Julie considers our possibilities
I always have, and always will, support self-determination as a basic human right. Having said that, the process of bidding on worldwide duty stations has shown me that not having a choice can sometimes be liberating.
For months prior to getting a job offer from the Foreign Service, Brian and I were hypothesizing, researching, and dreaming about what country we might live in should we have the opportunity to work abroad. We perused Real Post Reports, a non for profit website that keeps a database of personal insights from North Americans who have or are currently living abroad, and communicated with current and hopeful Foreign Service Officers on Livelines. Having no idea what might actually BE on our bid list, we tried to predict which posts commonly had vacancies, and India got a lot of our attention.
We received the bid list last week, and there was one Indian post on a list of over 100 vacancies.
But we're not disappointed. In fact, we're giving over thirty posts a high rating on our priority list, which we will submit to our Foreign Service Career Development Officer on Friday. Of the 100 + posts, we must rate each of them as high, medium, and low according to our personal and professional preferences. However, we don't get to decide where we're going.
Although it is true that my attitude might be different if our bid list hadn't fit so well with our personal desires, I am still struck by how liberating it has been to realize that ultimately, I don't get to choose. It's not MY responsibility to make sure that I make the best possible choice, because it's not my choice. I certainly hope that our preferences--especially our preferences related to our dogs--will be honored, but if they are not I intend to adjust my expectations in order to appreciate the strengths and adapt to the challenges of whichever country we're assigned. Our choice is not in the post assignment, but in how we choose to react.