Finally Employed!

The job search has finally paid off! After three months in the U.S. spending hours and hours and hours looking for jobs, applying for jobs, and the occasional job interview, I have officially accepted and been cleared for a position with Peace Corps!

The position is titled “Public Affairs Assistant” and it is in the Communications Department of Peace Corps, at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. It is just a three month temporary position for now, but if they like me and I like working there (and like living in D.C.) there is a possibility that it will turn into a long term position.  It is a great entry-level position, but I will (hopefully) have some great opportunities to work on honing my communication and writing skills. I will be responsible for drafting some press releases and other information, answering media and other requests, and basically helping out wherever I am needed in the Communications Department. Some of these publications will be internal but others will be sent out, including on the Peace Corps website (and don’t worry, you’ll know when something I worked on makes it to the internet!).

I found this job announcement in the RPCV Google Group, and sent in my resume and information. A few hours later, I got an email asking for a phone interview the next day. After the phone interview, I had a Skype interview the next day. A few days later, I was offered the job! It was incredible to have it all taken care of so quickly…no waiting to hear if I got an interview, no anxiety when I hadn’t heard back after the interview. On the plus side, even though it is a temporary position, it is still a federal position – so now the door is cracked open a little further for the future.  Of course, the same day I was offered the job, another job I had applied for and had a phone interview six weeks previous called me to see if I was still interested. When it rains, it pours, I guess!

So after a lightning fast interview process, the hard part started. Since this is a federal position, I had to complete an SF-85, which is the light version of a background check. It included listing every place I’d lived and every job I’ve had in the last five years…and someone who can verify this information. These people then had to fill out an additional form to vouch for this information. I also had to fill out a fingerprint card and some other information. In addition, I had an in person interview with a Special Agent from the Peace Corps that was about an hour and a half long. During this interview, I had to go over the information I submitted, and also account for all of my international travel during the past five years. And not just where and when – the exact details of where I stayed, how I got there, what I did, what I drank, and who I was with (full name, current residence, age, citizenship, and gender). It took a couple of days to put together all this information, as I’ve been all over the place the last four years. Luckily, I didn’t have to account for the time I was in Zambia, since that was my country of residence.

Today I heard back that I had passed this security clearance, and would be able to finally start work. The choices were either start on Monday (as in three days from now) or in two weeks. After some research into flights and living arrangements, I decided that I would go with the two weeks from now option – and even booked a flight. This is real, people. My days of watching Law and Order: SVU and CSI all day are numbered.  I will be leaving from Omaha on the afternoon of the 6th – after attending the wedding of one of my friends from high school. So if you are planning to be in the Washington D.C. area anytime in the next three months, let me know.

I’ll keep posting here since this is the address everyone knows and loves. Instead of adventures and misadventures in the middle of Africa, I will be having adventures and misadventures in the middle of the big city (hopefully more of the former and less of the latter!).  If this turns out to be more permanent, I might just have to change it to “Mary in DC”. 

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