Career in the Foreign Service?

The long-term plan is very murky which, of course, leaves me stressing and losing sleep.  The photography has been really fun.  Sometimes stressful (I have no clue how to make an advertising portrait in full sun yet I’m being paid to do it), but mostly interesting, challenging, and fun.  That said, the business is clearly shifting.  While I can be confident of getting access to major sporting events and Division I collegiate sports to shoot, as well as publication in local newspapers and national/international magazines, making a real living taking pictures seems almost like a pipe dream.  At this pace, I’d be lucky to bring in $20K per year, while spending 10% or more on expenses (parking, gas, etc.).

While not completely giving up, I need to find a better solution for the long-term LAK (life after kids).  Joining the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer has recently come up as a really interesting option.  Ellen, as usual, is very gung-ho for jumping into a black hole.  I LOVE that about her.  No hesitation, even if it means me disappearing for a year to do the first dangerous posting on my own.  I’m not anxious to do that, but also understand it’d be a good career move.

Getting ahead of myself as usual.  I took the first, easy, step:  bought and read a bunch of books to understand the process better.  Essentially, I need to spend time on the application, study up on some of my weaker areas like geography, non-European History, math, and sit for the written exam.  If I’m in the 30% or so that pass the written exam, and selected to move forward, I’d go to D.C. for an extensive oral exam, of which <10% pass and get an offer.  Yikes.  Most everyone will be 10+ years younger — an odd change given that I’ve always been the youngest overachiever.  Strange to be the old guy starting over.

We’ll see how it goes….  In the meantime, I’m shooting my second consecutive Cubs-Giants game at AT&T Park tonight with Zach likely coming along to cheer on his beloved Giants.


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