How do I know this?
Because the other morning we woke up to the awesome newz (delivered to us via my husband's Blackberry, who I long ago bitchily nicknamed "Your Girlfriend," as in I call out "Your girlfriend wants you!" when it rings or buzzes, so at least she delivers good news occasionally!) that
MY HUSBAND JUST GOT TENURE!!
That's right: on his first try!
Now, this is a big deal for anyone, right? I mean, going from new-employee-who-can-be-fired-at-will-for-any-reason to real-employee-who-gets-to-actually-keep-this-job-long-term is a big deal no matter *who* you are. We will be able to eat! And have health insurance! WOO-HOO!
But there are bigger reasons why this is awesome, as well. First of all, from a professional standpoint, James was worried because between getting hired and being up for tenure, he's been almost permanently in training. The tenure process already is unknowable and mysterious, and the reasons why Person A gets it and Person B doesn't often aren't at all obvious or knowable, but the gossip has been that those who spend lots of time in training - particularly long-term language training like, oh, say, CHINESE, end up with EERs that are pretty much empty. Not. Good.
But then there was the OTHER reason to be worried that James wouldn't get tenure. The big, huge, OBVIOUS reason that James wouldn't get tenure.
Um, you're reading it.
Yes, my friends... THIS BLOG. This blog (written by James' loudmouth wife). She tries hard to be a good wife, bless her heart, but somehow her blog has gotten him in very deep trouble on multiple, multiple occasions. Official, deep trouble, complete with meetings with high up people and unpleasant conversations. On multiple occasions. For multiple reasons. Over the last few years. One meeting of which included discussions regarding his upcoming tenure process. The one he just got through, THANK GOD.
So yes, I was worried.
Over the years, this blog has disappeared and reappeared. It has gone from having lots of State links on its sidebars and linking to other State bloggers to... not having or doing those things (very much). It often hosted the Weekly Blog RoundUp (back to that in a second). You get what I'm trying to say.
In fact, did you, by chance, read last month's edition of the Foreign Service Journal (the December 2011 issue)? If you did, you might have seen the extremely well-written article (starting on page 13, and can be found here) by my dear friend, Matt Keene, regarding State Department bloggers and some of the extremely unpleasant things that have happened to them behind closed doors. And if you read that article, you read several items about my blog and some of the things that have happened to James and me because of it. You just didn't know that those parts were about me and James because I hadn't told you yet. But now you know.
The trouble James and I have received has weighed on us heavily. I have cried. Oh, how I have cried. I have offered a thousand times (begged, actually, some of them) to delete/be allowed to delete this blog in order to stop my husband from getting into trouble over and over again. The trouble which comes out of nowhere and can never be predicted. The trouble which comes only because some at State hate blogs and blogging.
But James has never let me. And he has further told me to keep doing what I do and keep being who I am. To be brave. On multiple occasions, he has told me those things. Over many years. Continuously.
Blogging is very high stakes if you are an employee or EFM with State. I cannot describe how high the stakes are. Better, kinder, more talented bloggers than I have been forced to delete their blogs. Behind closed doors, careers have been destroyed. And no, I'm not talking about Mr. Publish-A-Book-About-Iraq-Guy or anything like that. I'm talking about normal people normally blogging about their normal lives. And then... they aren't. There are ALWAYS backstories. And I know some (most, perhaps?) of them. And I grieve for them. Because James and I have seen trouble, but are still here.
I wish they were, too.
The "Tigers" can be anyone, my friends. They can be anyone anywhere at State who can leverage any authority or have any influence over an employee. They're not just one department or one bureau or one piece of State or whatever. Sure, they can be that employee's boss, of course... but they can also be their boss's boss, or boss's boss's boss, or anyone at post, or anyone in that section of the world, or anyone anywhere high enough to have any say over what happens to that employee, or anyone in any lateral piece or department who doesn't like blogging in general or that blog in particular.
So today I celebrate that my husband now has tenure. Thank you, Tenure Granting People, thank you. Maybe you knew that James was THAT GUY whose wife has THAT BLOG... and maybe you didn't. Maybe it wasn't an issue whatsoever... and maybe it was. Maybe it was discussed and maybe it never came up. He certainly, certainly deserved to get it, because he's fabulous at what he does.
So, yes, the RoundUp.
Which is BACK! ON!
Because my dear friend Jill (The Perlman Update) has taken the RoudUp and run with it!
So Jill is hosting the first week of the RoundUp's resurrection (publish date January 20th) and then Jill will be the new RoundUp hostess from now on - so GO JILL! I look forward to seeing the RoundUp come back alive... helping people to connect with each other and helping us all share information about the crazy, fabulous, wonderful journey that this State life is. And I'm grateful to Jill and to everyone else who loved having the RoundUp around and wanted it to come back!
It's a good day!
And if anyone official is having or would like to have a *substantive* dialogue about State blogging policies and how to make them better for the future... and wants to actually include a real, live blogger who has been through the fires multiple times from multiple sources for no good reason whatsoever (only because some folks at State hate blogging even while others are actively championing it**)... you know where to find me. Because at some point, this has GOT to change.
** See that very first blog link on the right hand side of the official State.gov recruiting webpage? IT'S MINE.