Ben-Prime

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Ben-Prime
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Ben-Prime

#1

Post by Ben-Prime »

So, still in Dhaka, Bangladesh, at least for another 9 weeks (and two days, but who's counting?). Then I will get to spend from the 30th of April or 1st of May until the 1st weekend of June being a bum in Florida and still being paid, until I report to my next assignment in the Foreign Service.

I'll leave this little hint: the odds are about to increase a thousandfold that I'll randomly walk into the TARDIS thinking it's just a police call box.

Dare I ask what happened this weekend while I was winding down my most recent post-R&R quarantine and enjoying 3 days of no telework, sleeping in, and playing video games?

-Ben


But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
As round and round we run;
And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.

- Charles Mackay, "Eternal Justice"
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Azastan
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Re: Ben-Prime

#2

Post by Azastan »

What happens in Fogtown, stays in Fogtown.

(I think that no one really knows what happened, but it could be aliens)


Patagoniagirl
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Re: Ben-Prime

#3

Post by Patagoniagirl »

It was Hillary's emails.


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Ben-Prime
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Re: Ben-Prime

#4

Post by Ben-Prime »

One of my colleagues here in Banlgadesh has a theory that whenever a story starts with "Well, see, what happened was...." you need TWO buckets of popcorn. I may ask his permission to coin that as an actual maxim and name it for him.


But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
As round and round we run;
And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.

- Charles Mackay, "Eternal Justice"
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sad-cafe
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Location: Kansas aka Red State Hell

Re: Ben-Prime

#5

Post by sad-cafe »

Hello,

Nice to meet you again.

Sad-Cafe


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Ben-Prime
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Re: Ben-Prime

#6

Post by Ben-Prime »

By the way....

Because some of y'all are have been curious about what it's like for me out here in Bangladesh, I have been advised that this particular article -- just released today -- is meant for public consumption and I will not get in trouble for sharing. As it turns out, see, three of my FAST PRO (first & second tour professional) colleagues at U.S. Embassy Dhaka -- one of whom is one of my closest friends here and one of the people I will miss most when I'm gone -- wrote an amazing article about us for DoS' in-house magazine. This month, the 50th anniversary of Bangladeshi independence and U.S. recognition of same, Embassy Dhaka was featured as State Department's Post Of The Month. Anyway, it's a mostly accurate depiction -- a little rosy, but mostly accurate. :)

https://statemag.lab.prod.getusinfo.com ... 3/0321pom/


But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
As round and round we run;
And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.

- Charles Mackay, "Eternal Justice"
somerset
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Re: Ben-Prime

#7

Post by somerset »

Ben-Prime wrote: Mon Mar 01, 2021 9:39 am By the way....

Because some of y'all are have been curious about what it's like for me out here in Bangladesh, I have been advised that this particular article -- just released today -- is meant for public consumption and I will not get in trouble for sharing. As it turns out, see, three of my FAST PRO (first & second tour professional) colleagues at U.S. Embassy Dhaka -- one of whom is one of my closest friends here and one of the people I will miss most when I'm gone -- wrote an amazing article about us for DoS' in-house magazine. This month, the 50th anniversary of Bangladeshi independence and U.S. recognition of same, Embassy Dhaka was featured as State Department's Post Of The Month. Anyway, it's a mostly accurate depiction -- a little rosy, but mostly accurate. :)

https://statemag.lab.prod.getusinfo.com ... 3/0321pom/
Good article. Like you say, a little rosy (and maybe a little "expatty" ;) ), but it's nice to see a positive spin on a place that I've known mostly as a source of cheap labour in Singapore. Speaking of which:



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Ben-Prime
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Re: Ben-Prime

#8

Post by Ben-Prime »

Just thought I'd share that today, a very good milestone was hit.

