) and knowing that grandparents of said Little Diplodude were going to want to see him as much as humanly possible.
So, after months of looking, studying an ever changing list, and emailing countless folks about job possibilities, we got supremely lucky and got our #1 choice: Guatemala City!
Break out the champagne, folks. We will head back to DC at the end of this summer, and then head to Guate in summer 2018. We are super excited, because Guatemala is awesome. The weather is amazing (land of eternal spring), Mike will get to learn Spanish, which will also mean we’ll be back in DC for about 8 months, Latin America is my jam, Little Diplodude will get to learn Spanish, and the fact that Diploman will have Spanish and experience in the exclusive club that is WHA (Western Hemisphere Affairs) opens up a ton of opportunities for the future. Oh, and the job is a good one too. We feel incredibly lucky to have gotten a great post yet again. Thank you, assignment gods!