greg (grysar) wrote,

Deciding on a path...

I want to sign up for the Foreign Service Exam, the deadlines tonight. I'd have done it already but it asks me to make a choice of which job type cone I prefer.

Options: Administrative, Consoler, Economic, Political, Public Diplomacy

As background foreign services officers serve the diplomatic needs of the United States, I'm probably not going to enter the field straight after college but just in case I want to make the right decision. For a bit more info here's a job description from the largely content free State department site.

My real choice is between wanting to be a Political officers (political cone) or an Information Officer (public diplomacy cone)

Being political officer seems to be a fairly classic route for ambitious people with an interest in making connections and proving one's analytical skills. I'd be a superb one, but I think I wouldn't grow much in terms of public communication ability or a few of my weaker leadership skills. Also as it is a well established path I'll probably be competing with many other arrogant wonks, who I should be able to conquer, but not without a great deal of work.

My second option would be information officer. Public diplomacy is about manipulating foreign popular opinion to serve the interest of truth, justice, and the American way, or such things :). I'd have to do a great deal of foreign language study and learn to deal with large groups of people and not just understanding but often playing by the rules of foreign cultures. This isn't my strongest point, but I think that as I'd train up through the ranks I could pick up these skills. I may even have the potential to be reach the levels I can as an analyst. Public diplomacy is a key skill of the future, and one that many current leaders and competitors doubtless under value, having this skill set would greatly help me later. However, the promotion path and circles won't be as conducive to ambition as would the life of a political officer.

If the State Department has any sense how to run an organization it will allow switching between the branches. I suspect that in the long-term I'm more of a political officers. Nonetheless spending time on the public diplomacy side of foreign affairs I would be a better rounded leader and have a few underrated weapons available to me if I can find a way to get these skills.

Suggestions? I'll be deciding tonight, I have the packet for more detailed information. I'm really wavering on this one so I'd greatly appreciate any input.
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