Matamoros, Mexico: Washington, D.C.:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Change is Coming...


Before starting my career in the Foreign Service, there wasn't a lot of change in my life. I spent four years at the same college, with roughly the same people, doing the same jobs, going to generally the same classes. Life was comfortable, predictable, and enjoyable. It was a normal, American life.

After joining the Foreign Service, though... everything is changing.

What do I mean by that? Well, for one thing, I'm no longer in college. That's major life change #1. College only lasts so long, and after that, everyone experiences some kind of change from that "quasi-adult" stage to the full-fledged "adult" stage. That change is normal and expected. But I've experienced quite a few other changes since then, and there are only more to come.

Let's examine the last seven days, for example. Last Friday, I was sitting in a big room with lots of people and ninety-four flags on a table and projector screen. In the span of an hour, ninety-four people had their lives changed, and ninety-four plans were changed (for better or for worse). In the span of an hour, the next two years of my life were handed to me in a blue folder with the seal of the State Department on it. I think it will be a great place to start my overseas career, and the people there seem to be really quality people.

Fast forward to yesterday. In a room full of family, friends, my classmates, and even a few ambassadors, I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. It was truly a special moment for me. It sent a chill up my spine as I said it. I am officially a Foreign Service Officer in service of my country.

That's a lot of change. My career has changed, my home has changed (and will change again soon), and my friends have changed. And you know what? The rest of my life will be like this. Every few years, I will change homes, change friends, and change jobs. Change is imminent, and it will be often.

And you know what? I'm pretty happy with that.

So, what kind of change is occurring in your life? Are you OK with change, or does it bother you? If it does, why?

Until next time...peace.


  1. Andrew, I have read your blog a few times now though I can't remember how I found it. I think seeing that you are from Birmingham caught my eye as my family is in Mobile, my in-laws live in Tuscaloosa and other family in Birmingham. When you leave the south you tend to notice when someone else is from back home. We are a new FS family too and I have had this same "embracing change" conversation on my blog as well. This has been the most liberating experience of my life and that willingness and desire to let my life unfold as it may has forever changed me as a person. Best of luck to you!

  2. I'm considering applying for the foreign service as well, but in the mean time I'm looking at internships with the State Dept or Canadian Parliament for next semester; having a girlfriend, whom I hope to marry some day -- the constant change of a FSO's life is harder to mesh with the relatively locationally-locked life of a mechanical engineer. Hoping to come up with a way to balance change with stability.

  3. Carrie - thanks for the kind words. It certainly is something that should be recognized and considered early on in the career. I think embracing change is the only way to make it through this job.

    AJ - I suppose that's a decision you'll have to make. There can be relative stability in the FS, but nothing like what a private citizen will enjoy.

  4. Personally, I have had an incredible amount of change over the past few weeks...and even more to come over the next few months. However, I have found that life in the FS has made me more resilient than I thought I could be. In fact, after a few particularly challenging years, my motto became, "whatever doesn't kill you, just makes you stronger". So, so true...

    Congratulations on a very exciting career!