Working Girl: She’s got a Head for Numbers
On Thursday I attended a one-day class at FSI called Post Options for Employment and Training. It was a great overview of the various resources and services available to spouses/partners to help find employment inside or outside the embassy. The instructors did a good job in making it clear that no one is going to hand you a job. You have to network, be qualified, jump through hurdles, look out for yourself, write a good resume, and again, network. But it is important that you know where you can get information about local law and practice, organizations operating in the country, and the various training options available.
The class was also helpful to understand the various hiring mechanisms used by embassies, as each mechanism has varying implications in terms of current and retirement benefits, non-competitive eligibility for future federal jobs, and available hiring rates. All of this information is online at the Family Liaison Office site. They publish a guide for employment options for family members.
The training also included a resume writing session. At first I thought this session would be a bit basic, but the instructor was great and had a lot of experience working with FS family members, being one herself. Her guidance on dealing with employment gaps was especially helpful as I imagine I will have several of those as we move from place to place with months in between. As the instructors said: As a FS family member, you are guaranteed an interesting life with a variety of jobs, but you are not guaranteed anything looking like a progressive career.
A few recent statistics:
- As of June 2009, 81% of Eligible Family Members (EFMs) were female and 19% were male.
- 25% of EFMs are working inside the Mission
- 14% of EFMs are working outside the Mission
- 61% are not currently working
A recent survey indicated that over half of EFMs want to work, so based on the numbers above there is a good chunk of people that are still looking for a job. I’ll start gearing up my networking in the new year. Hopefully by the time we go to Nicaragua I’ll have an idea of what I’ll be doing. But it’s possible that I won’t be able to nail anything down until we actually get to post. Of course, I’ll keep you updated…