LinkedIn tracking pixel

Two former U.S. diplomats share insights into the Foreign Service/State Department

Matt Boyse (left) and Phillip Linderman (right)
Matt Boyse (left) and Phillip Linderman (right)

Life in Foreign Service: Is That Life Right for You?” posed the PowerPoint of Phillip Linderman, retired State Department senior Foreign Service Officer.

On Monday, June 12, IWP hosted two former diplomats, with 60+ years of experience between them, for a hybrid panel on careers in the Foreign Service and State Department for IWP students and interns.

This mentoring panel featured Mr. Linderman, a Fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, and Matt Boyse, Adjunct Fellow with the Hudson Institute and an Adjunct Lecturer at Johns Hopkins SAIS, George Washington, and American Universities, who discussed work and life at U.S. embassies and consulates as well as Foggy Bottom.

Mr. Linderman opened the talk with “core stress points” in foreign service, cultural adaptability, and availability for worldwide assignments. He also described experiences and the working environment in the Foreign Service/State Department, drawing on anecdotes and personal encounters gathered from a long career of collaboration with colleagues in U.S. embassies and consulates on four continents.

After dispelling fact from fiction in the political thriller television series, The Diplomat, Mr. Boyse discussed plusses and minuses of a career as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO): on the plus side serving the United States of America, meeting very interesting people, being “in the room” during fascinating situations, making a difference, travel and adventure, and exposure to complex policy issues.  Among the challenges: apolitical service representing whatever administration the American people elect regardless of personal views, a work environment that can be quite political, the growing number of dangerous situations and postings, frequent moves and family uprooting, difficulty with spousal employment, and assignments in areas of less personal interest.