A ray of hope for job seekers in the fields of international affairs and interested in the U.S. Foreign Service, courtesy of the New York Times. Despite the economic downturn, the Foreign Service is actually expanding: it asked for funding for 1,500 new jobs for the current fiscal year. An interesting wrinkle on the heels of the “NGOs v. Foreign Service” discussion from two weeks ago. In that vein, the Times article offers a bit of editorial regarding the fact that, perhaps, the Foreign Service isn’t for everyone:
Not everyone is cut out for Foreign Service work, which can be stressful and highly demanding. About two-thirds of a diplomat’s career is spent overseas; officers usually move every two to four years and can be exposed to dangers like disease and war…
Yet career diplomats like Ronald E. Neumann, a former ambassador to Afghanistan who now heads the American Academy of Diplomacy, called it the best job in the world. “I enjoy what I’m doing now but it’s nothing like working on foreign policy,” he said. “In my 37 years of service I may have gone home tired or frustrated with how a decision came out, but I never went home and asked myself if what I was working on was worthwhile.”
But it seems to be for a lot of people, or so they seem to think: it’s worth noting that this story currently ranks as the most emailed on the NY Times site. I wonder if this is an indication of the fact that there’s that many people out there who suddenly want to join the Foreign Service, or maybe its more of an indication of where people’s heads are at these days. That is, things might be redirecting. With the sudden bottoming out of the financial sector, talented people from/headed to that field may be reconsidering their career trajectories, with international affairs as a potentially attractive destination.