Traditionally, in the Foreign Service, our first two assignments are 'entry level', 'pre-tenure', and 'directed'. The first two of these are misnomers since (for example, in my case) I was tenured at the very end of my first assignment, in Dhaka; and was recommended for promotion last year after only 4 months in London, but there weren't enough slots, though I might be promoted this year while still here. That said, the 'directed' part is right. Instead of taking part in the regular competition (or 'bidding') for internal jobs, we are given a very short list with a cohort of peers from our entry class (and often the classes before and/or after us) and asked to rank order our choices. Then they shuffle us around.

But after that 2nd tour, the game is truly afoot. Usually, the Summer or Winter season 10-15 months before we leave a post is when we enter the 'bidding cycle' and start competing for internal jobs. There's a very short, abbreviated, 'SIP [special incentive post] cycle' for folks bidding for the danger posts (1 or 2 years, danger pay as well as hardship pay and other perks, but, yeah, increased risk of being shot or blown up or stabbed or something) so those can get assigned first, and then once that's done, the regular bidding cycle begins. If you do not submit a bid in the SIP cycle or do not get approved for an assignment that way, you proceed to regular bidding and must submit at least 5 total bids for the year to show that you're at least trying to play the game the right way. If you get a position during SIP cycle, you can stop there, regardless if you put in 1 SIP bid or 100.

We entered the SIP cycle on May 31, bids were due by June 17, the week of June 20-24 was spent with the SIP post HR and hiring manager folks rank ordering their choices of the bidders they want and then sending out semi-formal 'still interested in us?' notices to make sure their submitted lists would still be valid. Today was the start of the official 'handshake' season for SIP bids, in which an offer is made. That offer still has to be approved back in D.C., but it's very rare that it's not, so the 'handshake' is the make-or-break. Once you accept a handshake, you're done for that bidding cycle unless Something Very Bad happens.

Today, I got my first handshake in the Foreign Service, on my first and only bid. I put in one bid for one of only two SIP posts I thought would interest me. I got an video interview the next day and it went well enough that I decided 'nah, this is the one, I won't bid on the second, and if I don't get this, I still have my list of 6 or 7 total for the regular cycle. So I'll put my eggs in this basket.'

Thursday, I was told I was still in the top 3 for the slot, and was asked if I was still interested.

Today, I got my handshake. I will in August '23 go for a one year danger assignment. I won't say where publicly (though feel free to DM me to ask). But it's a post I was interested in serving when I first joined the Foreign Service, but no entry-level jobs were available, it wasn't on either of my directed short-lists, and it was just made a SIP post recently due to changing conditions on the ground. I will simply say it's not Ukraine, for those of you who are worried it might be (though I may use the 'social currency' I gather for serving in a SIP post to make a strong bid for the IT department head position in Chisinau, Moldova for the assignment afterwards).

I got my handshake. On my first and *ONLY* bid. My former grandboss here in London -- I rotated into a new internal portfolio within IT which removes him from my chain of command, but he and I are still chummy -- stood me a round of drinks while hustling a few of our Marine Security Guards at pool tonight. Then we ordered some cheap but tasty Chinese takeaway, buying enough for him to take home for his wife and kids. The young-ish Marine assuming temporary command of the detachment when their commander moves on to his next assignment this week is also an IT guy in the Corps, and listening to me and my ex-grandboss explan the whole system and how it works, he wants to become one of us when his enlistment contract is up. Ex-GB and I have promised we will serve anywhere with him (we will, he's that cool and he's already polling the MSGs for anyone who wants to do some extra off-duty hours going all Office Space with a sledgehammer on some gear we need to destroy that's been piling up), and we drank one more toast to that before hitting grabbing a taxi to pick up the takeaway and come home (he lives down the block from me in the same neighborhood).

All in all, a lovely night. I sent my brother, who lacks the patience you all have shown my rambling storytelling, the much shorter version of this. But you all are my people and I thought you might appreciate the (completely sober, I swear, it was only one G&T and a few sips of a bourbon cocktail which I didn't care for) ramble.

Thanks, Fogbowsers.


But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
As round and round we run;
And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.

