Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mid-Level Bidding Game

The first two tours in the Foreign Service are directed. My first tour was a competition of 23 people for 23 positions (just my class) and second tour was 42 people and positions (all first tour people moving that summer). We ranked the full list from 1 to 42 and provided a little narrative explaining why we needed or wanted the posts we picked. A Career Development Officer (CDO) reviewed it all together and considered personal constraints like family and medical needs. The CDO put people in positions in one big step. It seemed like a fair system for balancing service needs with individual needs and desires. I miss that system.

This blog post is about the completely different game of mid-level bidding. It's not unlike Sheldon's Friendship Algorithm. However, imagine a huge diagram that has a bunch of people engaging in this diagram with a bunch of posts in order to narrow down about 50 options into 5 to 10 bids for each person.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Caracas - Year 1 Review

It's been just about a year so it's probably time to take a look back from this halfway point. I knew there wouldn't be as much leisure travel from here like I did from Stockholm. We took short trips to Aruba and Curacao since they're so close and affordable flights were available. We only managed 2 trips inside Venezuela. There was the nearby Colonia Tovar for a night and the nice beaches in Morrocoy for a long weekend.

Our first R&R was back to Stockholm. Cost-construct actually covered the flights so that was a nice affordable vacation. R&R is a good little perk for serving at a hardship post. The usefulness of it increases in places with lower flight availability. A lot of the flights out of here are expensive so going to the U.S. or Europe was equally expensive when we did it.

Here's a very small map of this year's new travels: