Friday, August 6, 2010

Bid List Blues

So the Foreign Service blogosphere has been abuzz with chatter about bit lists. The new A-100 class that started this past Monday got their bid list a couple of days ago and are feverishly researching their posts. The 2011 Summer Bid List is also out and everyone who’s bidding this summer is discussing the possibilities, mostly in vague terms for fear of getting in trouble because the bid lists are not to be shared publicly. By the way, does anyone know why the bid lists are not public? If so, could you please explain. Inquiring minds want to know.

We (meaning Paul) are also supposed to bid right about now but don’t have our bid list yet. We checked out the 2011 Summer Bid List thinking it may be what we should be looking at and someone forgot to let us know. Apparently not. Turns out the 2011 Summer Bid List is for tenured Foreign Service Officers (which Paul is not yet) bidding on post 3 or higher (we’ll be bidding on our second post, our first post being DC).

Paul got a note a week or so ago saying that he’ll be getting the bid list in the next few weeks but that was it – no further explanation. Patience is not my virtue, so I have been urging Paul to ask for more info but he  is CDO-less right now (CDO = Career Development Officer). The woman, who was his CDO, got an overseas assignment and has moved on. We are told that there’s no replacement yet. Besides, Paul is not the type to ask questions. He’ll just wait until they tell him what to do.

So we are waiting again... And I’m thinking, waiting has got to be the one activity every FS family loves to hate.  But we have no choice. We have to wait… For our bid list... For our new CDO… For Godot…

We did sneak a peek at the 2011 Summer Bid List and there were some really cool posts there. We know it’s pointless to look at any bid list but our own but a little dreaming never hurt anyone, right? Plus, it makes the waiting a little more bearable.

Of course, because of tenure requirements, our bid list will be very limited this time around. In order to get tenure, new FSOs have to serve in a consular position and learn (or know) a language at a predetermined level, which depends on how hard a language is. Paul’s first position is in his cone, Public Diplomacy, so his second one kinda has to be consular.

Paul also tested with Bulgarian during A-100 in order to satisfy the language requirement but didn’t pass. Shameful, I know, considering his wife of 13 years is Bulgarian, which gives him infinite FREE opportunities to practice!!! That same wife also has a stack of Bulgarian language books, which she has been placing strategically in various very conspicuous spots around the house, to be picked up at any time, you know, for practice, should anyone be interested,… only to see them put away by the reluctant student. In his defense, the student has been reluctant because he passed the phone test (also in Bulgarian), without preparation, when he was on the Foreign Service register last winter and got his bump-up points, which made him perhaps a little too confident in his Bulgarian skillz.

But I digress… Where was I? Oh, yes, so, we’ll be bidding on consular positions that require language this time, which will probably render a large chunk of the bid list off limits for us but getting tenured in the first 4 or so years is a must, so we have to comply.

So in the meantime, I am praying to the Second Post Untenured FSO Bid List God(s) to have mercy and send us our bid list pronto and assign us a new CDO, so we can move on to the next stage in the FS Waiting Game…


  1. I'm also waiting for my second-tour bid list, and heard from my CDO that it will be out in September. Hope that helps with the waiting (although I find that it doesn't, much).

  2. I'm excited to hear about your options!

  3. Thanks for share tour experience and option.Hope this is help for me..


  4. so are you not allowed to discuss it amongst yourselves, either? I thought it was only that you can't broadcast it to non-Fsos.
    Regardless, good luck w the wait, that's lousy!!

  5. Bfiles, we can discuss our list with friends and family but since our blogs are public many people are nervous about discussing specific posts on their blogs. Although, I personally think that mentioning a post or two from your list is OK. Or at least I discussed a few posts from our first bid list on this blog and so far no one has said anything. I was told we are not supposed to post the whole list though.

  6. The list (at least ours) is not classified, and not even stamped SBU. However, given the nature of the information, we aren't going to post it on the blog. Well, that's my second reason for not posting...the first?

    Two bidding cycles prior to now, we were much more open with bid choices, because they ended up primarily being domestic. Sadly, this left us open to entirely too many opinions from well-meaning family members. From then on, we stopped discussing options on-line (or at all with family) until we were 100% sure. So, that's really the reason we aren't posting more than hints!

  7. I can certainly see the reasons why State wouldn't want public discussion of the bid list, but it's not classified. Otherwise I don't know why they give a copy to every newly minted Specialist and Generalist in the first week of orientation/A-100. I guess it's somewhere between unclassified and SBU- SU?

  8. Best of luck on getting your list and deciding where to go. I am with Jen ... we NEVER told anyone where we wanted to go for fear of getting unsolicited advice.


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