Matamoros, Mexico: Washington, D.C.:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Working Late

My deepest apologies, dear readers. It seems I've been slacking a bit on my blog posting. There's a good reason for that - I promise.

I've been working late. Quite a bit, actually.

Last week, I think I worked late almost every night, including one workday that lasted from 7:30am until 8pm. This week has been the same thus far, though I'm averaging 6pm this time. Why, you ask? I suppose there are a few different factors.

First up, of course, is that my boss wants a project done by a deadline. Fair enough. I'll get it done, and right now I'm on track to get it done a few days early. The project itself isn't really the issue, though. It's the fact that I've got so many other responsibilities at Post that it's hard to make time for other projects. I assume this is true at most small constituent posts. Too much to do and too few officers. I'm not complaining, though - don't get me wrong. I love the fact that I'm getting tons of experience that most entry level officers at big embassies only dream about getting. In fact, I hear at some posts that just volunteering for any project is enough to put on your EER (evaluation), because there just aren't enough projects to go around for everyone. Suffice it to say that I've got plenty of projects, which means plenty of great EER opportunities.

My second reason for working late is more personal. As you know, I'm single, no kids, and living in a heightened security area. Which means I don't get out much. I'm doing my best, but honestly there just aren't too many options. As a result, I don't mind staying late at work, because it's amazing what you can accomplish when no one else is there, emails aren't flooding in, and phones aren't ringing. (Example: last week, in one 30-minute span when I stepped away from my desk mid-morning, I received 29 different emails. I kid you not. That has to be some kind of record. Granted, it's unusual, but still...). Sometimes I just enjoy staying behind to wrap up the projects I have going on and send a few emails that have gone unanswered recently. There's not much difference from working alone at work than sitting at home on Facebook. Except that one of those makes you feel more productive.

I wonder if other FSOs feel that way. I'm certain it depends on the post, really. I suppose that at most posts, there is a wealth of activity and opportunities to get out and have fun. For now, though, I'm content where I am, and I'm sure getting a lot done.

Until next time...peace.


  1. It seems like a common FSO situation: throwing yourself into into work when there's either not much of a social scene outside of work or it involves entirely around families. What's tough is I think that there are a lot of hidden gems that we miss out on discovering at the quieter posts b/c they're not as accessible when you don't have a crew of other people willing to be adventurous with you. Your security situation makes it even tougher, I imagine.

  2. AMS - Yeah, I'd say that's true. I'm definitely up for adventure and exploring, but when you live in a city with regular gun fights and grenades, you tend to stay in the areas you know are safe... which are few and far between. ;)

  3. Hi Andrew, I can recommend some of Matamoros' evening activities, such as Toastmasters (a public speaking group in Spanish), the Rotarians, Lions, etc. These are groups where you can practice and improve upon your Spanish public speaking and meet people at the same time. I participated in them when I first arrived in the area, and would be glad to take and introduce you to the people I know. Take care, and as they say in Spanish, animo! Zel

  4. Dude, on the 29 emails: wait until you get to Washington, have high side and low side, and are getting several hundred emails on each per day ;-)

  5. ^^What NDS said. Just landed in DC. And it's a whole different email ballgame. Hello floodgates!