Anxiety about not having control comes with worldwide availability, and it is not uncommon to feel the need to distance ourselves from posts that scare us. However, by being aware of our feelings, we may be able to avoid harming our fellow foreign service members by imposing our negative feelings on our teammates.
Everyone has a different opinion about what makes a post "good." Some people love small hardship posts for their tight knit embassy communities. Some are happiest in large, cosmopolitan cities. Some people love danger posts in developing countries for the opportunity to be a part of an important American mission at the ground level. Some base everything on whether or not they can take their Vizsla for a walk. Regardless of our personal preferences, communicating negative opinions about another person's post assignment is never helpful.
It is perfectly ok to have feelings about a post, and absolutely necessary to express these feelings in an appropriate manner to the appropriate people. However, because our experiences are influenced by our expectations, we must be sensitive about expressing negativity to our fellow teammates in the diplomatic community. Facts are helpful; negative emotion is not. This includes feelings about a post's safety, especially if that post has recently made the news.
When you are going to a hardship or danger differential post--or both--it helps to know that you have the support of your community behind you. That your service is appreciated as a contribution to a larger global purpose; not as something happening to you, but as something you are doing with the support of others.
We have all, at some point, responded poorly when hearing of someone else's post assignment. What is important is whether or not we were aware that we responded poorly. As a whole the foreign service is remarkably supportive and collegial, and it is this characteristic that makes it a joy to be part of this community. However, mindful sensitivity is an ongoing practice, and we must remember that even when we are separated by oceans, we are all in this together.
Julie overcomes her fear of the unknown