Posts Tagged ‘State Department’

An English major in Belfast

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

The charming story of Lauren Jee, a Mississippi University for Women senior, and her experience as a State Department intern in Belfast. She proves that not only can English majors succeed in something other than “reading and loafing” (my dad was rather dubious about my choice of major back in the day), but also that top international internships and positions are not reserved for someone else. As Lauren herself put it:

“They told me it was really competitive,” Jee said. “I didn’t go to Harvard or anything, so I didn’t think I stood a chance.”

Friend Hillary

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Or sort of. The State Department has a careers page on Facebook, including a careers in foreign affairs group.

Hat tip: DiploPundit

Equal benefits for same-sex partners of American diplomats

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

I noted on Friday that, while the State Department ranked a high fifth in the ‘09 rankings of best places to work in the U.S. government, it ranked much more poorly in the subcategories of Pay and Benefits and Family Friendly Culture and Benefits (17th and 26th). In a heartening related note, though, I now see that State will finally offer equal benefits and protections to same-sex partners of American diplomats:

Mrs. Clinton said the policy change addressed an inequity in the treatment of domestic partners and would help the State Department recruit diplomats, since many international employers already offered such benefits.

A response to its poor benefits and family culture rankings? Possibly, but probably not. The long-overdue reversal of a shamefully discriminatory policy? Absolutely:

“At bottom,” [Clinton] said, “the department will provide these benefits for both opposite-sex and same-sex partners because it is the right thing to do.”

Best places to work in the government ‘09

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The long-awaited 2009 rankings for the best places to work in the federal government are out! Sadly, because he’s now out of office, the bureau that coordinates Dick Cheney Wrangling is no longer eligible for consideration.

The State Department ranks as the 5th best place to work on the large agency scale. It scored very high in such subcategories as Strategic Management, Teamwork, and Effective Leadership (ranked third in all of these), but not so high in the Pay and Benefits and Family Friendly Culture and Benefits areas (17th and 26th, respectively).

I thought USAID hadn’t even made the list, until I realized it was listed in the small agency category, where it ranked 15th. I was actually kind of shocked that USAID, a well-known agency with such broad programmatic reach, would qualify as a ’small’ agency. Maybe I’m naive (or more likely uninformed) but I always envisioned USAID as on par in size and scope with the State Department. Apparently not.

This misunderstanding was then brought into sharp relief when I later came across this little tidbit about the FY 2010 budget request for USAID:

The U.S. Agency for International Development’s operating expenses budget would jump to $1.4 billion, 60 percent over enacted 2009 levels.

I knew that USAID was underfunded and understaffed and that a goal of the Obama administration is to greatly increase its capacity, but damn. When your new budget will “only” be $1.4 billion (compare that with the $533.7 billion FY10 request from the Defense Department) and that $1.4 billion is a 60 percent (!) increase from last year…well, I guess you’re not as big of an agency as I thought you were. Maybe USAID’s best-place-to-work-ranking will improve next year once it actually gets some money to do some stuff.