Subject: Iraq Volunteers NeededThe office erupted into chatter along these lines:
Employees interested in helping the Iraqi people to govern themselves and rebuild their economy may soon have an opportunity. The State Department is seeking motivated, permanent Federal employees from around the government to serve our nation at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad for one-year terms.
[The Department] is planning a presentation by State Department representatives for later this month, which will provide details on positions available, benefits of serving, and what life is like today in Iraq. [The Department] will also present an Iraq Service Recognition Package that will list additional compensation benefits.
If you have an interest in learning more about this opportunity and commitment, please notify [Jane Doe], Office of Administration, by Thursday April 13, at [email], [telephone].
This is a unique opportunity to serve our country and to help shape a free, more secure and prosperous Iraq. There are few such opportunities in life to make a lasting impact and contribution to history. We encourage you to consider this exciting opportunity.
"What are they thinking?"
"Are they nuts?"
"Why would they want people from our department to go to Iraq?"
"Is this an alternative to RIFing?" (RIF=Reduction in Force.)
"That would be one way to get rid of our department." (Republicans hate us.)
My office buddy, TR, and I, and I had a somewhat longer discussion. I said, "So, are you going?"
"I already signed up." TR said. He continued, "They need people like us there to help do administrative jobs."
"I suppose we could help with contract management. That's our only transferable skill. But what would we be doing running the government of Iraq?"
"Well, we're putting a lot of money into the country. You could do some good there."
I said, "Sure. I'll get there and say, 'Ok everyone, start packing, we're going home.'"
Grateful for: the government.