Monday, January 18, 2010

New FS Blog: EF'M: The Life of an FSO Spouse

"Because I'm not just a government acronym!"

EF’M: The Life of an FSO Spouse is a charming new blog with bite and humor by David L. who insists, “I'm not just a government acronym!”  He is married to a foreign service officer on training and will move to Hermosillo, Mexico this summer.”

Excerpt from his first post: 
Somewhere in that process, Natalie becomes an FSO, and I became an eligible family member (EFM). Yuck! Where did the government get the right to turn me into an acronym—and a lame one at that?

Even FSO is a bit acrid, so I’ve re-acronized the government’s distasteful acronyms. These are a little more flexible and can change with the moods. Most often, FSO now means fervent significant other, but the “F” can be upgraded to favorable, fantastic, or fabulous; or it can be downgraded to fascist, fastidious, or when I’m really angry, fatuous.

But what to call myself and others in my position? This was more difficult, because it risks following into the same trap the government did—generalizing us into a group, and in essence, marginalizing us. So generically, I’m fine with efficient familial manager, but like with FSO, I’m sure Natalie will have different EFMs for me such as exhaustive, fat malcontent, or extremely flexible mainstay, depending on how supportive I’m being at the time.

The key, I suppose, is to not let the government dictate too much as to what we are supposed to be. Yeah, I understand for legal purposes, they need some generic terms to cover who gets to travel on the taxpayers’ dime (thanks taxpayers!), but I’m not some generic EFM. So, I say ef’m.

Read his blog here. Other recent entries offer a good read and a bunch of chuckles:

David may not know this, but he ought to be relieved that Natalie did not join in the 60’s. Back then, his performance as a spouse (even if he were not employed by the USG) would have been included in his wife’s employment evaluation.  So her performance and promotion would have depended in no small part on how supportive he was to her official functions and to the mission.  Or back in the 80’s for that matter; back then, if he found work at the embassy he would have been known as a “PIT” not as an AEFM (Appointment Eligible Family Member).  The term formerly applied to most family member employment positions and the employees encumbering those positions. As in “Were you a PIT in Ouagadougou?”  PIT stands for “part-time intermittent temporary;” don’t ask me who thought up these wonderful acronyms.  Thankfully, it is no longer in used.  Additional EFM-related terms are here.  Longer list of acronyms for State is here (253 pages only) in case you’re curious. Nothing in the list is quite in the pits as the “PIT,” I can tell you.

We are definitely looking forward to reading more from David L. 

1 comment:

David L. said...

Thanks for the kind words about my blog. You're right; I never would have stood for being called a PIT. And while I do enjoy complaining (that's my schtick), I do recognize things have improved for EFMs over the years.