bid list – submitted!

As you may recall, two weeks ago we received a list of about 100 available jobs at embassies and consulates around the globe — the “bid list,” in Foreign Service speak. (Amazingly, there’s no acronym for this one.)

After much research and discussion and even some lobbying (I convinced Andy that India’s not the worst place in the world; he convinced me that danger isn’t necessarily exciting), we ranked 9 positions as “high” preference, 28 as “medium” preference and the rest as “low” preference.

There are as many different strategies for assigning preferences as there are new FSOs. Some of my classmates bid highest on positions that will let them go abroad as soon as possible, while others prefer to stay for a while in D.C. Some want to work in a large Embassy. Some want to be close to the U.S. Some want to be as far from the U.S. as possible. Parents assess the quality of available schools. Pet-owners review quarantine regulations. Some classmates want to avoid danger, while others are seeking it out. And, of course, the jobs themselves are all different, which some people consider more than others.

As for us, we bid mainly based on our language interests, but there was also the occasional, “This doesn’t really align with career goals, but what a cool place to live” bid. Of course, as you may also remember, our preferences aren’t the only factor that comes into play. I’m worldwide available, which means I’ll go wherever the Department most needs me.

What happens now that our part is done? My classmates and I wait for our Career Development Officers to compare all our rankings and somewhow decide our fates. I don’t envy our CDOs. Last week we broke into small groups to complete an exercise that involved assigning 10 FSOs to 10 jobs, taking into consideration each of their preferences and skill sets. It wasn’t easy, and, like I said, we were only dealing with 10 people; our CDOs will be assigning all 93 of us. They’ll begin working on that later this week, when we’ll be spending two days at a team-building course in the woods of West Virginia. And then next Friday, in an exciting ceremony called Flag Day, we find out where we’re headed.

Any predictions?

Remember: I’m the same person who decided to study abroad in Niger because it was the second poorest country in the world at the time, and there was no study abroad program in the poorest. So, if I were you, I wouldn’t put your money on Wellington, New Zealand or Vienna, Austria. Then again, you never know…

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8 Responses to bid list – submitted!

  1. Bridget says:

    wow, is it next week already? I can’t wait! If that’s the way I feel, I can only imagine how you guys are feeling!
    What are your language preferences? French? Apologies if it’s somewhere obvious. I was a PCV in Niger! Did you do the BU program by any chance? Sue Rosenfeld? That was a long time ago but I think she’s still there…where did you live- Niamey?
    Anyway, good luck getting through next week.

  2. Oh, how exciting, you guys!!

    I predict that, no matter what you get, you’ll be happy. Know why? Because you guys really do sound like the types of folk that are happy no matter what the circumstances – good, bad… you just sound like nice people.

    So that’s my prediction: you’ll be happy and content wherever you end up. 🙂

    But it will be exciting to see how Flag Day turns out for you!

  3. I am all caught up with your blog now and am loving it. It is really neat to read how other people experience the same events. I have decided to link your blog to ours. Hope you don’t mind but if you do, let me know.

  4. Alex says:

    Bridget — What a small world! Yep, I did the BU program and know Sue quite well! And yep, we hope to learn French at this point. There weren’t a lot of options for that this tour so it may have to wait until next time. We’ll see!

  5. It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


  6. Bridget says:

    It IS a small world! Agaishieki! Or Fofo!
    I’m surprised there weren’t a lot of French speaking Africa posts…hmm! I will be excitedly waiting for your Flag Day!! Good luck.

  7. Amy says:

    I am all caught up with your blog now and am loving it. It is really neat to read how other people experience the same events. I have decided to link your blog to ours. Hope you don’t mind but if you do, let me know.

  8. Shaundra says:

    Can you explain what the bid list actually is and how it works? I am going to my interview in a week and perhaps heading to Fletc in September. I thought you were at the mercy of the CDO and that they do not care about your preference? Can you please clarify for me?

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