The government loves acronyms

PCV1:  Dude, have you checked out the PCTs?

PCV2:  Yeah man, that one SOCD? I mean, SCD now – Rockin’.

PCV1:  Which one?

PCV2:  The one with the crazy LCF.

PCV1:  Eh, the SCD’s ok – the HE’s better.

PCV2:  Too bad we’re not PCVTs…

PCV1:  Hey, did you get your SPA?

PCV2:  No. Stupid SPA rep’s got it out for me.

PCV1:  You should just do a PCPP – a lot easier, you know.

PCV2:  I might throw it at VAST and see what happens. Oh! Did you hear who ET’d?

PCV1:  No!

PCV2:  That K-20 who didn’t send BAS to the DO and the SSC flipped out. The CD started AS but she didn’t want to deal.

PCV1:  VAC should say something.

PCV2:  You going to see your PM at PST?

PCV1:  Naw, I still haven’t done the VRF… But I might have to see the PCMC for some Cipro. I popped ‘em all last week.

PCV2:  Rough, man.

Was this a Peace Corps conversation? Or secret code in some shadier dealing?

If you’re in the application process to become a volunteer, you’ve probably already run into some of these abbreviations. Many of the Peace Corps publications include a list of acronyms or initialisms on the opening page so you’re not lost after the first sentence. There was even a special session during our Pre-Service Training explaining some of the more common ones. I was like, “If we have to spend all this time sorting out abbreviations, is shortening our phrases actually saving us any time?” The inevitable “huh?” that comes up in these conversations coupled with the explanation can end up taking several times longer than just saying the original phrase.

imageThis message is going in the T-R-A-S-H

And then there are the conversations that get sidetracked because no one really knows what the acronym stands for.

“Hey, the PCMO—”

“No, she’s the PCMC now.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don’t know…Peace Corps Manager of Care?”

“No dude, the M still means Medical. I think she’s a Choreographer or something.”

“That doesn’t even make any sense.”

So far in my volunteer service for the government I’ve learned enough acronyms to fill a pallet of alphabet soup. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if I learned the government has a federal bureau of abbreviations. Or in their love language, the FBA.

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