This is how we buy stuff…

The past two weeks of training has been surprisingly interesting and almost fun.  The management training folks really do a great job making horribly dull material, like the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM), the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), and the Department Of State Acquisition Requirements (DOSAR), seem less dull.  I spend my mornings listening to speakers from other federal agencies explain how to buy stuff for them at post.  

A woman from the Medical explained the importance of clarifying with the health unit exactly which epinephrine injector post actually needs:

This is my nightmare

This is also my nightmare

Our afternoons are spent learning the ins and outs of the FAR and DOSAR, and how or when we can get exemptions.  If we need just one box of computer paper to hold us over until an overseas shipment arrives, can we buy it on the local market?  Does it still have to contain 30% recycled content?  20%?  Fascinating!  Am I right?! 

My favorite part of class is practicing filling purchase requests.  The goals are to 1) purchase the correct item, 2) purchase it legally, 3) have the item to the customer on time and on budget.  It’s like being paid to be an online shopper.  I was born for this!  If only I was buying shoes instead of printer toner…

While I never dreamed of being a General Services Officer, I’m beginning to think the next two years won’t be all that bad!  And even if I don’t fall in love with the work, at least we’ll be on a tropical island.




3 thoughts on “This is how we buy stuff…

  1. Did the R’s in FAR and DOSAR really have to stand for two different things? 🙂 Glad to hear things are going well.

    • haha, I just looked it up and they are actually both “Regulations”. Whoops! I don’t think I’ve ever actually said the words, just the acronym. Now I secretly wish they did stand for two different words though!

  2. I’ve been working for State for a year now and still can’t remember how to order things I need. I’m always running to someone to ask if I can buy such-and-such a thing locally or if I can order from Amazon or if I need to wade through catalogs with GSO. 🙂

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