The Foreign Service Journal, April 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | APRIL 2024 9 Shawn Dorman is the editor of e Foreign Service Journal. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR From Bullying to Happiness BY SHAWN DORMAN Almost everyone in the Foreign Service has a story about bullying or uncivil behavior on the job. is is likely true in any profession, but there are peculiarities in the FS context that make the problem di cult to address. e “wait it out” culture of a career in which people change jobs and countries every few years; the fear of retribution or career-damaging evaluations (the bullying boss is your rater or reviewer); and doubt that anything positive would come out of reporting it—these are just a few of the reasons many remain silent in the face of bullying. Addressing bullying behavior in the workplace is also tricky because, unlike “harassment” and “discrimination,” it hasn’t clearly fallen under any o ce’s authority to act. State Department leadership has acknowledged the problem. AFSA has long been advocating for an anti-bullying o ce, as Tom Yazdgerdi notes in his President’s Views column, “Hope for Resolving Workplace Con ict.” In December 2022, State management announced plans to create such an o ce, and in a Feb. 1 message to State employees, Under Secretary for Management John Bass announced establishment of a home o ce to address the problem—the Workplace Con ict Prevention and Resolution Center in the O ce of the Ombuds. In this month’s Straight from the Source, “O ce of the Ombuds Takes on Bullying at State,” Brianna Bailey-Gevlin explains how it’s going to work. Like other SFTS articles, this one lays out the aims of a new policy, and we look to our readers in the FS community to respond with feedback on how it goes, what’s working and what’s not. (For example, see “A Look at the New Learning Policy” in the March FSJ and, in this edition, responses to that SFTS piece from Alexis Ludwig, Ambassador James Je rey, and Don Jacobson.) e lively discussion of issues of concern to the Foreign Service in these pages can, every so often, make a difference, so please help keep the foreign a airs agencies accountable by keeping us posted. Ambassador Ana Escrogima o ers practical advice on how to shrink the space for bullying in “Setting the Table for Inclusion: Five ings Leaders Can Do to Interrupt Toxic Behaviors.” On the ip side of a toxic o ce culture is a healthy workplace, made possible by … happy leaders. Meet public diplomacy FSO Johanna Villalobos in the Speaking Out, “ e Surprising Secret to Powerful Leadership.” She has spent the past year on a Cox fellowship studying the relationship between leadership and happiness, and she’s on to something. What she’s nding in the growing (and trending) eld of happiness studies, and how it can be applied in the Foreign Service context, is inspiring. It warrants consideration. Which brings us to another factor in workplace well-being and productivity—diversity. Executive Order 14035: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workplace (2021) states that more representative and inclusive workplaces yield higherperforming organizations. And so we turn to FSO Scott Winton’s Feature, “First-Generation Professionals: Another Dimension of Diversity,” for a look at the challenges faced by rst-generation college students, graduates, and professionals, as well as their great potential for broadening the department’s representation of the United States. In the Retirement Supplement, we hear from FS retirees Ladd Connell, Patricia Haslach, and John Rendeiro, about the paths they chose in “Life After the Foreign Service.” In FS Heritage, “ e Department of State’s Reception Centers: Back to the Future,” FSO Matthew Asada tells the story of this little-known but possibly instructive early example of city and state diplomacy. In the Re ection, “Get at Man a Chair,” former FSO Michael Varga tells his story of living with HIV. And in the Local Lens, FSO Andrea Nagy o ers a bird’s-eye view of Kathmandu. Look for the special centennial edition of the FSJ next month, including more than 50 mini-stories from practitioners for “FS Proud: 100 Words for 100 Years” and the rst-place winning essay from the FSJ Centennial Writing Competition. Meanwhile, keep in touch. Write to us at n