I know it’s been a while.... I tend to lurk mostly as I’m either in the wrong time zone or life just gets away from me. We’re really enjoying living in Argentina and it being a ‘real’ place: there are more restaurants than we’ll ever visit, multiple stores for everything, basically a lot of things we take for granted in the US.

But now time is upon me.... 3rd tour bidding. I thought when I joined the Foreign Service (State Dept), that I wouldn’t have to look for a job for a while. Well, jokes on me. The 1st and 2nd tours are directed, though we do get to at least rank our list. But the 3rd tour? That’s starts ‘bidding’ for our next assignments. In short, it’s like finding a new job..... in your current job.

We have a system that tells us what should, in theory, be available during the next assignment timeframe (Summer 2020) and now I need to start the whole bidding process. It will involve a federal resume, talking to people, calling all my contacts that can help lobby for me, etc. In the end, it all comes down to who you know a lot of times. Corridor reputation is a thing. In September/October, then can officially offer you positions, which will be a crazy time where you try to line up the places you want and hope you’re the top pick for at least one of them.

I’m behind in the whole process due to being short-staffed and wearing too many hats in the office/Embassy. My new boss-boss has told me I should make bidding a priority and that the other slack can be picked up by others (my slacker boss). So now I have a list of positions and places that I’m trying to sort through to see where I’m even interested in going next?

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This is the part where I need to decide what’s most important to me; an ambitious job? An awesome place? A mix of both? Money (hardship differential)? Somewhere closer to the US? Can the animals go? So many factors to research and weigh. Going for a more ambitious position (a position in a grade above mine, called a stretch) will require me to wait a few months after official bid season to get confirmation and I could be out of the job I want and have to accept something leftover (not always a bad thing). It’s all..... Stressful.

In theory, I’d love to serve on a tropical island. I don’t like the cold and I need sunshine. But the jobs available next summer don’t have many of those that are realistic jobs. Either they’re a stretch position and a popular place (I won’t be competitive for that) or it would be a status-quo position in a decent place. There are some stretches in harder places that I may be interested in.... but we’ll see how it all shakes out.

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