Tuesday, December 06, 2011


Life can be kind of funny. About a week after I started my present job, I got a letter from the UN inviting me to take a test for its Young Professionals Program in the area of public information. If you had asked me what I wanted to do after I got my Master's, my standard answer was "to work for the UN."  Here was my chance to do public diplomacy for the UN; yet here I am invited to take a test to allow me into the UN and I am not taking it.

 It was a hard decision, but I decided ultimately it wasn't where I saw as the direction my career path leading. The job would have kept me tied to the practitioner's side of public diplomacy, whereas I think my future is more on the academic side.  Meanwhile, if I got the job, it would have some serious effects on my present project and future plans.  Furthermore, I have had some recent glimpses with hulking bureaucracy, and I don't think I want to tangle with one as massive as the UN.

I had decided I wasn't going to take the test, but was vacillating back-and-forth about the decision. Here I was presented with an opportunity to accomplish something I previously thought that I wanted, only to watch it pass by from afar. I just kept wondering if I would regret not taking the test, as I always find that I regret more the things I didn't do than the things I did.

Ultimately, I did enough homework into the background of the test and found out it was really for an entry-level position. Thanks UN, but I am not starting at the bottom of your byzantine labyrinth, I will just have find another way into the halls of Turtle Bay.

 PS: The title of the blog comes from the Ben Gurion's famous dismissal of the international body. After a one-sided resolution, Ben Gurion reportedly said "um-shmoom." "Um" is the pronunciation of the UN in hebew, "shmoom" means "nothing."

PPS: I have a funny story about my friend Beth Meshel storming the UNGA for anyone interested.


Leslie S. said...

A tough decision, but it sounds like you made the right one. Congratulations on getting the invitation, even if it was for an entry level position...

Paul Rockower said...

Thanks Leslie, I think I did.