Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Monday, December 11, 2017

FSYF Fall 2017 Youth Newsletter

Amazing Where You Are

The Fall 2017 issue of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation’s (FSYF) youth newsletter Here, There & Everywhere is available to read on the FSYF website. Foreign Service youth tell about their experiences living overseas and the adventures of returning home. For parents there are road trip tips and resources for getting to know the community after transitioning back to the U.S. To learn more about FSYF and to become a member, go to FSYF.org.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Reminder: Call for Third Wave of Applications for the FSFRC

Don’t forget to submit your application for the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps  (FSFRC) if you meet the following requirements: 
  • Employed at post under a Family Member Appointment (FMA) or Temporary (TEMP) Appointment at the time of application; or
  • Currently in an Intermittent No Work Scheduled (INWS) status at the time of application, with a Not To Exceed (NTE) date between now and 2021; or
  • Currently working in a Department of State Civil Service (CS) position domestically and are on your sponsoring employee’s travel orders (or other agency equivalent) to a post abroad with an upcoming transfer date within the next six months. The application will not be fully adjudicated until you depart your CS position. (Note: CS employees who are currently working under a DETO agreement or who have been placed in Leave Without Pay status and intend to return to their current CS position are not eligible for membership in the FSFRC.)
myData is the preferred application submission method. Those without access to OpenNet may download a fillable .pdf version of the application/declination form on the Internet: Application Form (DS-5137-A)  and Declination Form (DS-5137-D) (submit the completed form and any required attachments to FSFRC@state.gov). For more information, go the FSFRC webpage

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

More job search tips from our Global Employment Advisors! Up next, Romeo's tips on networking.

Learn more about the Global Employment Initiative at www.state.gov/m/dghr/flo/c21627.htm

Monday, November 6, 2017

EFM Job Opportunities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan

The Near Eastern Affairs and South and Central Asian Affairs Executive Office (NEA-SCA/EX) is pleased to announce the opening of NOW and Summer 2018 Eligible Family Member (EFM) job opportunities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan (Islamabad and Karachi) – Priority Staffing Posts (PSP).

Questions? Email Honeylee Temblador, TembladorHY@state.gov or Karen Foulks, FoulksKR1@State. If interested, apply before November 13, 2017. After this date, all unfilled positions will be re-advertised on a rolling basis until filled. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

FLO Website Feature: Member of Household Guidance

Visit the Family Liaison Office (FLO) website for guidance for Members of Household (family members not on employee's official travel orders). Find information on the specific definition of those eligible for MOH status, host country authority, work permits, education, travel expenses, housing, access to embassy services, evacuations, and more. Email FLOAskSupportServices@state.gov with your questions. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Want to work in DC? Sign up for FLO’s The Network 

newsletter and receive NCE and other DC job listings, plus

Thursday, October 19, 2017

October is Work Life Wellness Month

Foreign Service life presents challenges, and the FS career can be particularly difficult when it comes to juggling personal and family wellness and work and life demands. The Work Life Wellness initiative, jointly run by the Bureaus of Medical Services and Human Resources at the Department of State, aims to help employee juggle demands while improving preventive health practices. Below are some resources to get you started.   
  • MED Wellness Facebook Group—Closed group for current employees and family members with health and wellness tips and articles. Family members will need to provide their spouses state.gov email address.
  • Health.gov—The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion works to improve the health of all Americans. Find information on dietary and physical activity guidelines and other prevention and wellness information.
  • ChooseMyPlate.gov—From the U.S. Department of Agriculture, MyPlate helps you to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime.
Step It Up! - The Surgeon General’s call to action to promote walking and walkable communities.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Do You Have Questions? FLO Has Answers!

Visit the Family Liaison Office’s (FLO) website (www.state.gov/flo) for frequently asked questions on a variety of topics including: 
Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out our A to Z Site Map or email FLO@state.gov.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

GEI Program Expands Outreach to Family Members

As positions for family members within the mission remain limited, FLO kicked off a season of expanded outreach through the Global Employment Initiative (GEI) program. Since May 2017, Regional Global Employment Advisors (GEAs) visited 40 posts, delivering a variety of workshops and one-on-one consultations to discuss alternate employment options with family members, while also encouraging them to remain prepared for employment inside the mission as positions become available. In addition, GEAs increased the number of articles submitted to post newsletters, and participated in Welcome to Post webinars to virtually introduce themselves and their services.
GEAs are available via phone, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, or any communication tool that works best. Learn more on the GEI webpage. Email GEI@state.gov with questions and to contact the GEA for your post.

