As I have been advertising this week, today marked my last day at DevTech. Looking back I have learned more than I ever thought possible as a member of the Economic Analysis and Data Services team. Somethings will certainly help with my new role in USAID and some are life lessons that will help with employment for life.
Yesterday afternoon, the folks at DevTech threw a mini happy hour in celebration of Andrew and my new adventures. It was beneficial because Andrew was able to chat with a couple former former Foreign Service officers about postings and opportunities for spouses. Of course that means he also had to sit through a couple John Gold stories, but there is always a lesson from those. Additionally, I was reminded that when bidding and researching postings, that it is just as important to focus on the current staff at a posting as the posting itself. I do not think I would have normally considered that, but it is the people who change you, not always the places.
This point goes along with what I was saying about learning things. The development field is really all about learning from whatever teacher you can meet and has got me thinking about my influences. I have been asked a lot recently, why are you so set on working on international development, and it is because of these people.
As I always have said my first and foremost influence when deciding to work in development was my mother. Though she doesn't work internationally or in any form of economics, she has always always put the well being of others first. Whether that was through her work with at risk students or her patience with kids new to the country, her priority has always been the improvement for her students. I have told her several times, having a mom who works with the students who really need the help, influenced me at the youngest age.
Once I decided I wanted to help people, picking such a grandiose scale probably was influenced by my dad, who always taught me, if you are going to do something, do it right and on a large scale.
From there my influences are more generic. My Money and Banking professor in college who really believed I could be an economist and my Anthropology professor who did his best to teach me to think NOT like and economist but as a human. Though at the time I was annoyed, in the long run I learned a lot.
In graduate school, my trip to Niger was a turning point. I knew I wanted to do international development, but as a Jewish-American Princess from TX, I was concerned I wouldn't be able to "rough it." That trip taught me, I can, in fact, use a squat toilet and eat goat straight off the fire. Additionally, I got the meet the people being affected by USAID and Peace Corps projects. Despite the negative US assumption, everyone I met was positive and happy and welcomed us with open arms.
Finally, though I knew I wanted to work at USAID, I knew NOTHING about USAID and US's commitment to international development. The staff and projects at DevTech taught me about the internal dynamics of the agency and the patience needed to work in the field. International development is not a quick moving, high energy sector, but the folks who work on it are committed.
Andrew and I are headed to KEY WEST for a week, and since this blog is called the Dubinskys' Travels we will most likely post some photos of the view from Mom & Dad's beach :)