The Ambassador Who Worked from the Toilet

This article from Ars Technica is a pretty interesting read and addresses two undeniable facts of the U.S. Department of State:

  1. It can be very easy for one bad person at post to ruin the morale for everyone. That is especially true when the person is the ambassador.
  2. Our colleagues in IRM are underpaid and have to deal with a lot of complaints that are really out of their control.

24 Hours With A U.S. Diplomat

One of the more popular features of this blog has been my series of posts about the day in the life of a Foreign Service Officer. I haven’t added new entries to that series in a while because I’ve covered most of the work that I feel comfortable with. Fortunately, CNN has come along to do my job for me. Even better, they profiled someone I worked with.

Charlie Slater, 59, has spent the last 21 years working in U.S. embassies all over the world — from Sierra Leone and Pakistan to Thailand and Ethiopia.


Can You Pass the FSOT?

I recently noticed the U.S. Department of State offers a practice test on their site that will give you a rough approximation of your chances of passing the FSOT. After nearly nine years in, I thought I’d take it and see if I would have any chance these days of successfully beating the exam.

FSOT Results

A solid “B”. Better than most of my college grades.


How to Close a U.S. Embassy

I’m certain you’ve all been following the news. The United States is closing – at least for the moment – the embassy in Sanaa, Yemen due to the deteriorating security environment following a recent coup. This is a big step, and not one taken lightly. It is no simple thing to close one of our embassies and besides the diplomatic impact, it also throws the lives of those USG employees working at the mission into turmoil.

Peter Van Buren (famously known for all of this stuff) has written a very informative piece for Reuters about the nuts and bolts of closing an embassy.


The Work of the U.S. Foreign Service (VIDEO)

Although recently reposted on YouTube, this video is actually a few years old now. It’s essentially a recruiting piece and does a really nice job of giving a brief overview of the work of the U.S. Foreign Service. I know a few people in the video and had a tour in a special off-shoot of the Operations Center discussed.

If you skip ahead to the 5:13 point, there are a few tips on preparing for the exam, especially helpful at the moment as the FSOT is currently underway in select locations overseas and should be starting soon in the States.