Even if you have a better idea of your vision of development and your personal service vision and have some inkling of where you want to work, reality may also be nagging at you saying, “These are my ideals. How will it really work?” In a perfect world, you could jump right in to pursuing your vision in the organization of your choice. Realistically, the field of international public service, like many professions, can be a difficult one to break into and move through. You can't always start out with what you want, where you want. You also have to consider what you can do and where. This doesn't mean you take the first opportunity and let yourself be derailed from your initial vision. We encourage you to look strategically at your career, and each step along its path, in a bigger picture and a longer time frame. Being strategic doesn't mean you can figure everything out ahead of time. It means acting on the information you have in hand, but being mindful of a larger goal, not just the immediate choice you're faced with.
You have your ideal vision, or hopefully some basic core components of it, but what can you do and learn along the way that will help you to be most effective in achieving it in the longer run? In Chapter 6 we discussed a broad array of skills. No one starts out possessing them all and, as we noted, many of these will necessarily be gained on the job. So as you consider your options, you should always keep in mind, “What do I need to learn next?”
We've explored each of the service-choice spiral components. In this chapter, we'll look at how you move along the spiral and progress in your career. We'll pay particular attention to the most challenging transitions in an international public service career. Some of these depend on the choices you make with respect to where to work, for example, transitioning from domestic to international work, or from the headquarters to the field. Others are more general features of the international public service career path, for example, getting the first job, moving beyond the first job, and,