Did you know that there is such a thing? I could spot them a mile away. I never wanted to be a rotational officer, I began working at the Department more because I wanted at some point to join the UN. I was an odd breed, there are very few of us who grow up as a Dip Kid, who actually want to go back into the same building that their parent spent so much time in, but unlike so many, I wasn’t one who wanted to become an actual Foreign Service Officer, so it gave me a unique opportunity to observe everyone who came into the building.
The new Rotational Officer, they are part of a small little group, each class comes out of 6 months of training school, they think they know everything. They are split in 2, the first group which is proportionately bigger, join for reasons of grandeur. They are pompous, and working around this group is unbearable until they have had their first posting.
The second group, which is tiny, are those that have a calling to serve. They are hungry to help, will jump into work in Haiti or Afghanistan without any question or complaint. This is the group I loved to work with and to meet. These are the few people I admired.
I was lucky, in a way, because my father had passed on, his shadow, although rather large, didn’t impact me the same way as others whose parents still worked in the building. Those that had worked with him wouldn’t even recognize me, or were kind enough to not mention it, knowing already how private I was.
The Newbie in the first group were always ready to jump in and kiss up at any point in time. They were the first to throw you under the bus when things go wrong in a team effort. These were the individuals early on I would avoid like the plague. They were also the first to be impressed with your background.
I had been very good at holding my own and not ever mentioning my background. It was during a crisis, that I entered the elevator with my boss and a newbie, the newbie was determined to discredit me in any possible way, he had already thrown me under the bus 2 times, on issues that were not even mine, I was never sure why he wanted to compete with me, we didn’t have the same job. An older gentleman sharply dressed was already standing in the corner of the elevator. Between the 3 and 4 floor, the elevator stopped, I laughed and said “we will be here for a while”, my boss cracked a smile. The newbie was nervous.
The gentleman in the corner kept looking at me sharply. I was slightly uncomfortable, and chose not to meet his glare. After 5 minutes of painful silence, the sharply dressed gentleman spoke, his finger-pointing at me.
“You have the exactly same look as your Father, I knew I recognized your face.” He said
I looked at him “I beg your pardon”
“You don’t recognize me, but I worked with your father for years. I still have his picture on my desk, I miss his sound judgement.”
I didn’t know what to say, but the elevator got unstuck, and we began to move. I turned to the gentleman and said “I miss his sound judgement too.”
We got off the elevator, the newbie looked at me and smiled. Crap, I prefered his contempt look. The gentleman got off and turned into another office. And we headed down the hall to another. The newbie looked at me and said “you have no idea who that is do you?”, I replied “Nope and it doesn’t matter.”
My boss turned to me and said “he is very high up in another department, he was in your Father’s year.” I looked perplexed. It turned out, my boss knew my Father, but never let on, he wanted me to stand on my own feet.
The Newbie on the other hand, wanted to be my best friend. He only lasted one posting, which almost broke him.