Wednesday, June 29, 2011

FSOT Results

Two years after taking the FSOT for the second time, I took it again.
My Bio kicked @$$ this time around. It pays to leave your humility at the door to the testing office. And despite not finishing the essay, I still passed.

Bio 70.36
Job Knowledge 59.91
English Expression 59.58
Total 189.8

Your essay score: 8

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

September offers going out...

I'm not a nervous-person by nature. So imagine my surprise when I felt an adrenalin rush at hearing the September calls going out. It's really weird. I'm actually nervous about it. It's...disconcerting.

Well, since I really can't do anything other than wait (and hope?), I will listen to some tunes...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Language Exam Results

So the results are in and I passed!

Given how quickly the exam went (maybe 7-9 minutes total), I guess I shouldn't have been worried. So that's good news. At least I haven't lost all my Japanese.

With the .17 boost, my new score is a 5.67 according to the inestimable Ms. Walton at State, I'm in the high 20's on the Econ register. That's a lot higher than I expected to get after the free-fall of last week. Sadly, however, I think it's still unlikely that I'll receive an offer for the September A-100.

Hope springs eternal, though...

Monday, June 20, 2011


So no word back on the Japanese test. According to BEX, I have one more day to wait before I can ask for my score. Not sure how long the response might take. A day? Another week?

Waiting sucks.

I'm not even really sure why it bothers me. Given my recent freefall on the register, I can't imagine I have much of a chance at this point of getting a call for the September A-100, even with the extra .17. So I'll have to start the process over again regardless. Starting over doesn't bother me. I knew when I had to say no the first time that time was not on my side. I figure if I made it once, I can do it again.

What bothers me now is the likelihood that even if I got back on the register in a year or so, I might not get an offer. I'm exceedingly pessimistic about the economy. Once the drastic budget cuts come, and they will come, the State Department will be in the cross-hairs. I don't know what that would look like, but I could imagine hiring freezes on top of the pay freezes, and even shrinking the FS with closures of consulates.

Despite those fears, there is no question that I will start the process over again. But it still sucks. At least I know I have some very fine company.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Future is Not so Bright

Bad news...I just found out I've experienced a sudden free-fall on the Econ register. Not good. Sad to think that if I pass the language test I might end back at the spot I was at right before the test.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

9 Minutes

So I took my language test this morning. It lasted a total of 9 minutes. 9 minutes that included talking to the BEX operator, acknowledging the NDA rules, and hearing the test instructions from the tester. 9 minutes that also included getting hung up on and having to call BEX back. 9 minutes from the first dial-in to hanging up.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Musical Interlude

So those who passed the June FSWE should have QEP results in the next 3 months or so...

Gotye reminds me a lot of Peter Gabriel...

I've been watching a lot of Tangled lately with my daughters...

She reminds me of a female Manu Chao...

The American version of XX?...

Update: grammatical errors fixed - I should not try to blog before 7am.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

T-Minus 7 Days

My Japanese language test will be next Wednesday. When I look at this, I feel pretty confident. Since Japanese is considered a difficult language, I only need to pass the ILR Level 2 (which corresponds to FSI's standards, I believe).

ILR Level 2 Speaking - EXAMPLE from DLIFLC on Vimeo.

But then it's been a decade since I used my Japanese on a daily basis, and it's shocking how much I've lost. And there are days when the Japanese won't come out - it feels like I have a swollen tongue and a crippled brain. The smart thing would be to push it back a couple more weeks. But, I just don't want to wait any longer. move or not, it's pretty much all or nothing for next Wednesday, because the way the register has been going it's a slim chance of getting the call for September even with the language bump.

I'm not sure what I'm more depressed about - the slim chance with my candidacy coming to an end, or that I've lost so much of my once formidable language skills. Le sigh.

Anyhow, thanks to a poster on the A-100 boards, if you are interested in checking out the various ILR levels, go here.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Geek Interlude

My last geek interlude wasn't that great. But this one is definitely going to be awesome - it's got James Franco! Freida Pinto! Gollum!!!

Love and Hate

I love the A-100 yahoo boards for all the great info. And boy do I hate the A-100 yahoo boards, too. Especially for the gunner posts. I thought I left gunners behind in law school, but the posts by people worrying about getting a call when all they have is a 6.2 score is a bit ridiculous.

Anyhow, given the current economic situation of the US government, maybe the gunner-monkeys should worry. The Senate hasn't passed a budget in over 2 years (gotta love that partisanship). We've been running on CRs for, what, a year now? I can't imagine the House is going to improve any increase in the US debt limit without some budget cuts. And we all know what politicians like to cut first and deepest - those areas where constituents are not likely to be be affected. In other words, any funding that has the words "foreign" attached to it.

For those of us wanting to join the FS, continuing resolutions would at least keep hiring stable at current levels. That might not be the best thing for the country, but there you go. Once a single party has control of Congress and the presidency, or when the adults start running things, then we might get a new budget. Basic math will tell you that everyone should be expecting deep, deep budget cuts in the future once that happens.

I know a lot of FSO's are concerned by the HR1 bill that would cut locality pay for FSOs serving overseas. I agree, it's pretty ridiculous that junior FSOs are essentially the only part of the US government that don't seem to get this. But, I'd also be worried about future layoffs of untenured FSOs and closings of smaller embassies and consulates and a general shrinking of the Foreign Service overall as the politicians look to cut whatever they can that will have the least ramifications for their re-election. And let's not forget long-term pay freezes.

I'm going to have to go re-read this so I can remember why I'm trying to do this.