All my life’s a circle…

I could write about the rain again, but just assume it’s still thunderstorming.  I like rain, but I missed the opportunity to see a comet visible in the early morning since we’ve had nothing but clouds most of the past week.

Instead, let’s talk about this picture.

Okay.  The old guy is me.  The car isn’t mine.  Actually, it signals the return of someone I never met but spent some serious time looking for back in the fall.  There’s a group of  folks driving from Europe to South Africa for the World Cup.  Yeah, they’ve missed some already.  But I was surprised to see them show up at my visa window because last fall they had made a practice run and “disappeared” for several days about the time they were passing through my part of West Africa.  The Embassies were all out looking for them, including us, before they finally turned up in Gabon (or maybe Cameroon)  Apparently that didn’t discourage them.  Neither did losing two cars to failure before leaving Europe.  They promised me progress reports.  I’ll pass anything interesting on.

A setback in my desire to fly the Cotonou-Accra-Dulles route home.  The one airline with a direct flight Cotonou to Accra gets into Accra two hours after the United flight to Dulles leaves.  It’s not daily, so leaving a day early and touring Accra isn’t an option.  Some form of driving seems the only way to go.  Ideally, an embassy car rather than my negotiating two border crossings, but the quest continues.

Bidding on your next job is a part of Foreign Service life.  I’ll be bidding this summer, so I started poking around to look for an interesting next job.  Unfortunately, that’s apparently considered bad form for an entry level officer and I got slapped down.  As someone with 30+ years of work experience, who invented or found all his jobs in the past 15 years through entrepreneurial effort, this seems silly to me.  I understand that the Foreign Service doesn’t want to bring in people at the mid career level, but if you’re going to hire experienced people in their second or third careers, you need to understand we’re not all peas in a pod and treating someone with 30+ years of experience in the working world the same as a fresh out of college isn’t the way to get the best out of either of them.

I mentioned the comet.  Here’s where it will be tomorrow morning if it clears…

The picture came from Stellarium, an open source piece of astronomy software I’ve been working with the past few days.  Not quite as powerful as some of the commercial tools, but you can’t beat the price!  In this picture, you’re facing northeast looking at the horizon.  If things look like they’ll clear, we may take a shot at looking for it from the roof of the Management Officer’s house.  After it passes the sun, it might be visible at dusk in early July.

One last picture.  We had a competition here at the Embassy to design our Embassy coin.  This design didn’t win 🙂

Note the US flag on one of the sacks!

Scenes like this are very common in Cotonou.  You have to be careful, because it’s not always obvious what they’re carrying.  I almost hit some lengths of rebar someone was carrying.  I saw the ones the driver was carrying “east and west”, but not the ones his passenger was carrying “north and south”.



Filed under Foreign Service Stuff

3 responses to “All my life’s a circle…

  1. Pat O'Neill

    So how DO you intelligently bid on your next job if it’s considered “bad form” for someone on your level to investigate what the jobs available are?

  2. Yeah the “entry level” thing gives my husband fits too, He has more experience than pretty much anyone else in his office. He would really prefer people call him a “new hire” because he is far from “entry level” which indicates a lack of experience. Of course he is tenured now so a mute point, but trust me I had to listen to him complain plenty during the first tour and the while bidding for the second.

  3. Myra

    I’m going through similar feelings, about to graduate with an Associates Degree (to go on the wall with my Bachelors and Masters) along with a classroom full of people whose ages mostly fall between my oldest and youngest daughters. After finishing my senior clinical rotation next month I get to spend a week in “job prep” learning how to write resumes and dress and behave on interviews. Just as with the “study skills”, and math classes, I could probably teach the class, and have been on the other side of the desk interviewing, hiring and firing people more times than I can count.

    What I am looking for in a job is NOT the same as the 20 somethings, nor is the employer going to get the same thing. My “slogan” is that I have the enthusiasm and up-to-date education of a new grad combined with the maturity and work experience needed to meet and exceed the employer’s expectations.

    I’ll let you know how it pans out.

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