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Diplomat Now here is one of the most misunderstood careers in the world. Think diplomats spend all their time attending black tie dinners full of cigar-smoking cronies? Or that they spend their nights holed up at fancy hotel bars drinking Scotch on the rocks? Or maybe they work really hard to ensure relationships between nations are the best they can be? Read on and you’ll find out if the life of a diplomat is all it’s cracked up to be, and whether it’s for you. Working on everything from promoting international trade to talking about human rights issues, diplomats work on behalf of their home nation to solidify relationships with the country where they’re stationed. Diplomats can end up working anywhere from Paris to Phnom Penh, and while Hollywood would have you believe that all diplomats enjoy luxury hotel stays and access to exclusive events, the reality is somewhat different. Working in offices and embassies all over the world, diplomats spend most of their time attending meetings with key figures, from local government representatives to heads of NGOs (nongovernment organisations). Completing reports, emailing contacts and filing updates are large parts of the role so writing skills are essential. Developing strong relationships with locals is a significant component, therefore verbal communication skills are paramount, as is having a good understanding of cultural sensitivity and having … uhh … diplomacy. Working out of hours is very common, as attending events and being on-call to respond to ad hoc things like natural disasters is necessary. Travel is central to this career, so you’d want to be cool with learning other languages, accepting cultures and customs not your own, and spending a ridiculous amount of time in airport security lines and baggage carousels. If all of that sounds too overwhelming

then drop this career idea like a hot potato, as being patient and calm is crucial. Diplomatic disasters can have far-reaching consequences so if you’re prone to putting your foot in it or angering quickly, then think about following another path (please … for the sake of the world). While quite demanding, the payoffs of this career are plenty – there’s the top salary and good benefits, the chance to meet new people, the opportunity to live and work in a variety of places and influence political, economic and social agendas. You also don’t need to let your friends know about the more mundane parts of the job, such as filing reports on the local sanitation system – just let them think you’re an international woman or man of mystery, then spin some tall stories when you come home for Christmas.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: Studies in public administration, international development and foreign languages are usually required. The expectations and requirements are different depending on which country you represent. Experience required: Experience travelling and working in government agencies is helpful. Even experience working at NGOs overseas in a voluntary capacity is helpful. Training: Most government agencies have their own in-house training program that normally runs for many weeks. Restrictions: As a government role, criminal record and security checks apply.

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NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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