#TWW: Senior Official Talks About Promoting Freedom of Expression (Warning: Strong Language)

Via TWW: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) launched its 6th annual “Free the Press” campaign today as part of its effort to mark the importance of a free press and independent media.  The campaign was supposed to launch in the lead up to World Press Freedom Day on May 3 but since the top offices were empty, there was no one authorized to grant clearance for the campaign.  More here:

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#TWW: An Interview With FSO Anxious to Help the Bidding Tool Designers

Read about Foreign Service Officer Alexa Braveheart’s on the record interview about her efforts to help SmarterMatch replace the Diplomatic Service Bidding (DSBid) application, the internal bidding and assignment processes for the Ministry’s Diplomatic Service employees. The TWW reports reached out to SmarterMatch to speak with Mikey but they were informed that he and his crew are unavailable for interviews as they are beta-testing the project in Albuquerque. Finally, the Public Affairs Office would only speak to TWW if the spokesperson could set her telephone system to stun. Fortunately for the TWW reporters, she is still searching for the stun button.

All in this week’s The Wicked Wasabi.

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Foreign Ministry Rolls Out New Housing Options For the Foreign Service

 

Check out The Wicked Wasabi: Foreign Ministry Rolls Out New Housing Options For the Foreign Service.

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VOL 1 ISSUE 1

NEWZ 🎱 BRIEF |  6.14.2017

Mystery Human Appointed as Special Advisor for Morale, Welfare, But Not Recreation (MWBNR)
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FOGGIEST BOTTOM, WASHDC — After weeks of constant leaks concerning plummeting morale at the diplomatic service of the last remaining super power, Foreign Minister Haw Haw assured senators at a private meeting that he is bringing in a Special Advisor for Morale, Welfare, But Not Recreation (MWBNR), as soon as possible. “The paperwork is being processed as we speak,” he assured Committee members.

“I want to let you know that the special advisor will be attentive to the morale and welfare of our employees, though not recreation,” he warned. “We have turned a page; we will no longer support recreation activities for federal employees even at their own discretionary time. The world is going — in diplomatic parlance — bananas, and seriously, who has time for recreation?” he asked.

“Exactly!” the senator from Idaho nodded briskly. “Bananas! Who has time for recreation?” he parrots. “Or who has time for diplomacy when we have the MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS?” he asked loudly as he let out a brief cackle.

The Committee’s ranking member expressed concern that the lack of support for recreation would further demoralized the agency.  “Who is this special advisor?” she asked.  “What are the plans to improve morale and welfare?” another senator inquired.  The Foreign Minister declined to identify the special advisor except to say that the individual is a marvelous, and emphatic human being who is perfectly qualified to be Special Advisor for MWBNR.  He added that the special advisor should be applauded for rolling out a quick and cost-free initiative to improve morale at his agency. He explained that the first phase of the morale improvement plan is to allow employees — regardless of type, rank, or location —  to vote for an agency theme song. “And all it took was a free subscription to Pandora!” he exclaimed.

One senator wanted to know if the theme songs proposed include ABBA’s S.O.S?  Another suggested Yusuf/Cat Steven’s Wild, Wild World. The Foreign Minister told the Committee members that he is happy to consider their suggestions but told them it is crucial that the employees get a say in their own theme song. “Buy-in makes a difference, you see,” he added.  He concluded the meeting with a promise to provide the Committee with a short list of proposed theme songs at a later date.

 

NEWZ 🎱 BRIEF |  6.14.2017

Last EFM Still Employed In Embassy Wonders What Section She Will Be Working In Today
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BISSAU, GUINEA-BISSAU —  After arriving at the embassy this morning in order to begin her work day, Jennifer Smith-Collier sat timidly on a chair positioned outside of a nearby conference room door.

“This is my new routine,” Ms. Smith-Collier told reporters. “After this daily morning meeting, I will find out what section – or sections – I’ll be working in today. It changes so often there’s no way to even print up a schedule for me in advance.”

Noting that she was the last EFM still employed at the embassy since all other EFMs had rotated out and were not being replaced due to the hiring freeze, Ms. Smith-Collier shared that this new morning routine of hers was out of necessity. “There’s actually a meeting every morning now where the different sections try to iron out who needs me the most and what my schedule will be for that day. For example, yesterday I escorted a crew doing work in the Ambassador’s bathroom, filled in as a temporary secretary at the political section for two hours, and then assisted the consular section with pulling fingerprints from visa applicants for the rest of the day.”

