Foggy Bottom Sage Strikes Again: In Time for EERs

The State Department’s in-house mag called “State” is mostly a “happy-talk” rag as one of our blogging friends like to call it — but really it’s not all that bad. The April issue includes the 2008 promotion stats (see which cone is up, check out pdf pp.38-41).

And one of its redeeming c0ntents has always been — at least to me, its second to the last page which contains the work of FSO/cartoonist, Brian Aggeler. I think of Brian as sort of the sage of Foggy Bottom, except that like most FSOs, he’s paid to go work anywhere in the world, but D.C. (i.e. all FS employees are worldwide available). Sorry, I don’t feel like calling him worldwide available sage.

The last time I heard, he was somewhere in Asia. But he has not forgotten that April brings spring and rain, and EER time (employee evaluation report). Never mind spring and rain, the last one is nothing to sneeze at — if you’re interested in your career and promotion prospects. In fact, the annual EER phase (which could take up weeks on of your time) is an opportunity to practice your diplomatic negotiation and appeasement engagement skills with your rating officer/reviewing officer.

screencapture of Brian Aggeler’s cartoon in State Magazine, April 2009

Want to take out that “focus on details” phrase? Negotiate that! Want to take out a praise/dammit sentence that your boss absolutely wants to put in — negotiate that. It’s a ‘diplomacy starts at home’ kind of thing — just don’t stalk out in anger at the guy who signs the dotted line if you don’t get your way, or interpersonal skills could go into the next EER cycle. A good rule of diplomacy should be — never, ever let anyone see you sweat, even when the other guy fires a Taepodong-2 missile. That goes for EERs, too.