Friday, August 26, 2011


Work for the last few weeks has been a bit busier than usual.  In addition to my regular dosage of non-immigrant and immigrant interviews, I have also been acting Consular Chief.  My supervisor has been on three weeks training and she asked me to fill in while she was gone.

To be perfectly honest, I didn't really expect to have to do all that much.  A lot of the job is long-term planning and staffing decisions.  Since, by definition, long-term decisions don't usually need to be made all that time, I figured I'd attend a few more meetings, sign a few more forms and just make sure the place didn't go to shit.  I figured I could handle that.

Turns out there is a lot more to the job* than I expected.  There was a lot of preparation that went into Tropical Storm Harvey.  Although it didn't really turn into anything, we had to prepare for the fact that it might hit as a hurricane.  That meant a warden message Emergency Message from the US Embassy about the storm, Emergency Action Committee meeting and other issues.

I definitely did NOT expect to hire anyone while I was acting consular chief.  Our biometrics coordinator position had been vacant for over a year and then I had to interview someone for the position the first week.  We had also requested a State Department intern for the Spring.  Because of the long clearance processes, we had to make the decision now.  I got to sift through dozens of applications and resumes, pick out a few good candidates (in truth, they were all good candidates), conduct phone interviews, and then select a primary and alternate.  Given the fact that I had never hired anyone in my life, it was a strange experience.  It was honestly difficult to choose.  Three of the four candidates seemed like they would be good fits and there was nothing quantitatively to exclude one over the other.  In the end, I went with the one who seemed liked she would fit in the best.

The last big issue I had to deal with involved implementing our new public operating hours which starts next week.  Logisitically, I had to figure out how many appts. to schedule at what times.  Plus, we have been trying to promote it to current  applicants. 

There were, as I expected, more meetings, more forms to sign, and unusual cases to deal with.  But, I enjoyed the work.  I got a few ideas of how I would approach this job if I did it full-time.  It will look good on my EER.

* By job, I mean the job of Acting Consular Chief, as opposed to the Consular Chief job.  I knew the Consular Chief did a lot, I just didn't think all that much would occur during the three weeks I was at the helm.