Monday, September 19, 2011

Second time's a charm?

This morning, as I suspected I would based on the intelligence I'd been able to gather, I got an e-mail letting me know my results letter from the State Department's Qualification Evaluation Panel was ready to be downloaded.

Okay, let me stop here to explain something. I don't get nervous. When I was younger, I got nervous all the time. For whatever reason, though, a while back I just got over it. The first few times this came up in conversation with others, I realized how ridiculous it sounded when I told people. I'll admit that if I weren't me, I wouldn't believe myself, but facts are facts, ma'am. Anyway, I started to think about why that might be, and this is the conclusion that I reached (it's not a particularly profound conclusion): I'm really just not that afraid of death, and the chances of someone immolating me are so slim that it's not worth worrying about. So when I start to think about any situation and the worst possible outcome, anything short of immolation is not worth worrying about either. If something "bad" happens, I'll fix it or get through it, or whatever. The bottom line is that in a lot of situations in which other people would get butterflies in their stomachs, or sweaty palms, or a racing pulse, I don't. Simple as that. Someone points a flamethrower at me, all that might change.

When I saw the e-mail today, though, I got nervous.

It was really strange. My pulse immediately quickened and I felt flush. My breathing became shallow, and the world around me seemed to darken a bit. It really took me aback, and I tried to remember the last time this happened to me. And then I remembered. It was the last time I got one of these e-mails, in June of 2008.

I actually wouldn't click on the link to access the letter until I'd settled down enough to satisfy my pride. Click, click, username, password, slight pause, "Congratulations! Based on a comprehensive review of your candidate file, you have been selected to participate in the next step of the Foreign Service Officer selection process, the Oral Assessment," adrenaline dump.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't happy about the news, but I'd also be lying if I told you I took it for granted that I'd get an invitation. I thought it was pretty likely, since I got the invitation three years ago and I've packed quite a bit of living and experience into those three years (not to mention a DoD Top Secret clearance). But if there's anything the entire Foreign Service process taught me the first time around, it is that I can't take anything for granted. I thought I had everything sewn up way back then when I passed the Oral Assessment, and we all know how that turned out. So, I am happy that lightning is striking twice as far as the invitation goes, but I know there's still a long road ahead of me. But, if I passed it once, I can pass it again. I´ll prepare a little more this time around, go in a little more relaxed, and hopefully prove once again that I'm an excellent candidate.

Anyway, that's my big news for the day. That, and I went to the gym for the first time since early July. Which was also good.