We are five hours ahead of Washington, so that meant that when we left work yesterday at 1 p.m. local time (we always have short days on Fridays to make up for long days during the week), Alex’s bid list still hadn’t arrived.
“Ugh,” Alex groaned as we drove home. “It’s already 8 a.m. back there. Why hasn’t someone posted it yet?”
A few hours later, after checking her blackberry every 30 seconds, Alex looked up and interrupted the finale of The Amazing Race. “It’s here.”
Soon she was back at work printing the list so we could start to form our bidding strategy right away. The bids aren’t due for nearly a month, but we couldn’t wait.
The list contains over 400 jobs, but we need to narrow it down to just 30 to bid on. There are a lot of requirements though. Because Alex is a Public Diplomacy Officer this tour, she has to bid only on Consular tours. The timing of the start date has to work. With only a couple exceptions, it has to be an English or French language position. And the toughest obstacle, it should be a big enough post that it has a realistic chance of turning up on my bid list when I finally join an A-100 class next year (goodbye Lyon, hello Mumbai).
After we were done figuring out which posts had been eliminated, we were left with about 40. Of those 40, we’ve now put together a tentative list of 30. It changes about every 20 minutes. Maybe one post moves higher and another moves lower. Maybe we reconsider one of the posts we left off entirely. Maybe we find out that dogs aren’t allowed in certain places, so we find a replacement.
There’s still a lot more research to do, but overall we’re pretty happy with the list we’ve been given. The highest would be amazing posts. The lowest would still be acceptable. There’s nothing that would fill us with dread. For us the hardest part has been looking at the list and thinking, “Boy, if we weren’t trying to be a tandem couple, our top 20 picks would all be fantastic.”
And that, of course, is when I remind myself that technically, this is not our bid list, this is Alex’s bid list. Wherever she gets posted, we realize that there is a chance (maybe a good chance) I won’t get posted to the same place.
So in about six weeks when we get an email telling us where Alex will serve her Consular tour, we’ll (hopefully) celebrate. And then we’ll get back to figuring out the best way to make sure that same post is called right before my name on Flag Day next year.