Introverts in the U.S. Foreign Service

I recently had email from a reader who asked:

Thank you for such a great site.  As a fellow introvert, I am having a hard time choosing a cone.  I’ve narrowed it down to consular or management.  Do you find the management cone to be overwhelming as an introvert?

Consular also seems like it would be taxing on an introvert with the many interviews per day required.  Was it an issue during your consular tour?  Is that a good cone for introverts as well?

More on FS Salary and Benefits

As I’ve mentioned a few times on this site, my all-time most popular post deals with the Foreign Service salary. It seems to be one of aspects of the career people are most interested in. Fortunately, since it is a federal job, all of the salary information is publicly available. Unfortunately, we receive so many random allotments, bonuses, incentives, and perks that the salary alone doesn’t really give you the full pictures. In my article I discuss some of these incentives, but Jack over at Path to Foreign Service has really covered nearly every aspect of this.


Diplomats and Film – An Unfortunate History

Remember all those movies you’ve seen where the heroic American diplomat saves the day? Oh, I’m sorry. I’m thinking of the heroic soldier or CIA spy or “average Joe wronged by the system.” The Department of State official is generally the nerdy little guy who spouts regulations, hinders everything, and then gets punched by our hero.

Welcome to your future portrayal in the media if you join the U.S. Foreign Service. Maybe that’s not 100% true, but it feels like it. For whatever reason, diplomats tend to be portrayed as, at best, inept and, at worst, the villain in most films. Why this is I could only guess. (My number one guess would be our lack of guns.)


Promotions in the Foreign Service

For my 100th post, I asked for ideas for future posts and a few of you were kind enough to throw some good topics my way. In the comments of that post, Jay asked about promotions and pay increases, particularly early in your Foreign Service career.

As mentioned in my all-time most popular post about salary in the Foreign Service, all FS generalists enter the service with a grade of FS-06 to FS-04. In addition to your grade, you are also assigned a step within that grade from 1 to 14. That step increases every year and comes with a small salary increase. The grade, however, changes only upon promotion.


I’ve Got 99 Posts, But This Ain’t 1

Real life diplomacy is like the board game, but less violent.

Real life diplomacy is like the board game, but less violent.

That’s right, this post marks the big 1-0-0 for the site. It’s quite an achievement, if I say so myself.

When I began this blog, I knew I wanted to keep the site pretty much focused on how to best prepare for the Foreign Service exam with the occasional tidbit about what to expect in the Foreign Service lifestyle. There are tons of terrific FS blogs out there, but most of them tend to stray into the personal life of the writer. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that (I’ve been guilty a few times), but I wanted my site to be focused. After all, I know 99% of my followers aren’t reading because they’re fans of me, they want to know how to get my job.