Wanted: Stories of the 'Real' Foreign Service
All others need not apply.
You see, as I mentioned in my last post, this blog was recently deleted from a blog roll. Never mind the fact that its presence on that site was specifically requested well over two years ago. The online community specialist managing the page (at the time) was eager to list it, glad for my input and seemed grateful for my participation. I always thought it was a rather arbitrary list, but it seemed like a work in progress and names were being added, not subtracted (at first). Recently and without warning, that inexplicably changed. Care to guess why?
I used the "n" word:
Sunday evening, when I noticed the blog missing, I wrote to the online specialist who had contacted me way back when. The next day I heard from a new community specialist. I was told in no uncertain terms that my blog does not have "content relevant to the U.S. Foreign Service". When I replied back with a description of the content that is more than related, I received a response from yet another new person. The response from that person?
Hopefully, you can understand that some topics covered in your blog are very personal in nature, e.g. nipple cozies, and wouldn’t necessarily resonate with the majority of potential candidates who are interested in learning about the FS life overseas. Through our years of recruitment experience, we found that FS prospects want to learn more about the work that’s conducted, the people and cultures with whom they will interact, the travel experiences, and the individual stories our employees* have to share.
Oh! They want travel experiences and individual stories. I'm sorry, have I not been providing that information?
So you mean describing stories about life after a diagnosis of breast cancer while your FS husband is serving in Iraq on an unaccompanied tour 6,219 miles away is not an individual story? You mean detailing how you got through said issue, how you managed to pick yourself up off the floor each day despite feeling like your world had completely fallen apart (oh, wait, it had) and managed to somehow dust yourself off and keep going with your Foreign Service life is of no interest? Guess that means I am the *only* one who will ever have to deal with such a thing.
The fact that we ended up doing a second unaccompanied tour? Booooring. Or that I had what, 4 surgeries in the past 18 months (scheduled AROUND my husband's most recent posting, so that he would be able to complete his obligations?)? Um, hello, that's *too* personal, repugnant even!
You know, like life in the Foreign Service. Unless my life is somehow different and everyone else is perfect. Do others not have family issues, worries about elderly parents, kids with special needs (medical or otherwise), curtailments, and health or safety issues overseas? Apparently, with the exception of our family, for the other 10,000 or so folks, FS life is charmed. Right-O.
Now, if I had received some remotely logical explanation that they decided to rotate blogs (which would be fine, except that they didn't), or something even a teeny bit diplomatic, I might not have thought twice about the situation. However, there is no way on earth that I can be told by someone who works in recruiting (and, to my knowledge, is not actually in the FS) that my blog is not relevant for FS candidates or their families.
In fact, today I have been told repeatedly how valuable it is to others, something that made me teary-eyed, but in a good way. Quite a different response than I had when I read the email from the recruiter, particularly the above in italics, which just struck me to the core. How could the person manage to pick the *one* issue that would stop me in my tracks and leave me shaken beyond belief? How could my past illness and my desire to share what I went through (God forbid anyone else in the FS deal with it) be suddenly held against me?
All because I used the word nipple. And you thought the lack of world peace was scary? That's got nothing on my nipple!
So, want the *perfect* Foreign Service experience? Well, avert your eyes, it's not to be found on this blog!
Want real life FS experiences? Stay tuned....because if you thought all bets were off before, you haven't read anything yet.
A huge debt of gratitude goes out to those who have supported me in this matter today, to include those currently on the *official* roll and those who are not or were also removed or, even more inexplicably, never asked. Many, many thanks to those who have posted (everywhere) with support, including those who are linked below:
*Yet not all blogs (to include mine) are those of employees, but somehow I'd guess that wasn't realized. You know, what with the focus on my nipple and all!