a gathering place for the words, images and momentos of the world of adventures i've adventured, the stories i've wandered through. curriculum bella vita...a resume, of sorts, of the good life.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Two Percent Club

I don't write a lot about my job here, as this is a personal blog. And the job du jour is just one of many pretty fantastic adventures that 1. I enjoy rereading 2. feel obligated to share with my parents in lieu of consistent emailing 3. hope others can find the stories fun, funny, useful, meaningful or some combination of any adjectives pleasant. So i'd rather share stories than mindless babble about being a bureaucrat.

And there's another reason: A personal blog doesn't mesh well with a very public job. In much of what i do and say abroad, i'm representing the United States of America. These words, this forum certainly isn't that, though. This is my space to share with friends and family. And It's fine if others stumble onto it, that's half the fun, of course. But this living journal is for me, the curly-haired kid from Wisconsin, not the guy who got the Telugu-version of his business card scanned into the second-largest Telugu-language newspaper this week.

And sometimes when i'm sitting at the visa window, often rushed and cranky, plowing through a hundred interviews a day, i forgot that i am in an important, noteworthy position. It's easy to forget, counting to one hundred, how important each number is. Especially to the human on the other side of the number. But the business card itself is kind of a big deal.

Any misstep can put you in The Two Percent Club...

I started training in February 2010 with a hundred amazing classmates. After 5 weeks, we spread out across the world, complete with some darn good-lookin' belt buckles. Since then, we've got on to hundreds of thousands of visa adjudications in dozens of languages, success in the drug war in Columbia and Tajikistan and even a 151st marriage somewhere in steamy South America.

Of the one hundred of us, though, two of us have already been jettisoned from post, send packing to a new exotic adventure a few years ahead of originally schedule. In little over a year, two percent made a minor misstep -- an unapproved travel or an offhand comment -- that became an international incident of enough note for prudence to dictate that a fresh start was in the best interest of diplomatic decorum and American interests.

Luckily I am the most sensitive and discreet individual that many of my friends know...

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