By a DOS Diplomatic Technology Officer

I flew into Jakarta to help with a huge office move to a new Embassy compound. We had a week to move over 1,000 workstations, hundreds of printers, dozens of servers, and switches from 7 annex buildings into an 11 story Embassy without interruption of operations. This was a monumental effort as Mission Jakarta is the fifth largest in the Department of State.

Tragically, during the office move, a powerful earthquake hit off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Switching focus to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the tsunami-affected areas, I issued satellite phones and trained aid workers on their use. These devices were crucial in directing military aid efforts to the areas with power outages and communication disruptions. With communication capabilities, responders were able to coordinate nearly 63 metric tons of relief supplies to Central Sulawesi Province, along with transporting USAID’s disaster team and nearly 80 other aid workers.

Afterward, I immediately shifted my attention back to the office move. We completed the move on time, allowing my colleagues to work on modern, secure IT systems.

Foreign Service work often presents challenges that require you to quickly adapt and manage priorities. It’s incredibly rewarding work that can literally save lives. That’s not something you can say about most IT work.