On Wednesday afternoon I got the bid list. For those of you unfamiliar with this process, the bid list is the list of posts available to me and the other members of my A-100 class. The bidding process is kind of complicated but I’ll try to explain it as best I can without getting too much into the nitty-gritty.
The first task in the bidding process is to create a list of bidding preferences. This is basically a form we have to fill out that explains the kind of post we’re looking for. The form asks questions about the kinds of languages we’re interested in learning, what kind of work we’d prefer to do, if we need good schools for kids, if we’re bringing pets, if our spouse wants to work while were abroad etc. Once we have that form filled out we turn it in to our Career Development Officer (CDO) who reviews the form and then meets with us individually to discuss our preferences.
After meeting with our CDOs we get another 5 -ish days to bid on the posts. As Entry Level Officers (ELOs) we have to bid on every post on the list by ranking each post low, medium, or high. There is no rule about how many posts have to be ranked in each category. Once we turn the list in with our high, medium, and low bids, we wait. And wait. And wait. Until the 2nd to last Friday of A-100, known as Flag Day.
On Flag Day there’s a special ceremony where each member of class is called up and is given a flag from the country they are being sent to. We also find out what language we are going to learn and how long we are going to be in DC for training. I’ve been looking forward to having a Flag Day of my very own for a long time now, and the fact that I will get one in just under 4 weeks hasn’t quite hit me yet. I know as soon as I turn in my bid list things will start to feel really real and I’ll get super excited. For now, I’m a little stressed about researching all the options and figuring out my preferences, but I know this is going to be the start of a great adventure.