Has anyone considered becoming a foreign service officer?

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Negrodamus

GOD emperor Doe
Sep 25, 2010
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Has anyone else considered becoming a foreign service officer? I know it requires jumping through a lot of hoops but in this economy I'd probably be doing the same trying to find a regular 9-5 in this economy. I'm just looking for something meaningful to get a taste of a normal life before I commit myself to 300K of debt.
 

CodeBlu

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Variety is the spice of life. Do it if you want to try something before committing your life to a career in medicine.

Could be interesting, that's for sure.
 

SBR249

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Mar 23, 2009
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Has anyone else considered becoming a foreign service officer? I know it requires jumping through a lot of hoops but in this economy I'd probably be doing the same trying to find a regular 9-5 in this economy. I'm just looking for something meaningful to get a taste of a normal life before I commit myself to 300K of debt.
Actually yes, it seemed like a good way to see the world. One of my acquaintances applied and did well on the test, unfortunately she wasn't selected for an interview. What I found out was that they take background checks very seriously. Any sort of activism (especially of the anti-government kind) or suspicious international travel and your chances go way down. Looking at their requirements, it basically sounded like you needed to blindly agree with the government in all aspects whether you like it or not. So I just couldn't imagine myself standing with someone from a foreign country and being required by my job to say yes to questions like "do you think waterboarding is legal" or something like that.
 
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ponyo

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Aug 12, 2009
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Actually yes, it seemed like a good way to see the world. One of my acquaintances applied and did well on the test, unfortunately she wasn't selected for an interview. What I found out was that they take background checks very seriously. Any sort of activism (especially of the anti-government kind) or suspicious international travel and your chances go way down. Looking at their requirements, it basically sounded like you needed to blindly agree with the government in all aspects whether you like it or not. So I just couldn't imagine myself standing with someone from a foreign country and being required by my job to say yes to questions like "do you think waterboarding is legal" or something like that.
That actually makes sense, because don't embassies play a huge role in intelligence and other secretive American operations overseas? Kind of like how the American embassy was really important in taking down bin Laden--the way it was done was great, but had Obama decided to just bomb the **** out of the city, you would still have to be completely willing to keep your mouth shut before and side with the US government after. I don't think I would be cut out for that kind of ethically stressful job. You'd have to REALLY believe in the end justifying the means... and that the American interest is the only acceptable end.
 

TheMightySmiter

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Oct 18, 2009
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The State Department entrance exam is a b*tch...good luck. And don't expect your training in the sciences to help you on the slightest. :D
 
Dec 24, 2010
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The State Department entrance exam is a b*tch...good luck. And don't expect your training in the sciences to help you on the slightest. :D
If there are study guides for said exam, I'm pretty sure someone on SDN would dedicate their entire lives to achieving a perfect score.
 

CodeBlu

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If there are study guides for said exam, I'm pretty sure someone on SDN would dedicate their entire lives to achieving a perfect score.
Of course they would. It's SDN... obvs.
 
Jun 26, 2011
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Los Angeles, CA
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Has anyone else considered becoming a foreign service officer? I know it requires jumping through a lot of hoops but in this economy I'd probably be doing the same trying to find a regular 9-5 in this economy. I'm just looking for something meaningful to get a taste of a normal life before I commit myself to 300K of debt.
I know quite a bit about the process as I applied to be an FSO about 3 years ago and made it pretty far through the process before I was dropped because I could not pass the security clearance check. I can tell you firsthand the process is very much a crapshot, even more so than medical school admission, where you throw your chips and see where they land. I mean you apply for the FSO position, take the online test, and if your results meet certain criteria then you get invited to a personal interview. It's really hard to prepare for the interview to be honest. If you do well on the interview, you go through a very through security (background) investigation. Mine took about 2 years because I lived overseas for the majority of my life, and finally my background could not be completed because of some lack of information on people whom I knew from 20 years ago overseas!! Go figure. Since the process takes so long, be prepared to put your FSO career aspirations on hold while you do something else in the meantime. I'm not trying to discourage anybody from applying, just realize what the process entails. By the way, there are faster ways to apply for a GS-13 position if you want to work in the government. Look on www.usajobs.com as a starting point, build an extensive GS-style resume (takes a while to write a federal resume!!), search for medical jobs and go from there...
 

AestheticMed

Doctorate in Broscience
Jul 30, 2011
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Speaking of traveling. Does anyone here have any exp doing that traveling doc thing where you move around from place to place every 6 months or so?
 

SBR249

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Mar 23, 2009
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finally my background could not be completed because of some lack of information on people whom I knew from 20 years ago overseas!! Go figure.
Second that. The federal background checks are pretty insane. You normally need to provide your whereabouts going back anywhere from 5 years to a decade or more along with references that can vouch for you at each and every one of those place. And they do indeed check with those references. It's quite a time consuming process, not to mention if you couldn't get the documentation together you are toast.
 
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