Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You'll get it, or you won't

Andrew was nominated to compete for a spot in the 2012 PMF program. It's a government program so it's a mysterious acronym, of course, and many of our friends and family have been wondering what it stands for since we've been talking about it a bit.

"The Pretty Magnificent Fella award?" guessed Aunt Nicki.

Our friend Cristina sent a message to congratulate Andrew "on that acronym thingy."

My mom couldn't remember if it was the PMF, the CRS, the GSA, the NSA, the FSO or what.

I can't really blame her—he's tried for all of those acronyms at one point in time or another and keeping them all straight can make your brain dizzy.

It's funny how our life has thrown us around—we're certainly meandering.

When Andrew was getting ready to graduate from BYU—you know, the first time—we were looking at working for the government. He applied for an internship with the NSA (and we also looked into the CIA and the FBI and the DOD and any other department that might be looking for a recently graduated Arabic speaker) but then we decided not to finish with the selection process and instead went to graduate school. When Andrew was getting ready to graduate from AUC we were looking at going into a PhD program. We all know how that turned out (it didn't turn out, that's how...just in case you were wondering). It was painful and difficult to hang that dream on a hook and walk away but life was so obviously taking us in a different direction.

So here we are, getting ready to graduate from BYU yet again.

We have no doubt in our minds that we were supposed to come back to BYU for Andrew to get his MPA degree. Did I ever tell you that he only got a half scholarship for his first year and we weren't really sure how we'd pay the rest of his tuition? We came home from Egypt with enough money to pay for his first semester. After we paid that, though, we were 100% broke. But then I got a job and worked that job day in and day out for five months and when we went to pay tuition in December we found that I had earned almost exactly what we owed for the next semester's tuition. It was a miracle!

And then I worked that job for several more months, earning enough money to buy a plane ticket for Andrew to go to Ghana—tuition for the summer was taken care of by a generous donor who I will never be able to thank enough—and for textbooks and other miscellaneous school expenses.

And then we found out Andrew got a full scholarship for this school year. A couple of months later—right as summer was ending—my position was dissolved. It's been nice not having to work but it was also nice to have that income. Andrew's a TA this semester, though, and it was almost as if the Lord was telling us that I didn't need to work anymore—he'd provided us a way to pay for tuition and once we did that it was time to focus my energy elsewhere. Or something.

Getting into BYU again was a series of miracles and everything happened so quickly that we still weren't quite sure what we were doing when we arrived here. Now graduation is almost upon us—relatively speaking...I mean, we only have six months left—and we're just as unsure about where we'll be going as how it is we got here in the first place.

Further studies are taunting us—that PhD beckons to us from its dusty hook in the closet upon occasion—but for now we've decided to try out the waters of full-time employment. They look warm and inviting compared to the frigid white-water rapids of school that have been jostling us about for the past five years.

And so it is that we decided to try out for the PMF program. What is the PMF program? I'll tell you—unless you were impatient and already looked it up yourself. PMF stands for Presidential Management Fellows—it's a "flagship leadership development program" for students graduating with advanced degrees, "ultimately...leading to a career in the government."

There's a whole rigmarole to go through before we know if he gets a slot though. First he had to apply and then be nominated. Next up testing and interviews. And finally, if you got through the first four steps, a "career fair" where you interview with specific departments and hopefully get placed somewhere.

Andrew's completed the first three steps. He took the test last Wednesday—now we just have to sit back, relax, and wait for the results. We won't be notified until November 1st. We're already going stir-crazy. So apparently we're not so good at the relaxing part.

A couple of nights ago he was fretting about his test score so to help calm his nerves I pulled out the old que sera, sera card. "Hey," I said, "Either you'll get the PMF position, or you won't. No big deal."

"That was deep," he smirked. "If I get it, I get it. If I don't, I won't."

"Exactly," I said.

We aren't planning on putting all our eggs in one basket so it isn't like this is the only thing he'll be applying for. He's already applied for numerous other jobs even though it's a little early in the game to be vigorously job-hunting. We'd love to be a PMF, but if we don't get in we have other plans hatching (but just in case some PMF-selection person reads this: PMF is Plan A and my husband's really, really great!).

Anyway, would you believe I told you all that other stuff just to complain that ever since I told Andrew that he's been teasing me non-stop!?

"I need to do laundry," I'll say.

"Well, sometimes you need to do laundry...and sometimes you don't!"

"My computer's going slow."

"Well, sometimes your computer goes slow...and sometimes it doesn't!"

"It's cold today."

"Well, sometimes it's cold...and sometimes it's not!"

You get the picture, right?

Well, sometimes you get the picture...and sometimes you don't!


  1. I loved reading this post Nancy! It's so nice to be able to look back on life and realize that the Lord really is in control and he puts things in our life for our good, but also sometimes for our growth and development. You are a good and devoted wife to support Andrew the way you do. He is lucky to have you! Congrats on the upcoming graduation. You guys are gonna have enough diplomas between the two of you to wallpaper a wall in your first home. :) And good luck on the PMF path.
    Also, I loved your schooling/employment metaphor. I hope calmer waters are on your horizon!

  2. PMF means Pacific Music Festival to me = Orchestra program in Japan for young professionals. Just thought you should know :)