www.MountainRunner.us

A Blog on Understanding, Informing, Empowering, and Influencing Global Publics, published by Matt Armstrong

Looking for blogs by Foreign Service Officers?

I have to admit that I’ve been lax (to put it mildly) on maintaining my blog roll. Once upon a time it was something I minded very carefully. Now, to be honest, I’m not even sure who is on it as I haven’t looked at in a very long time. In the past, the platform that managed my blog reading also managed the lists on this site (there were two, a “short list” of essential reads and a longer list of recommended reads). After that service was discontinued, I hard coded the lists and moved them to their own page and promptly forgot about them.

Why am I telling you this? Because if you’re looking for a recommended list of blogs, at this time MountainRunner is not your resource, but I do have a suggestion for you.

If you seek blogs by Foreign Services Officers, go to Life After Jerusalem (LAJ). I met one of the authors – Digger – recently and we had a great chat about blogging (while insisting I have a beer while we talked) and she actively collects blogs by members of the Foreign Service. LAJ now has 200 blogs (active and inactive), not including those on a “Future FSO” list. So if you’re looking for first-hand thoughts and accounts, check out LAJ.

Go ahead, pick a blog or three from the LAJ list. There’s a blog by a USAID FSO in there somewhere (I don’t know which one).

Picking one of the listed blogs at random – Hick/Hitchhiker…Diplomat?! – I read this post written today:

168-hour Work Week?

As FSOs we are told in training that we are "on duty" 24/7/365. We are to watch what we say, how we say it, and to whom we say it. What does the 168-hour work week mean for me?

It means I earn less than $6 an hour.

I get it. It makes sense. But to be honest, I have been coming dangerously close to using "caution" as an excuse for not challenging myself and others in real and intense conversations. Conversations about the problems and potential solutions that exist in our world. How scary is that? What good am I to the State Department if I lack the ability to truly engage and question myself and others? I only have myself to blame, and luckily I have some solutions in mind.

But where do you, the reader of this blog, come into the picture?

Glad you asked. While I will stop far short of advocating or developing my opinions on anything that even remotely resembles "something of official concern" (as the DoS policy states), I will be referring you to articles that have made me think. I’ll be writing a personal critique of each article, but I don’t think blogging such critiques remotely fits within the DoS’s current guidelines.

So that is that.

Here is the first article: "From a Failed Growth to a Steady-State Economy." Herman Daly argues (among other, more wild things) for splitting GDP into separate cost and benefit accounts.

Now it’s time to figure out how to word my critique of the article in Spanish. I want to sleep for seven hours tonight, so I’ve got to make up for the $40 of lost productivity now.

  • 4brianhall says:

    Thanks for the mention Matt.
    Digger does quite an impressive job keeping up that blog roll. I was just talking with another FSO blogger at lunch today about how cool it is to see the community growing and interacting. Keep up the good work with MountainRunner.

    March 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm
  • Digger says:

    Thanks for the mention! The USAID blog is http://leesonthego.blogspot.com.
    And the beer was just about being neighborly!

    March 25, 2010 at 9:51 am

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