The Foreign Service Journal, April 2020

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2020 73 I knew when I retired in 2018 that I wanted to stay in touch with my profession. For the camaraderie alone, I didn’t think twice about re- upping my AFSAmembership. But I found there is a lot more to be gained than professional ties. I am now your retirement benefits counselor, so am unabashedly writing from an insider’s perch. But I’m also still far enough into my first years as a retiree to look dispassionately at the reasons to remain in AFSA. Perhaps it’s best to start by relaying to you what we’ve been work- ing on lately, all of which came about with input from you. We heard, for example, from recent retirees embarking on teaching careers about what a heavy lift it is to put together new curricula. In response, AFSA established a Teaching Diplomacy (and associated topics) page ( Besides camaraderie, there are paths to engagement and advocacy, access to unique practical information and assistance—and it’s a good deal! BY DOLORES BROWN AFSAMembership in Retirement What’s in It for You? Reopening Windows, Providing Opportunities When I left the Foreign Service to move to a farm in rural Maine, I canceled my AFSAmembership. Life has a way of changing plans, and when I resumed my AFSAmembership I found that it reopened windows into a valued community of friends and former colleagues. Writing has been a part of my life, and AFSA provides opportunities for authors to showcase their own work and to learn about the work of others. —Louis Sell, Maine ing, AFSA sponsored events on careers in private industry, writing and security— all featuring your peers offering invaluable insights into how to make the transition from government. On another note, after receiving many calls requesting information on basic retirement issues, we realized we could fill the gap for members who have lost access to their agencies’ intranets by broadening AFSA’s online retirement services to include a one-stop shop ing-diplomacy) , which is a sharing space for teaching resources. And we hosted a networking event for practitioners and aspirants to meet, and a panel featuring your colleagues who have made a success- ful transition to teaching. Why should our members start from scratch when such a rich brain trust exists? This idea morphed into a broad AFSA programmatic series, “Next Stage,” which focuses on follow-on careers for the For- eign Service. Besides the panel on teach- RETIREMENT SUPPLEMENT