- Charles Mackay, "Eternal Justice"
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raison de arizona
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Re: Ben-Prime

#9

Post by raison de arizona »

Congratulations, so happy for you! 🎉


"Take these seeds and put them in your pocket, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all die here."
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Slim Cognito
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Re: Ben-Prime

#10

Post by Slim Cognito »

:clap: :thumbsup: :cheer2: :cheer1: :bar:


ImageImageImage x4
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Foggy
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Re: Ben-Prime

#11

Post by Foggy »

Hay nao, that's very cool, Ben-Prime. Congratulations!


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bill_g
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Re: Ben-Prime

#12

Post by bill_g »

Congrats. Break a leg!


Uninformed
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Re: Ben-Prime

#13

Post by Uninformed »

Congratulations, impressive. :thumbsup:


If you can't lie to yourself, who can you lie to?
Fiascoist
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Re: Ben-Prime

#14

Post by Fiascoist »

Congratulations! And I learned something new. Can't get much better than that.


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sugar magnolia
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Re: Ben-Prime

#15

Post by sugar magnolia »

So proud for you! Looking forward to the stories from your new assignment.


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June bug
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Re: Ben-Prime

#16

Post by June bug »

:cheer1: CONGRATULATIONS!!! :cheer1:


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MN-Skeptic
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Re: Ben-Prime

#17

Post by MN-Skeptic »

Ben-Prime wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 3:34 pm I will in August '23 go for a one year danger assignment.
So it's still more than a year away? Oh my, but the world is changing fast right now! It will be interesting to see how the country you're going to will be at that time.


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AndyinPA
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Re: Ben-Prime

#18

Post by AndyinPA »

Congratulations!

One of my friends has a nephew in the foreign service. He has posted back to DC recently for some period. He had been in Croatia, which he loved. She has talked about the way he gets posted. Interesting.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:


"When enough people make false promises, words stop meaning anything. Then there are no more answers, only better and better lies." - Jon Snow, GOT
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Volkonski
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Re: Ben-Prime

#19

Post by Volkonski »

Slim Cognito wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 3:47 pm :clap: :thumbsup: :cheer2: :cheer1: :bar:
:yeahthat: :yeahthat: :yeahthat:


“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.” ― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
jemcanada2
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Re: Ben-Prime

#20

Post by jemcanada2 »

:blissy: :guntootin: :cheer2:


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Sequoia32
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Re: Ben-Prime

#21

Post by Sequoia32 »

The Fogbow has the most interesting and smart people!

Thanks for a peek into the foreign service.


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p0rtia
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Re: Ben-Prime

#22

Post by p0rtia »

:cheer2: :cheer2: :cheer2:


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Ben-Prime
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Re: Ben-Prime

#23

Post by Ben-Prime »

MN-Skeptic wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 6:04 pm
Ben-Prime wrote: Mon Jun 27, 2022 3:34 pm I will in August '23 go for a one year danger assignment.
So it's still more than a year away? Oh my, but the world is changing fast right now! It will be interesting to see how the country you're going to will be at that time.
Posts do tend to stay 'danger' for awhile, out of an abundance of caution. With one exception, I can't think of any that have ceased being danger posts since I joined the Foreign Service except by being closed altogther with the work taken up by a special duty post in a neighboring country.


But the sunshine aye shall light the sky,
As round and round we run;
And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.

- Charles Mackay, "Eternal Justice"
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Phoenix520
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Re: Ben-Prime

#24

Post by Phoenix520 »

Congratulations, Ben!!! I remember when you first took the plunge.

Onward and upward, sir!


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Tiredretiredlawyer
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Re: Ben-Prime

#25

Post by Tiredretiredlawyer »

Ben is the MAN!!!!!!
OIP (15).jpeg
OIP (15).jpeg (41.24 KiB) Viewed 285 times


"Mickey Mouse and I grew up together." - Ruthie Tompson, Disney animation checker and scene planner and one of the first women to become a member of the International Photographers Union in 1952.
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