Photo: GEAs and FLO Staff at 2017 GEA Workshop

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Unaccompanied Tours Support: Before, During, and After

FLO’s Unaccompanied Tours (UT) team supports employees, their families (including parents, grandparents, etc.) affected by a UT. Whether you are thinking about, going to, or currently on a UT, FLO has resources for you. Email FLOAskUT@state.gov with your questions.
Contact Information Form—FLO does not receive a list of employees and family members experiencing a UT. Request a contact form (FLOAskUT@state.gov) so that we can provide you with resources during your UT.
Decision Tree—Where will your family live during a UT? Use this guide to help you decide.
Counseling Resources—Information on Deployment Stress Management Program (DSMP), the Employee Consultation Service, USAID Staff Care, and more.
Children’s Workbooks—Age appropriate workbooks to help your children understand separation. 
Children’s Certificates and Medals of Appreciation— Recognize the sacrifice that your child(ren) makes while you are serving on a UT by nominating him/her for a certificate and medal. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

FLO Website Feature: Adult Education Programs 

Visit the Family Liaison Office’s (FLO) Adult Education Programs webpage for information on the College-Level Examination Program, adult education opportunities abroad, federal employee and family member education discounts, and more! Email FLOAskEducation@state.gov with questions.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sheryl Sandberg: How to Build Resilient Kids, Even After a Loss

Posted by Beth Payne in her Fostering Resilience blog
Director, Center of Excellence in Foreign Affairs Resilience (CEFAR)
Contact FSI for more information at  FSIRegistrar@state.gov.
Re-posted in Foggy Bottom Rambles

Two years ago, the lives of Sheryl Sandberg’s two children changed forever when their father died suddenly from a cardiac arrhythmia. In the fog of those early and brutal weeks and months, Sandberg’s biggest fear was that her children’s happiness would be destroyed by their devastating loss. She searched for what, if anything, she could do to get them through this. Working with Adam Grant, a psychologist and professor who studies how people find motivation and meaning, she set out to learn everything she could about how kids persevere through adversity.
Here are some of the things she learned. Read her New York Times article or her book Option B if you want to read more.
  • Show your children that they matter. Sociologists define “mattering” as the belief that other people notice you, care about you, and rely on you. It’s the answer to a vital question that all children ask about their place in the world starting as toddlers, and continuing into and beyond adolescence: Do I make a difference to others?
  • Walk alongside your children and listen. When parents cannot fix a child’s problems, it can be frustrating and parents often feel helpless. In these cases, remember the value of being a trusted companion who will listen, share in your children’s feelings, and remind them they are not alone. Just being there will often do more for a child’s resilience than solving the immediate problem.
  • Keep memories alive. Talking openly about memories — not just positive ones, but difficult ones, too — can help kids make sense of their past and rise to future challenges. It’s especially powerful to share stories about how the family sticks together through good times and bad, which allows kids to feel that they are connected to something larger than themselves.
  • Practice gratitude. At the end of each day, talk about what happened that day for which each of you is grateful and remind yourselves that even after loss, there is still so much to appreciate in life.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bidders on PSP assignments - please remember that there is a special ISMA-plus-Education benefit per DSSR 262.5  available to EFMs who are officially approved for an alternate foreign ISMA location.  See DSSR 262.5 below:

262.5 Education Allowance for Involuntary SMA Location
When SMA is granted for the Government's convenience (ISMA), and a foreign area is authorized as an official ISMA location, an employee can be authorized an education allowance within the applicable "school-at-post" education allowance rate for the officially authorized foreign ISMA location on behalf of a child authorized to reside at that ISMA location, unless the child has arrived at a selected educational institution under educational travel authority within the last 12 months (see 282). (Eff. 5/23/2010 TL:SR-734).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

It's Hurricane Season. Are You Prepared? 

We can all take action to prepare! Check out www.ready.gov/September and garner tips and ideas for kids games, tool kits and more.

Having a Personal Preparedness Plan will help you and your family to be ready to leave post at a moment’s notice. FLO will be there for you, before, during, and after a sudden departure from post, providing guidance and support along the way.
Take a look at:
 72 Hour Emergency Kit—A duffle bag or backpack that you can grab in an instant with supplies to last 72 hours.
 Go-Bag—Ready to grab during an evacuation.
 Pets and International TravelNew airline rules impact shipment of pets from post to post!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

FLO Website Feature: UT Resources

FLO’s Unaccompanied Tours (UT) team provides a number of services and resources for employees and families preparing for, serving in, or returning from an assignment to an unaccompanied post. You will find information on the children’s certificate and medal of recognition program, a link to the Foggy Bottom Rambles blog, age-appropriate workbooks for children, and more. You can also download the Decision Tree, a guide to help you decide where your family should live during a UT. Visit FLO’s UT webpage today. Email Questions to FLOAskUT@state.gov

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

USAJOBS.gov - Using Search Filters for NCE

If you have earned Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) while working overseas, you can use filters on USAJOBS.gov to find vacancies that are NCE eligible. Although the hiring freeze is still in effect for the Department of State, other federal agencies are hiring. In the "Who May Apply" section of the job announcement, look for positions open to “Former Overseas Employees.” Also, try these key words that may generate additional vacant positions: non-competitive eligible, special hiring authorities, Peace Corps, military spouses, EO 12721, and CFR 315.608.