One of our Foreign Service friends has mentioned that one of his biggest pet peeves with his co-workers -- now former co-workers, as he returned to "normal" life -- was the obsession with what's next. It didn't seem like anyone was ever happy with what they had at the moment; everyone was always planning for their next post.
I think it's a trap we all fall into a lot. I think it's particularly bad for entry-level officers, whose tours generally are two years long. Two years isn't long, and the bidding process is structured in such a way that you generally find out midway through your first tour where you're going next. That means, for example, that by the time we get to Milan, we will have known for almost two years that's where we were going.
I found myself thinking about all this this morning as Owen and I hung out with some church friends who also live in our apartment complex. Most of them are preparing for their first post with the State Department, and they're going to Beijing; Bridgetown, Barbados; Istanbul; Dakar, Senegal; and Surabaya, Indonesia. Throw in Milan and another Beijing (our hostess, whose husband was in A-100 with Kevin) and it's a pretty diverse mix.
But even though I really, really wanted Milan, and don't want to go anywhere else anytime soon, and am more than ready to be there RIGHT NOW, I found myself wondering what it would be like to be going to one of those other places instead.
I guess I've fallen farther into the trap than I realized.