Is the Foreign Service Right for You?
Joining the Foreign Service is a career opportunity of a lifetime, but it isn’t the right lifestyle for everyone. While some people might find the career challenging, exciting and rewarding, others will see it as a less-than-perfect match. The questions below will help you to determine if the Foreign Service is right for you.
The need to influence the rapid pace of world change requires more assignments to hardship posts where such change is occurring. Some of these positions are in danger or war zones and a good number involve sending officers without their families, who usually remain in the U.S. for the duration of the particular assignment. Hardship posts are those where living conditions are considered more difficult than in the United States. Climate, isolation, civil unrest, quality of local health care, crime rate, pollution levels, and availability of spousal employment opportunities are some of the factors considered in determining which locations are designated as hardship posts.
Employees serving at hardship posts receive a “hardship” differential of between 5 and 35 percent of salary, depending upon the severity of the hardship. For example, in 2013, Asuncion, Paraguay was a 10% hardship differential post; St. Petersburg, Russia was a 15% post; and Freetown, Sierra Leone was a 30% post. There is an additional increment of pay for service at a designated danger post. For example, Kabul, Afghanistan has 35% danger pay as well as a 35% hardship differential.
There are no right or wrong answers, but it is important for you to answer each question truthfully. After all, this is your career choice and you want it to be the right one. The results of the questionnaire will be tabulated into a bar chart for you. But remember, no chart will offer you 100 percent certainty as to whether a particular job is right or wrong for you. The U.S. Department of State does not record, retain or pass on the information obtained in this questionnaire. The results are for your information only.