Ms. Smith-Collier, a graduate of Wellesley with an MBA from Wharton, noted that she and her husband are due to depart post for their onward assignment in three weeks. “I feel terrible that we’re going to be leaving soon, since I know that when I leave the embassy will have no other employed EFMs, but I suppose that’s something that cannot be helped,” she said sadly. “I have no idea who will do all of this work once I leave, since the embassy is already seriously short staffed and some direct-hire employees are already facing double, triple, and even quadruple their normal workloads.”

As raised voices filtered out of the nearby conference room within which the meeting regarding her daily schedule was being held, Ms. Smith-Collier bit her lip. “Things can sometimes get a bit heated in there,” she confessed.

Several minutes later, a red-faced Management Officer emerged from the conference room and handed Ms. Smith-Collier a handwritten daily schedule that contained several edits and scratched out blocks. “Stick with what’s written in black pen, please,” he told her. “Blue pen was used for the working copy, and black was used for your final schedule.” Ms. Smith-Collier nodded, smiled, and set out to begin her work day.

WARNING:
Reading The Wicked Wasabi may result in occasional fun or indigestion.
It is not intended for readers over 18 years of age
without a fully developed sense of humor.

Since you’re visiting the blog …

We have been a reader-supported blog since 2014. We want to keep this blog as open as possible and that’s the reason we don’t have a subscription fee. You know best whether our work is of value to you or not. If it is, and if your circumstances allow it, we could use your help to carry on for another year: Help Diplopundit Get to Year 10 ⚡️

 

Rolling Out The Wicked Wasabi — Perhaps a Good Laugh on Wednesdays?

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The news can be overwhelming these days. We know some friends who are struggling with life, work and the daily nutty stuff. We share the same struggle, and while some days are more difficult than others, just the constant beat with no let up can be draining and seriously depressing. Not a whine, just a statement of the abnormal times we’re living in. If folks need help, please don’t self-medicate. See somebody and get help. Even your blogger may need to occasionally see a therapist. By the way, screaming at the teevee is only helpful for no more than 20 minutes. Tried and tested, trust us on that one.

We’ve also spent many nights with 3-hour sleep (if we’re lucky). Not just because there are too many things going on at the same time, but also because we have been unable to switched off at times. We had to take a short break earlier this year not only because we were feeling the blues but we also gained those infamous “T10” pounds!  We’re not proud of those pounds gained, but who is?

Okay, so that’s a roundabout way of explaining why we’ve been thinking about how to keep blogging without losing our wits or getting burned out.

The blog will continue to have regular updates four days a week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday), and occasionally on weekends, when needed. We will set aside Wednesdays for some levity. Folks, we’re rolling out … tadaaaa ….

TWW aims to be a satirical Foreign Service weekly. So, once a week, we’ll all get to laugh at ourselves and, well, at stuff that needs laughing at. Because — hey, we only live once, and darn it, we’re not going to let the nuttynutnutworld makes us crazy. The Wicked Wasabi will be clearly identified as a satirical component of the blog, of course.

Folks with no sense of humor (yup, looking at some pals at the State Department), are welcome to look away. If folks can’t look away, or can’t keep their eye rolls in their sockets or their laughters in a single file — well, some WD-40 and duct tape might help. That is, like the Internet folks say, if it doesn’t move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn’t, use the tape.

A quick update on the fundraising — we’re doing a regular fundraising and not an “all or nothing” campaign as we did in the past. The campaign will stay on for as long as we leave it on, though we’ve made a self-imposed 2-month duration so we don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the year. We are at the half-way mark, and it appears that the campaign has quietly stalled. If we can get to our funding goal in July, that would be awesome. If not, arghh … we’ll have the rest of the year to try and get there. To those who already pitched in to keep us going for another year, thank you. We are grateful for your steadfast support!

Most of you know that we are not on Facebook, so to blog pals, and readers who patronize the blog, we ‘d appreciate your help in spreading our campaign through your networks. Gracias!

We’ve cross-posted this on the GFM site:  Help Diplopundit Get to Year #10.