8 Long Weeks

My name is Vick and this is my first post, so I guess I’ll pick up where the “About Us” section left off and try to add some context.

March 25, 2015: the genesis of Vicklomacy.

I have passed the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT) and submitted my Personal Narrative (PN) essays for consideration by the Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP) in the political career track. From this point, it will be EIGHT long weeks until I know if I have been invited to take the day-long Oral Assessment (OA, or FSOA, depending on who is writing about it) to receive a conditional offer to work in my dream job. Meanwhile, Lady Vick is waiting to take the FSOT in June (economic track). If you’re reading this, you probably know what all of that means, but in case you don’t, there is a popular flow-chart that sums up the entire process pretty well:

fso-hiring-flow-chart <– click to magnify

Essentially, the path to becoming a diplomat is a very slow one that can end very abruptly. It can also be frustrating because there is very little feedback. A candidate who passes the FSOT but fails the QEP will never know why. A candidate who passes the QEP but fails the OA will know which sections of the OA that they failed but not why they failed them. Passing the OA is the final step, but even that only gets you onto a rank-ordered “register” (or REGISTER!!!$!!$!! – depending on who is writing about it). Once on the register, you may receive an offer to begin diplomatic training and thus your diplomatic career (this training is called A-100), or your name may simply languish on the register for 18 months before being automatically removed.

So to sum this up: if you’re truly dedicated, intrepidly passionate and irreconcilably obsessed, and you resolve to persist until you finally get to A-100; it still might not work out for you, because you’re you, and you’re just not a good fit, and you’ll never know why.

That being said, roughly half of all FSOs had to take more than one swing at the process before becoming one, so there is something to be said for intrepidity.

In eight weeks, I’ll know if I’m at the halfway point or destined to start over.

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