Friday, September 25, 2009

A Potential for Awkwardness

This morning I had class and then stopped by UNHCR to finish a project for about two hours. While walking back, I decided to stop by the offices of Independent Diplomat.

Independent Diplomat is this awesome organization that employs ex-diplomats, international lawyers and the like to help unrecognized countries, semi-autonomous regions, opposition parties and other groups with little to no diplomatic infrastructure to navigate international diplomacy. ID played a role in helping Kosovo work with foreign governments before it was internationally recognized as a sovereign state. They currently work with the government of Southern Sudan, Western Sahara and Somoliland to name a few. When I first found out about the organization back in June or May, I got super excited, checked out the book by their founder, Carne Ross, and read it in one sitting. I subsequently applied for a fall internship there and had an interview but was not selected.

Fast forward to today, when I decided to go check out ID's offices and maybe say hi to the woman who interviewed me (she was very interesting to talk to). It didn't even cross my mind that it might be a tiny bit awkward to visit, uninvited, the offices of an organization that decided not to select me for a job. That possibility came crashing down on me as I told the receptionist who I was and who I wanted to see, "Well, um... I applied for an internship here over the summer, and... well, I wanted to come check out the offices. What was that? Oh, no, I won't be starting here... I wasn't selected."

Out came a young woman who looked worried that she had an ex-intern candidate that was about to go postal on her whole office. It was kind of awkward town.

Things worked out, however, and I got a chance to chat with that woman (who turned out to be the same one who had interviewed me). It was a pretty cool experience to learn about their organization a bit more over a cup of tea (I burned my tongue a bit). I even found out that their Washington staff will be attending the Nansen Award ceremony that my UNHCR regional office is putting on. I left feeling not-so-awkward and I think I'm glad that I went to go check out Independent Diplomat. What they do is still intensely interesting and I like to keep up with what they're up to.

So stopping by was a motivated, proactive thing to do, not awkward at all.

Right?