Tuesday, 24 June 2014

I am definitely working

A glorious morning in dull and very grey Aberdeen; we are merely three days after the solstice but the Silver City has already utterly given up on seeing the sun again. In sports news, sport is being played by sporty people like Ronaldo (salary: 80m USD per year) against other sporty people (the nation of the Ivory Coast, GDP 36.1bn USD or approximately 450 Ronaldos) and that's about all I know about sport. Though Chrome has undertaken to keep me updated, as has twitter, so who knows. Perhaps I'll become an expert in short order.

Today featured a very interesting talk from the Permanent Under-Secretary to the Foreign and Commonwealth Officer, one of the most senior civil servants in the Government, Sir Simon Fraser. (Or Mr Fraser, if you're an idiot like me and get tongue tied trying to speak and open a door simultaneously. One day I'll be able to multi-task. One day.)

Sir Simon Fraser (or Tamsin, if you're reading this) then please accept my humble apologies. It absolutely was not an intentional slight but the apology is there nonetheless.

In any case, Sir Simon came to the university to talk FCO careers, and was absolutely fascinating. The role of diplomats is changing and now they have to be active on social media - but this can give them much greater access to the people around them. This in turn allows them to ambass with greater skill and build closer relationships with the local people, and that can only be a good thing.

He went on to talk about how ambassadors need to be open-minded, friendly people who really like Ferrero Rocher. Luckily for me I qualify on every single one of those criteria! Now all I need to is pass

  • the psychometric tests
  • the in-tray test
  • the group assessment
  • and the final interview
Pah. I eat such challenges for breakfast and go for a run after.


In any case, Sir Simon was incredibly helpful and answered an awful lot of my questions, which was probably a bit unfair on the less vocal members of the audience. He also did a twitter Q&A after, so have a look for that and see what he's saying if you're interested in a career in the FCO.

As for me: I'm sitting in the library and have written my conclusion, which is essentially that laïcité as practised by the French is kinda racist and kinda islamaphobic and that's shit, but quite frankly your other option is going down the route the US did and that's still racist and islamaphobic, so quite frankly guys I've not got any idea what you're going to do. But please give me a high mark.

Outside of the ongoing and laughable horror that is my dissertation I need to get on with sharing information about something else, so I'm going to get on that very soon. Probably. Just as soon as I finish working out how many Ronaldos the UK is worth. It's a brilliant new unit of measurement and is also endless amounts of fun.  I assure you.

Alright. Not everybody has the same sense of fun as me
Finally, I closed up the day with teaching of pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and good lord why has nobody taught this child properly? I appreciate it, because it means I can earn a good living making up the difference, but it's more than a little heartbreaking.

So in conclusion: a day where I reconsidered future plans; where I met students who know what they want to do and a student who hasn't a clue. All of them bright and only some of them failed by the system. I also got asked for my opinion on something new and was told that someone appreciated my existence. And that's not a terrible thing on which to end the day.