Thursday, January 31, 2008


So, two weeks until I leave post, and I am reminded of how much I hate details. Specifically, logistical details. More specifically, bureaucratic logistical details. Does what you're asking involve a form? Does that form have a coded number name? Will that form need to be revised 5 or 6 times before any actual action results from it? Will the form-initiated action be any more effective than if I just paid the money / booked the flight / called the movers myself? No? Then don't show it to me. No, really, I mean it - I'd rather gouge out an eye.

I'd like to think that my reaction to bureaucracy was more tempered when I was not assigned to such a detail oriented legal job. This would mean that I might at some point return to a more normal level of response (mild disdain) than what I'm currently exhibiting (barely contained rage yoked to an apparently misplaced desire for reasonableness). I am generally a fan of checks and balances in a system, but to deal with a regulatory structure containing widely acknowledged and yet perennially unaddressed flaws is maddening. The way State handles travel orders is broken. When things are broken, you should fix them. There's no reason for every deployment to be an exercise in Zen-like perseverance.

If the section tries to throw me some sort of surprise goodbye party, that's going to put me right over the edge.


amh2go said...

Do FSOs get some type of relocation leave between posts, or does one have to use accrued personal leave? Or, perhaps, a combination of the two?

Also, I am scheduled for the FS Oral Assessment - any words of wisdom?


Heather said...

Katie, this is your best post yet! I may have to quote you in my next post.

Digger said...

I am constantly amazed (okay, mortified actually) that as often as State moves us around the planet, they are not better at it. I try to be sort of zen about will happen because it always does...but I have a tendency towards planning and organization that doesn't seem to work well with the process.

I have one suggestion: every person involved in the process of getting us overseas needs to serve one overseas tour. Because I often think they don't know or care the affect their decisions have on us.

By the way, I can't remember if I told you that I added you to my blogroll at

fsowalla said...

where are you posted next? at the end of the paperwork you get people packing your stuff, moving it, and unpacking it somewhere else. not bad all things considered. of course, they've never dropped any of my crates into the ocean (kow).

Katie said...

Leave depends on a number of different factors. There is mandated home leave depending on how long you've been overseas, admin leave depending on where you're going next, and then accrued leave for personal things (such as finding a place to live). And probably a few other types I'll miss out on because I didn't correctly fill out a form.

My only advice for the oral assessment is to read the State website describing its objectives and structure. It was very apparent which people had NOT done so.

Kathy! Send me an email and tell me when you'll be in DC!

I'm posted to Jordan after some lengthy training. Let's not speak of crates and oceans.

Dakota said...

Does it comfort you at all that there's a definitive end date? I HATE logistics, and am possibly the least detail-oriented person on the planet, so moving every couple of years should be hellacious for me -- but for some reason when it comes down to it, I find it sort of comforting knowing that it's all going to get done -- it must! -- before the departure date. If it were open ended, so that they'd allow you to leave only once you'd checked every box on their checklist, THEN I would find it nauseating.

Sara said...

I had to come back and read this post again, as I sit here twiddling my thumbs and waiting for my travel orders. And I'm just getting started! Guess I better get used to deep breathing.