Monday, October 21, 2013

So, How's Work?

Blogging about work can be tricky. The State Department has a very broad-brush personal social media policy, which requires clearance on anything "of official concern" to the Department. No one really knows exactly what that means, so to avoid accidentally crossing any invisible lines many of my colleagues restrict their blogging to discussing hobbies, posting vacation photos, and telling stories about the cute things their kids have done lately. In short, talking about anything and everything except being a Foreign Service Officer. I can't say I blame them, but I do think it's a shame. When I was looking at joining the Foreign Service I was disappointed by how hard it was to find out about the work, so when I started this blog I made a conscious decision to talk about my job, to the degree I felt comfortable doing so and still getting to keep it.

Well, I'm not talking about my job much these days. This is because there are two parts to American Citizen Services work - the Boring Part and the Interesting Part - and neither of them has a place on the blog. The Boring Part, which takes up the majority of my time, is routine bureaucratic paperwork stuff. I sign things. I click buttons. I put little barcode stickers on forms. There's nothing to say about it because it's boring. The Interesting Part of ACS work is what happens when things go wrong. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes members of vulnerable groups like children and the mentally ill end up needing a little extra help. Sometimes the people coming in are just normal adults who have made Poor Life Choices and would like our help dealing with the consequences. But all of them are American citizens with privacy rights, and while this part of the job can make for GREAT stories, they aren't stories I can put in my blog.

I'll still try to talk about work a little, when I can, but it won't be often. However, just consider that missing a few juicy blog posts is a small price to pay for the confidence that no consular officer is going to splash your Poor Life Choices all over the Internet. We'll just let you do that yourself on Facebook.


  1. That's why FSOs have happy hours... to trade stories in nontraceable ways!