So far, I have only one entry on my job list:
10. Right fit — government, intellect over manual, system over transactions, specific files not general, manage the level of personal investment
It’s hard to rank the list of ten attributes precisely in descending order, but the next one on my list is basically the “environment”. Which itself is misleading as people might think I mean the physical environment. I’m talking more about the nature of the work and the way different parts of the systems interact.
The first part of this is more “what I don’t want” again…I am not a great linguist, by any stretch of the definition. If I work really hard, I can pass my french test, but that doesn’t mean I’m ready for an environment where I would be working mostly in French. Or any other language that I might learn. It is a constraint for international diplomacy too. But separate from any sort of estimation of my abilities, growth or opportunity for improvement if I worked in French every day, etc., all of I which I’ll grant anyone who wants to argue, the long and short of it is that I don’t particularly enjoy it. Yes, I can do it, and I wouldn’t turn down a job that required it, but this is also about searching what I am looking for, and a heavy exercise of my linguistic abilities isn’t it.
Equally, I don’t particularly like negotiations. Working out details of a collaborative partnership with, say, an institutional partner? Sure. So I could do FPT relations. Or multilateral relations. But UN Conventions and resolutions, etc.? Probably not. I understand why some people love it, even negotiations with partners for Gs&Cs contracts, etc., but I find it very hard to get excited about it. Partly as it never feels like a true partnership to me…it is more like I’m paying them to agree, and if I find ways to leverage their agreement, we can work together. That is a lot of work to force-fit a relationship. Valuable, important, and even necessary in a lot of situations, but not the type of work I want to be doing with my life.
Which segues into my next point. I like collaborative networks — organic ones that come together for a common purpose because they want to work together, they want to share info, they want to do “something” together. Not because we had to force the negotiation or constrain the work into a specific box for it to work. Some might argue I only want to do it if it is easy, and perhaps so. I want to work on the functioning network, not cajoling someone into participating. In or out, it doesn’t matter to me. That’s someone else’s problem. But once in, I know how to work with them. That’s the part I enjoy. Kind of like the “pathfinder” model that some multilateral organizations have embraced — smaller coalitions of the willing rather than lowest-common-denominator-of-the-forced.
The next point, therefore, won’t be a surprise. If I avoid formal negotiations and embrace networked collaborations of the willing, it isn’t surprising then that I want informal over formal. I was uncomfortable at DFAIT, and more comfortable at CIDA, and ESDC has been “just right” for me most of the time. But that is the environment I thrive in … making it work informally wherever possible. Regardless of the organization, location, level of participants, just two people talking and sharing and collaborating.
Which brings me to the summary:
09. Environment — informal, networked, coalitions of the willing, mainly in English.