Monday, August 24, 2015


I got promoted! Whoo hoo, par-tay, celebraaaaaaate! Oh wait, it was an administrative promotion*; I earned it merely by not getting fired over the last 18 months. Well, whatever, it still counts! If I keep up this rate of promotion, I think I'll be running the entire Department of State in like... 10 years. NOTE: That is not how it works.

On a more serious note, my cohort received our 18 month administrative promotions from FS 5 to FS 4 beginning this pay period. It's the first milestone in our IMS careers, next up: Tenure**. Unforunately, getting tenure is a merit-based-competitive thing, so we may not all get it at the same time (on our first try). Then again, my cohort was pretty awesome, so you never know.

* An "administrative promotion" is a pay grade increase that is guaranteed as part of your hiring. It is non-competitive and kind of represents the end of your 'training period.' Getting them depends on your position and the grade at which you enter the service. Since all IMS have the same job and grade coming in, we all get an upgrade after 18 months.

** Tenure is a formalization of your job with the State Department. It represents the end of your 2 to 6 year probational employment. Effectively, there's not much difference (for Specialists), except that once tenured you're eligible for competitive-promotion. Also, if you don't receive tenure on your 3rd attempt, you're effectively terminated from the foreign service.


  1. Hello, I just wonder what one would do to be terminated from the foreign service. Can you give me some examples? Thanks.

  2. How does the promotion work? If you come in as a FS-5 Step 4 do you get bumped up to FS-4 Step 4? Or do you go two steps higher in the next class?