A correspondent has noted, regarding Madam's most recent complaint about persistent, shocking and insulting delays in NIV interview appointments, that in a few selected posts "we seem to be doing better." Madam can't help but ask in return, "Better than what, please?"
In how many country team meetings does the consular chief mention, usually with a game but apologetic smile, the pressures and difficulties facing the line officers, the overtime they work (or, more usually, do not work), and the constant calls and emails begging for earlier appointments? Everyone utters an embarrassed sigh, shuffles a paper or two, and the talk passes on. Sometimes some poor clueless first-tour officer is given the task of somehow 'fixing' the problem and, while his/her ingenuity and energy can then figure into flattering comments in an annual performance review, s/he ends up leaving the post no better than it was when s/he arrived, and often even worse. More often, an appointment system imposed from outside is the favorite culprit: easy to blame Washington, no further details needed. And as for the problems of touts, of appointment selling and other misbehavior, not a peep except, again, that sigh of resignation.
Pardon Madam if she observes that the smiles, sighs and shufflings remind her far too much of the most popular girl at the prom complaining that her dance card is already full, and what is the poor modest child to do?
Well, how about taking her responsibilities seriously, pulling up her big-girl socks, STFU-ing about how she didn't spend X years in college to "sit on the visa line," opening her weary eyes to the wonderful opportunities presented by meeting a hundred or more 'locals' every day, and doing the work she's being paid to do which is, at its heart of hearts, issuing visas to bona fide nonimmigrants promptly, courteously, and through a process devoid of flimflam, bribery, theft, touts, thugs, travel agents, and the general tackiness that makes us look stupid, ridiculous, hateful, uncaring and incompetent? And if the post's appointment system gets in the way of that work, it must be tweaked, fixed, or trashed and replaced by one that works properly. Today. Period. And no, that is not impossible. And yes, it can be done. Madam did it more than once, and if she can do it, so can anyone.