A diplomat, or envoy, represents her country worldwide in a variety of positions and capacities. She is expected to be diplomatic and maintain the utmost poise and decorum at all times. Much of the job involves international travel and interaction with foreign dignitaries, as well as assisting citizens of her own country visiting foreign countries, refugees and foreigners seeking sanctuary. All of this is done in the context of positively characterizing and defending her country’s political and social positions. She must also report back to her country of origin on the political climate of the countries she visits.
Diplomats not only have to be up to date on international current affairs, but also be savvy at discussing potentially incendiary topics with everyone from world leaders to ordinary citizens. This position requires the ability to assist in the development of foreign policy based on personal observances and carefully scrutinized political climates. Envoys regularly negotiate treaties and agreements that affect international relations.
Although no two people in this job have the same workday, some duties are common to all of them. They spend a lot of time in meetings, some dealing with local issues and others that may affect world peace. Every meeting, regardless of its importance in the realm of international relations, must be reported upon and fully documented. They also commonly update foreign country leaders on trade policy changes and other issues that significantly affect world relations.
A career in this field can be exciting and rewarding, as it involves meeting intelligent and intriguing people from many cultures and lifestyles. It can, however, be stressful. Since envoys typically travel about 50% of the time, exhaustion is a common complaint, as is yearning for the company of friends and family and craving favorite foods from home. Contributing to harmony among nations is rewarding, but can often pale in comparison to the strain of feelings of loneliness and alienation.
Based on the intensity of the position and the required knowledge and education, landing a job as a diplomat is a challenge. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in international relations, political science or a related field is a good start, but being fluent in at least two languages is almost always a prerequisite. Extensive personality and character tests are often part of the screening process, as an individual can rarely anticipate the situation on the horizon and must be counted on for stability, discretion and integrity.
A diplomat has little down time; she must always be ready to step forward with confidence and charm regardless of her opinions or feelings. Working well under pressure and meeting constantly changing deadlines regardless of the environment are requirements. Most importantly, a love of adventure, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures must be a large part of the person’s personality.