Sunday, April 18, 2010

On your mark, get set, WAIT!

Red has been putting me to shame lately on posts (we are competitive... really competitive) so it is time to fill in the gaps. I passed the FSOT, hurray, and submitted my PNQs (5 essays about myself in relation to the 13 dimensions from which State evaluates candidates) and now I wait for the mercurial QEP (Qualification Evaluation Panel) to divine my fate. How long do I have to bide my time? A maddening 3-7 weeks, yet another nebulous amount of indeterminate time put forth by my future employer.

Passing the FSOT was a massive relief. I no longer feel as though I am dangling off the edge of a cliff. At least I have the confidence boost and validation that comes with realizing the first goal in a string of ever increasingly more difficult goals. If I had failed I would have had to retake the exam 11 months from now.

Next up is the OA (Oral Assessment) which is an all day interview, structured in three parts, GE (Group Exercise), SI (Structured Interview) and CM (Case Management). I will go more in-depth about each of these parts in later posts. The bottom line of the OA is the magic score of 5.25. This is the minimum score needed to pass along to the next ring of fire. Of course, all potential FSOs aim for a higher score in order to be quickly pulled of the register of qualified applicants and placed in the highly coveted a-100 class. A-100 is the goal of all of this, the name of original room as the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) where all future FSOs trained.

Now comes a level of strategy. There are ways to get bonus points added to your overall score. I can add .17 to my score by testing out of a foreign language (Romanian for me of course) but that comes with the caveat that I must serve in a country thats speaks said language (Romanian) in one of my first two tours. Because Romanian is only spoken in two countries (Romania and Moldova) I am some what limited in my choices. Luckily I can register for a foreign language test "after" my OA. So, if my score comes to an anemic 5.25-5.3, you can bet an additional .17 becomes a lot more attractive.

In other exciting news, I am no longer a banking shill. Saturday was my last day at the bank and I am off to the soul fulfilling work of grassroots community organizing. I've joined up with an environmental lobby working to pass new clean water legislation through government mandated take back laws of electronics. Old laptop? Don't know what to do with it? Soon you will be able to chuck it in with the rest of the glass bottles, old newspapers and empty milk jugs. That is if we don't get vetoed.

Red and I rocked out a massive top to bottom cleaning of the apartment today. The concrete is shinning, the ducts are dusted and the bed is made. Z watched us whiz around the apartment happily perched on her favorite couch cushion. The pure enjoyment I get from a clean apartment cannot be measured.