Monday, July 31, 2017

Bidding Wars: The Phantom Position

As the pre-bidding season continues, I feel like I should give an update on what I've been up to. This summer... has been rough. I spent about a month as the only IMS (normally we have 4) at post. Covering 4 positions would be a challenge, so naturally I prepared for it by getting walking pneumonia. Also, FUN FACT, did you know: you can break a rib from coughing? I didn't either. I am painfully aware of it now though.

But enough about me! Bidding. At this point in previous bidding cycles, I'd have a decent idea of where I stand with my top bidding choices. This year the bidding cycle has been compressed. Instead of starting in August, it starts September 20th. Post and bureaus seem to be taking this to heart and are holding off on much of their normal bidding contact.

Many of my cohort-mates have been reaching out to incumbents for tentative positions and some of the supervisors anyway, because it can't hurt to start early. How can they contact posts, if the bid list isn't out, you may ask? Well, they use the dubiously accurate Projected Vacancy tool in FSBID (our bidding software). This tool tells you which positions will be open this year, based on when the current occupant arrived at post. I have, of course, been eyeballing the projected vacancy list for months (practically a year, don't judge me), but I have absolutely failed at making first contact. Part of this I can blame on being sick and busy, but part of it is the absolute dread I feel toward cold-calling people to tell them how great I am. Especially when the projected list doesn't account for extensions, curtailments, position freezing or removal, ceding to entry level, or the whims of bureaus and posts. It seems silly to spend all this effort schmoozing a post for a position you can't even bid on.

Who knows, I have an R&R coming up, I should probably get some messages sent before I leave for that. At least... that's what I keep telling myself.