I got tenured this weekend! Hooray! I actually found out about it informally on Saturday morning through all the congratulatory messages on Facebook, since they sent the official cable out from DC last thing on Friday afternoon. Whose idea was that? Then I discovered that the cat had chewed through my Blackberry charger AGAIN (he doesn’t approve of working in off hours), so I didn’t get official confirmation until Monday morning. But it’s for real!
Tenuring means that I am off probation: State has looked at what I’ve accomplished over the last three years and decided that, yes, Meredith really is a capable, competent Foreign Service officer and we want to keep her. There’s no raise, no promotion, and my job doesn’t change; in practical terms all it means is that I am eligible to compete for promotion in future boards, and I can’t get paid for overtime any more. Bye bye comp time! We had a good run, but those days are over. In non-practical terms, it’s a relief to have this milestone safely passed, especially since we’ve been expecting the cable for a month now. Just about everyone gets tenured eventually, as it’s designed to be less of a competitive cull than an emergency fail-safe to get rid of any obvious non-performers who somehow got hired. But I’m happy to have that box checked.
One thing I did on my first day as a tenured officer was make the completely boneheaded rookie move of skipping over an application while transmitting, so I did a whole file of them with the wrong barcode stickers before I noticed. Doh! Smooth move, I thought, really earning that trust. But they didn’t tenure me because I make idiot mistakes; they tenured me because I catch them, and then care enough about bureaucratic minutiae to sit there with scissors and tape for half an hour until everything matches up like it should. Conscientiousness!
Tenuring also means that I now have just over a month to complete my first grown-up EER, on the DS-5055 for tenured officers, which places a lot more responsibility on me to detail my accomplishments as opposed to my supervisor. A month sounds like a long time, but it’s not. I have to write my bit, my boss has to write his bit, HIS boss has to write his bit, and then a panel has to review it and I have to make changes based on that review. Every other tenured officer at post is doing the same thing at the same time, so it takes a while. Better get started!