Just when I was complaining about how lazy I am, I got the call: My security clearance finally came through and I could begin work at the government job for which I was hired ten months ago. So, last week I bid farewell to the Diplocats and the blue velvet sofa and I ventured out of my apartment and went to an actual paycheck-earning job, effectively ending my three-year existence as a lady of leisure.
I had sort of given up hope that my security clearance would come through. While all my nearest and dearest (and perhaps some people who don’t like me very much, if you can imagine) were interviewed by the Feds ages ago, the process dragged. After the presidential election, I figured it wasn’t going to happen for me, since the new administration has many people to be vetted. But I ended up starting work the day the Trump administration put in place a freeze on nearly all federal hires. I came in, almost literally, at the last second.
So far, going to work is great. It feels really good to use my brain to learn new things by reading reports and cables and talking with non-feline beings. I also already know many of my colleagues, since Mr. Em in Jerusalem has been working with them for the past year. It’s nice to start a job and already have friends and lunch buddies.
Fashion-wise, (because this is important – I once planned an entire wardrobe based around moving to Yemen for ten months), my closet is like 50% cute office-appropriate clothes from back when I had jobs that necessitated being seen by others. When I was a reporter in Washington DC, I wore pencil skirts, blouses, dresses, and pants and when I worked in an embassy in Yemen I wore flowy slacks and booty-covering tunics. Those outfits have been collecting dust for a few years, so it’s good to put them to use. Even if most of my dressy pants are a wee bit tight these days (pair them with a tunic – blam, no one will realize they’re a size too small!).
In the Foreign Service world, there are jobs at embassies and consulates that are created or reserved for “eligible family members,” or EFMs, which is what I am and my new job is one of those EFM-designated jobs. These EFM positions vary in interestingness. For instance, as some embassies, there is an EFM job called “escort” and it involves greeting visitors and bringing them to meet with whomever they came to see. Bless whoever takes that job just to have something to do and make some cash, but I am super stoked that I find the work I’m doing interesting and important.
(Note: I don’t mean to make these EFM jobs sound fluffy or the EFM workforce sound unserious. In fact, there are a ton of us smarties – many with lots of work experience and advance degrees – who have to quit our jobs because we are moving around the world. But we want to work. It’s foolish not to utilize us as a resource, but the new Trump Administration freeze blocks EFMS from starting work. Along with all other federal employees. Not only is this sad and frustrating for those who planned to start a new job soon, but federal freezes have been found to lose money – NOT SAVE A DIME – so what is the point?)
Anyways, I really enjoyed my first week or so of working lady existence, but I’m so tired when I get home, that I’ve let slip my visits to the gym and my creative writing. Mostly I just come home, open the wine, and watch Mary Tyler Moore Show reruns (I also wrapped up Younger and The Good Place recently, so you can tell my taste lie in escapist comedies at the moment. Wonder why).
I need to figure out that work-life balance thing. Goals for next week!
To being a working stiff,
Em in Jerusalem