Via Burn Bag:
“My second tour bid list now confirms the old bait and switch is indeed true. I joined to do one job and will be confined to consular work for five years of my life. We are told it is all good for professional development. In our large embassy consular section in Asia, only consular officers are invested in for CA trainings. No time is available for professional development and I hear third tour bidding won’t even promise us the chance to do what we joined the service to do. All we are told is to wait…five years…to do that job. We often question what it was that we joined the department to do in the first place. In the meantime old private sector friends have joined the Department in much higher and more interesting jobs than our own. Our promotions have slowed down and yet we are managed by mid-level officers who became managers overnight. AFSA, if they answer your email, claims they cannot address every issue at the Department. The new norm is four years of consular work, until the new norm is no longer four years of consular work.”
Via careers.state.gov about Foreign Service assignments:
After you complete orientation and training in Washington, D.C., as a newly hired Foreign Service Officer, you will typically be assigned overseas, although at this time a few officers begin with a domestic assignment. Typically, the first two overseas tours (usually two years each) are designed to develop your talents in different working environments and ensure that you attain foreign language skills. You will hold a variety of positions within a probationary period (up to five years) in order to demonstrate your qualifications for tenure as a career Foreign Service Officer and to see if the Foreign Service is the right fit. As part of this process, you will perform two to three years on average of consular work, and should expect an assignment to at least one hardship post.