Sunday, November 10, 2013

(Rent to) Own It

I doubt that Kaylea thought about it much when she introduced me to her A-100 colleague, a new officer headed out to Tripoli for a Pol job.  "Katie's going to Libya, too," she explained.  "Oh?  What job will you have?" was his natural question.  He was casual and friendly, clutching his messenger bag.

Hallways are great social equalizers, and I hated to disturb the laid back nature of our encounter.  But a direct question deserves a direct response:  "Pol Chief."  I injected every bit of confidence I could into the words.  It was the first time I'd ever said the job title aloud.

"Oh!"  He straightened up, surprised, all but saluting.  There was some quick rearranging of the messenger bag to a slightly less slouchy angle.  I was surprised, too -- surprised that he had taken my confidence at complete face value.  He clearly had no idea that, just that morning, I had been wondering when someone was going to call my bluff and let me know they'd rethought the decision to put me in charge of a section.  Because, honestly -- what were they thinking?

A clarification that I wouldn't be getting there till 2015 (i.e., I would not be his boss) allowed him to relax again, but the polite deference remained.  Polite deference I certainly hadn't earned, but which protocol dictated I accept.  It was... uncomfortable?  Strange?  Humbling?  I wasn't really sure how to feel about it.

If I can just fool all the other people at Post, too, I'll be golden.  If I could earn the deference -- even better.


Si Hua Deng said...

I just recently started reading your blog, and I am interested in becoming a FS officer. I am doing a research paper for one of my high school courses regarding this occupation. It would be amazing if I could ask you a couple of questions related to this career. Is there any possible way I could reach you outside of this comment box if I were to interview you? Thank you so much!

Geraldine Kiser said...

I have every confidence that you will do a fantastic job. You are just that kind of person. 8^)

Katie said...

Thanks, Mom. I decided I will get at this question through periodic anonymous polling of my underlings.

Si Hua, I would be happy to talk to you, though I'm not entirely sure how to share my contact information here without inviting a lot of spam. If you search for me on Facebook, perhaps that is safest.

Si Hua Deng said...

I tried searching Katie Kiser on Facebook seeing that Ms. Geraldine Kiser is your mother; however, there were multiple Katie Kiser. Am I looking up the correct name? Is there another way I could find you on Facebook?

Sharon said...

Does this mean that you won't be leaving until 2015? When are you going to see me?? John will be home Dec 18 and I know he is wanting to see you too! And Sarah will be at GWU until December--she finds out this week if she is going to spend her final semester in Australia. Contact me--number is same from Hawaii.

Katie said...

Si Hua, if you tell me your town, I can try to find you on Facebook -- maybe that's easier.

Sharon, I'm here till summer 2014! I'm sure I'll see you before I go.

Si Hua Deng said...

Could I possibly ask the questions on this comment section instead? It may be easier.

Katie said...

Sure, whatever you're comfortable with!

Si Hua Deng said...

1. What was one of the major sacrifices you had to make for this career choice, if any?

2. Does one need to have any prior experiences before applying for this career?

3. Is there a lot of stress involved with this career?

4. Are there any misconceptions regarding this career?

5. What is the work/family/life balance like?

6. What are some unique benefits of having this occupation?

7. What are some unique challenges of having this career?

8. What is the work environment like?

9. Have you faced any ethical problems that may have challenge your integrity?

10. If applicable, what was your field of study in college? Did the knowledge you gained from your field of study help you pass the Foreign Service Officer exam?

11. What are some classes you recommend taking in college to help one prepare for the exam?

12. What is your advice for someone who is interested in this field of work?

Thank you!

Katie said...

Si Hua, these are great questions. instead of replying via comment, I'll reply as a post.

Si Hua Deng said...

Thank you!