FS Families … at Work

Letter from the Editor


We regularly return to the evergreen topic of Foreign Service families, a top concern for the entire community. For this year’s focus on families, there was so much interest and so much strong content that we expanded it into a two-edition focus. This month we zoom in on FS family issues related to work life, and next month we turn closer attention to the kids and life at home.

We begin this month with the age-old issue of FS family member employment, particularly the difficult quest for good jobs and careers for spouses and partners who accompany FS employees around the world, moving every few years, often starting over. Has the pandemic led to more opportunities as telework skyrocketed globally? Donna Scaramastra Gorman takes a look in “Family Member Job Hunting After the Pandemic.”

Related, the “domestic employee teleworking overseas” (DETO) program is an innovative and still quite complicated option for teleworking overseas. FSO Amelia Shaw, who served in a State Department DETO position from Malawi, lays out recent changes that advance pay equity.

FSOs Anne Coleman-Honn, Laura Hochla, and Isabel Rioja-Scott are accomplished diplomats and moms. In “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Parental Leave,” they share tips for making it work. Bonus: a resource section for nursing mothers who plan to pump after returning to work.

Next, we hear from FSO Tamara Shie on the realities, and the pluses and minuses, of life and work for “Single Parents Serving” at posts abroad.

In the Feature, “Rock Your Heart Out,” FS family member and leader of the San José rock band, Mid-Life Crisis, Alvaro Amador Muniz shares his personal journey finding meaning through music.

In FS Heritage, Foreign Service family member Matthew Algeo brings us the story of LeRoy Davidson, “The Diplomat Who Started a (Culture) War” by exhibiting American “modern” art abroad in the late-1940s postwar era.

In the Speaking Out, FS family member Jonathan Geense makes the pitch for “Merit Pay for Family Member Employees.” And in Reflections, Ambassador (ret.) James R. Bullington tells his story “From ‘Redneck Hillbilly’ to ‘Radical’ to Career Diplomat.”

In his first President’s Views column, Tom Yazdgerdi introduces “Priorities for the New Governing Board.” The new Governing Board will lead AFSA through the centennial year as both AFSA and the Foreign Service turn 100 in May 2024.

I am pleased to announce the FSJ Centennial Writing Competition, starting now. We hope this competition may spark bold thinking about the future of the Foreign Service. For extra inspiration, the author of the winning essay will receive a $5,000 prize. See page 4 for details.

Be well, and be in touch.

Shawn Dorman is the editor of The Foreign Service Journal.


When sharing or linking to FSJ articles online, which we welcome and encourage, please be sure to cite the magazine (The Foreign Service Journal) and the month and year of publication. Please check the permissions page for further details.