The Foreign Service Journal, May 2011
M A Y 2 0 1 1 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 41 F OCUS ON F ORE IGN S ERV ICE W ORK -L I FE B ALANCE T RAILING T ANDEM don’t recall ever feeling as lonely and sad as during my first night in Singapore, Sun- day, Aug. 16, 2009. True, I was in a city-state where things worked; a fully developed, orderly, clean country, which couldn’t have been more different from the one to which we were previously posted. But Ted wasn’t there. And I had no easy way of communicating with him that night — I had no e-mail access yet in my apartment, and didn’t yet know how to dial Jakarta from my home phone. It was just me, my two carry-on bags and a welcome kit from the embassy with bed linens, towels, plates, glasses and related items to get me started until my own things ar- rived. Why did I decide to do this? Was it worth it? We had always known that if our Foreign Service ca- reers both continued to advance, it would be increasingly difficult to get assigned to the same city. But that problem had seemed hy- pothetical until nearly one year before, when we were bidding. And be- cause we were both up for promotion, the process was more complicated than usual. We thought it would be helpful to have some principles to guide us in thinking about which jobs we wanted and where we hoped to serve. One of the main ones was to work in the same city. And so we lobbied. Then Ted got promoted and quickly pursued positions for which his more senior grade now allowed him to compete. He was offered an assignment as deputy chief of mission of a very large mission, but one of the conditions was that I would not be able to work there, due to nepotism concerns. Ted had just 24 hours to decide whether to accept the offer. We were visiting his sister in the United Arab Emi- rates at the time, and agonized over the decision. But we ultimately decided he should accept. Now I had to decide what I would do. If I accompa- nied Ted to Jakarta, what would my status be? (This was P ERHAPS ONE DAY NO TRAILING TANDEM WHO WANTS TO WORK WILL HAVE TO TAKE LEAVE WITHOUT PAY TO JOIN A SPOUSE OR PARTNER AT POST . B Y C LAYTON B OND I Clayton Bond entered the Foreign Service with the 104th A-100 class on Sept. 10, 2001, following internships as a Pickering Fellow in the State Department’s Office of Envi- ronmental Policy and in Embassy Gaborone’s political and economic affairs section. Prior to taking leave without pay and joining his Foreign Service spouse, Ted Osius, in Jakarta, he served in Singapore, New Delhi, Washington, D.C., and Bogotá. He and Ted married in Vancouver in 2006.
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