In Which I Cave, Slightly, on my Work Ban

Posted: 2 January 2008 in work

In the end, I didn’t write about all the angst at work over the involuntary postings to Iraq.  I had several drafts saved, including one with bad words and another noting that folks had found my blog using the search “work stress anger foreign service.”  I’m not sure which made me feel worse – the fact that someone had found my blog using that combination of words or that someone, likely one of my colleagues, was searching such a depressing phrase.  I didn’t write about it because it felt too personal, too heart-breaking, too easy to slam the decision without fully considering the impact.  With a month of holidays between the decision to send unwilling workers to a war zone and the second day of 2008, I feel better able to say that my opinion could never be anything but biased.  I decided to save it for ears only and D. patiently absorbed the fallout.

But this article brings it all back again.  A diplomat was shot, at close range, outside of his home.  He is in a war zone, yes.  He voluntarily took on that mission.  We can’t keep everyone safe, all of the time.  But this guy wasn’t Bhutto.  He wasn’t a political hero.  He wasn’t in Iraq where the act of being American is enough reason.  He didn’t have body armor.  He didn’t have an armored vehicle or an armed guard.  He wasn’t supposed to need one.  Being a diplomat has never been safe.  The walls of the State Department have names, dates and causes of death listed for nearly a hundred diplomats.  Lost at sea.  Cholera.  Bombings.  As the dates get later, the causes of death get more violent.  It’s not surprising that I’ve picked one of the least dangerous professions for my future.  It’s just a question of how soon that future is.

It isn’t as though we haven’t talked about this – I don’t talk about work anymore, mostly since I know more internet savvy coworkers.  This is a major sticking point for me since I don’t care whether or not they read (I read many of their blogs after all) but more that I’m An Example at the moment and I need my moral high ground to stand on.  Right?  But sometimes I find that my thoughts don’t fit in my head.  So there you have it.


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