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Two types of diplomats

What diplomats do? Well,  there are two types of diplomats...

Never DC'ers

Those who try to avoid serving a tour in Washington at all cost, because it's too expensive to live in a nice school district or pay for daycare on a (single) government salary, and those who don't mind working in Washington because they have property and/or family there, or think it's a good career move.

1st vs 2nd career

Those who are young and bright-eyed when they enter the Foreign Service, joining straight after university or after a couple of years in a variety of fields, and those who already have spent 20+ years in the military, or as a teacher, lawyer, etc. 

Going local

Those who enter the Foreign Service when they're already married (and stay married) and those who find love in the Foreign Service, often with a "local." It's very, very common for diplomatic spouses to come from Asia, Latin America, and wherever else.

Life of luxury

Those who hire two nannies and a driver, which is financially feasible in many countries outside of Europe, and try out every good restaurant in town, and those who prefer to clean their own house and save their government salary for the future (think: DC tours, putting kids through college, pay for their mortgage back home).


Those who travel every other weekend to cool local and international destinations, utilizing long weekends and local holidays to see as much of the region as possible, even with small kids, and those who hunker down in their government-provided housing because they're overwhelmed with work, or because they serve in a region where local travel is challenging.

Career control

Those who spend tons of time thinking, researching and lobbying for their next assignment, putting together spreadsheets with available positions, and those who don't bother to apply for jobs during the regular "bidding cycle" and instead wait for vacancies to appear before or after—so they only have to apply for one job at a time.

Love or hate consular

Those who think consular assignments, and particularly those that involve visa interviews, are an incredible grind, and an unfair and unnecessary hazing of new officers whose skills could be much better used elsewhere in the embassy, and those love the consular camaraderie, the wild stories they get from applicants, and the 9-to-5 nature of the job.


Those who find shopping for exotic art, handwoven rugs, and custom-made furniture and clothing irresistible, and slowly turn their houses into a World Market, and those who just bring the basics with them to post and keep most of their belongings in climate-controlled storage in the US.

Security awareness

Those who diligently mind their security, avoid crowds, conduct weekly radio checks, set the alarm when they leave their house, keep to-go bags and water supplies ready at all times, and those who feel comfortable enough in their new environment they don't really feel the need to do these things.


Those who try to hide their diplomatic status whenever they meet new people outside of work, and omit any work-related information from their social media because they fear their status might make them a target of unwanted attention,  and those who don't mind introducing themselves as U.S. diplomats. 

Dress up

Those who dress in a two-piece suit or snazzy dress every day, and try out local tailors until they find the best of the best, and those who look dumpy in their oversized shirts and grandparent shoes.


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