After 15 years of practicing intellectual property law in Boston and Silicon Valley, I walked away. With the debts paid, the college funds set aside, the kids well on their way, and the most supportive spouse on the planet, I embarked on two longstanding but completely disparate ambitions: (1) to work as a sports photographer, and (2) to join the United States Foreign Service.
For over a year, while navigating the byzantine Foreign Service application process, I lived the first dream, covering collegiate and professional sports in the San Francisco bay area for two wire services. Shooting the Giants, Athletics, 49ers, Raiders, Sharks, Earthquakes, Stanford Cardinal, Cal Bears, boxing, tennis, golf, and rugby was amazing. You can take a look at my work at Backstop Images, some which continues to show up occasionally in the pages of Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, ESPN The Magazine, and a variety of websites.
This blog, however, documents the foreign service adventure. Having passed the written test, the Quality Evaluation Panel, the oral assessment, the medical clearance, the top secret security clearance, and the final suitability review, I hit the register and received “the call.” I accepted my appointment as a political officer to the 149th Foreign Service Officer Orientation Class and began my training in Washington, DC, in late October 2009. On flag day, I received my first posting: two years doing consular work in Ottawa, Canada. Before making the drive north, I received confirmation that my application to curtail had been approved. After a year adjudicating visas in Ottawa and a year holding down the political portfolio in Lahore, Pakistan, I’m now trying to cram 6 years of French into 30 weeks before heading off to Paris for two years to serve as an economics officer at the U.S. delegation to the OECD.