The Young Man’s Tale

Once upon a time there was a Boy. His parents thought he might never grow up. But, one day, he decided he was ready to become a Young Man.

He wanted a summer job, you see. He had Goals. He wanted to go to college. He knew that he would have to earn some money to help make this possible.

This Young Man lived in Vienna, and was unable to speak the local language fluently or work on the local economy. So, simply going around to ice cream shops or fast-food restaurants and asking if they were hiring, as normal Young Men do, was not an option. Unless, he traveled to the country of his birth, stayed with his grandparents, and worked there, which was briefly considered.

The Young Man’s father worked for a very large government agency which offered a summer jobs program designed specifically for people in this situation. Young Men and Women could apply for various jobs at post and live with their parents while gaining work experience and making money. As is traditional–some might say essential–for Young Men and Women in their own country.

And so, the Young Man decided to stay at post, and began filling out a special application form for this program. This form, known as e-Quip, is approximately 97 times longer and more complicated than the average summer job application. The Young Man began to wonder if he would ever finish it.

But his parents told him: it will be worth it so that you can have a job. And so, he persisted.

After the form was received by the large government agency, the Young Man was called to come in for a security interview. He wondered why such a thing would be needed in order to work in a warehouse.

His parents told him: it will be worth it so that you can have a job. And so, even though the interview included “some really weird questions,” he persisted.

Finally, the first day of work arrived. The Young Man was told to arrive at the warehouse on a certain day and at a certain time, and he did. He was asked to assemble welcome kits, and he did. For two days, he worked, and was so proud of himself.

Then, on the third day, The Young Man called the embassy as instructed and asked for a time sheet so that he could record his labors.

He was told that he wasn’t yet “cleared” and to go home immediately. He was surprised and very disappointed. His parents had told him that the hours of form-filling and weird question-answering would be worth it so that he could have a job. And now, he had no job.

The Young Man asked: what is the point of all this security stuff if I can work for two days before anyone notices that I am not cleared?

His parents could not answer this question.

The Young Man asked: why do I need a security clearance to assemble welcome kits in a warehouse?

His parents could not answer this question.

The Young Man asked: will I be able to work again before we leave post in three weeks?

His parents could not that answer this question.

The Young Man asked: will I get paid for the two days that I worked in the warehouse?

His mother asked a very senior person in charge of the summer hire program at that embassy, and yet still could not answer this question. Or any of the other questions.

The Young Man, who could have been working in the States, is now playing many video games and wondering if working is always going to be this complicated.

His mother told him, no, in the Real World (and in fact, at most embassies) you would not need to answer weird questions and be “cleared” to work in a warehouse. But the State Department is special, you see. And Vienna, for some reason, is even more special. 

The Young Man has about decided that the State Department is way too special to ever work for again.

His parents are inclined to agree.


  1. it used to be so much easier. i am so old (and retired now 11 years) that i remember when my office was in a downtown street and people could actually walk right in and go to the library or make an appointment, or even – horror, horror – just stop in and chat with us. we actually got to know the countries we served in. but, alas, no longer. sometimes the buildings are not even in the city they are supposedly listed as serving…. same with summer jobs for dependent children. there was a time when the kids were hired with little trouble – can a teenager have a secret life as a double agent without their parents’ knowledge while living a cloistered life in an embassy housing compound?


  2. hahahahahahahahahaha…..HAHAHAHAHA…..This made me giggle and chuckle the whole way through it! I have filled out an e-Qip before and Oh. My. God. It is literally the security application from Hades. It took me 8 months to fill mine out….ok, so there was a lot of procrastination involved but still, I hardly think that anyone could fill their’s in faster, I mean really people, they want to know what your 3rd grade teacher thought of you that day you skipped class 20 years ago!?!?! Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating again, but not by much. Truly. The e-Qip is awful. I tip my hat to government and security efficiency if they made you go through all that and then asked you to start working before you were cleared and didn’t even notice. SMH….


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