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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Well, back to reality

Feeling that I was nearing the end of my timeline, I decided to reach out to the Placement Office and see if I could gain any further information as to when I might receive an invitation. I came to this decision point because my file had been deemed complete and it had been referred on to the PC Placement Officer over a week ago and, according to PC Wiki, it is now less than 6 weeks until the Staging date for my nominated region of service.

Sending the Placement Assistant a polite email seemed like a good thing to do since some others with RAS had written to PC during their wait and I had previously done so myself when my medical packet was being reviewed. I figured a pleasant email might trigger the PC PO to put some consideration toward my file, especially if I indicated that my motivation for writing was because I had read of other applicants having received invitation to the region I am nominated for and that region has a staging date already appearing in PC Wiki.

I sent a polite email the the PC PO Assistant who had previously sent me the news that my file was being forwarded to a Placement Officer and went back to my comfortable life withing the wishful thinking that I will receive an invitation rather quickly.

Well, I found myself back in reality before I could fantasize about it any further. The response came quickly and curtly:


"Let me start out by mentioning that the online blogs are a collection of hear-say from other volunteers who often do not have the full picture and often speculate much on what goes on in our office . . . You have been nominated to one of several programs . . . , many of them are full, some of them are not . . . This is a long process, and your patience during it is not only appreciated, but indicative of your future success as a volunteer . . ."

Has my effort backfired? Am I now going to receive less consideration because my inquiry will be seen as indicative that I do not possess the degree of patience that PC expects?

I am once again waiting patiently as I watch the calendar move from the 6th week to the 5th week before what PC Wiki has listed as a staging date for my nominated region? (Can I even think about information in PC Wiki?)

Take this posting with the proverbial grain of salt. But for me, I realize that greater PMA is called for now more than ever before.

Continued best wishes to everyone during your wait.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

OKAY! Now I get to the next level of anxiety.

Immediately after the email from the Placement and Assessment Assistant last Monday, I sent an email to my former boss, the CFO of the agency I had worked at, and asked to have the request from the Peace Corps fulfilled.
I had not heard anything from either my former boss, or the PC since then, so I wrote to the P&A Assistant asking if we could move ahead in the interim, or what else I could do.
She answered me within about two hours and it was 6PM. Her response surprised me. She said that immediately before receiving my inquiry, she had received the information she requested I get from my former boss (!). She added that she has referred my file on to a Placement Officer and that I am still being considered for the programs I was nominated for and they are scheduled to leave between January and March. She told me to expect to hear from someone "within the next few weeks, if not sooner."
Well, Hooray! - - -
I am now at a higher level of RAS complicated with increased IAA.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inch by inch

Just when the end of my RAS appeared to be within sight, Murphy elected to apply his law.
On the basis of my recent communication from PC I have been expecting to get called by a Placement Officer this week.
Insread, I received an email from a Placement and Assessment Assistant. She informed me that she was conducting a preliminary review of my file. She said that she had received three references and while two are determined to be "excellent," however, the one from my most recent employer was lacking some comments in the spaces provided.
Awkward - - - My most recent employer eliminated my position in a reorganization of the agency.
So, I decided to just grin and bear it. I sent an email to the CFO at the agency along with a copy of the message from the Placement and Assessment Specialist and asked for the favor of adding some comments to the reference.
I informed the P & A Specialist and she not only thanked me for doing so promptly, but she also volunteered that I am still being considered for my original nomination and there is still plenty of time available for me to get invited as planned. She also cautioned me to not get too excitied by information in PC Wiki. She said what most of us already know; that it is based on hear-say.
So, for now, it is back to the Wait and the RAS.
Lesson learned today? When completing any bureaucratic form, be certain to put something (anything) in every available space.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I don't understand it, but I'm certainly going to celebrate it.

Another 5AM email advising me that my PC Toolkit has been updated.

I immediately opened my Toolkit and saw that the ominous Legal HOLD has been removed. I have no idea what that hold was about. Some others have told me that it happens to many applicants. I'll simply accept it while moving forward. Everything is now complete and the Status section indicates that "[my] file is currently under consideration"! Confirmation that my nurse reviewer gave me spot-on early inside information. Her tip gave me reason to feel more positive. This news cemented the feelings. I avoided anxiety yesterday by spending my available time reformatting my resume so as to be ready for the contact from Placement. Nothing to do right now but await that all important contact some time next week.

Later this same day, I received snail mail from PC/OMS. I "have been medically qualified for service and the Office of Placement notified." (Now, should I change the title of this posting? Nah, I'll just celebrate instead)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ya gotta connect.

It appears that some of my previous attempts to make a genuine personal connection with my nurse reviewer have been successful. During our previous exchanges I tried to understand the long application process by asking several questions in each exchange about her PC application process experiences and doing some reflective listening and adding follow-up exploratory questions. (I suppose a career of individual & family interviewing and organizational consultation experiences have enabled me to be a true listener).

I woke to an email message from my nurse reviewer sent at 7:48AM this morning (totally unsolicited) - - -

"I’m hearing you are up for next week review, don’t buy any green bananas."

It had the appearance of a "Pssst" and was a wonderful gift of inside information and the humor goes a long way toward balancing out all of that RAS. Well, the wait continues, but the IAA has now taken on a rising degree of positive excitement.

Timeline updated.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

RAS spiked, but is diminishing - - - - - IAA now rising

Well, was I ever wrong.
I thought that I had my RAS in check and was being positive and appropriately patient. However, I found myself beginning to 'over-think' the new development in my PC Toolkit (refer to previous blog).

The specific wording in my Toolkit began to play over and over in my mind and I found myself thinking, "They didn't say that I was medically cleared. They said 'A decision has been reached . . . Please look for a letter in the mail.' " The subtle difference became a big thing in my mind and it could only be explained by concluding that I was not cleared and the awful news was being mailed to me.

Before I would allow myself to despair, I emailed my nurse reviewer and asked some clarifying questions.

Lo, and behold! She responded within the hour. She clearly stated that I am medically cleared and she was pushing my questions/concerns on "to Placement."
This brings me to the point of explaining the title of this blog. My RAS spiked sharply due to my over-thinking incomplete information, but it was quickly soothed by the merciful nurse reviewer. She is a RPCV who, like me, entered PC after years in a career and perhaps she has a special reason for helping me.
Now, I am experiencing something new - - - IAA.
Just what the Peace Corps needs; another acronym (!).
I am calling this new emotional state 'Invitation Anticipation Anxiety."
Someday IAA will appear in the DSM along with, but distinctly different from RAS.

Lessons learned:
1) Do NOT over-think anything.
2) Do not be reluctant to reach out and ask PC to clarify things for you.
3) Maintain PMA and remain patient.

Yikes! Good, but confusing news

Another 5AM email was received this morning.

This time it was the same cryptic message as the previous one - - - "Peace Corps has updated your Application Status account."
My immediate check of my PC Toolkit revealed that my medical documentation is now:

"Complete. A decision has been reached regarding your medical review. Please look for a letter in the mail."

But, wait, my Toolkit also still has that puzzling Legal HOLD in those ominous bold red capital letters.
("Your legal eligibility to serve in the Peace Corps is currently under review.") My legal eligibility to serve is under review, yet they are sending me mail about my medical clearance?

Alas, feeling good but can't shake the anxiety and still have to wait. Maybe the USPS will deliver an answer, or at least a clue. Maybe (!)

Must maintain a positive mental attitude and resume being patient.