Here’s what public servants want you to know about working for the federal government
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Here’s what public servants want you to know about working for the federal government

August 21, 2023

The federal government employs around 2 million full-time civilian workers. These employees provide a variety of critical services to the American public, from defending our national security to protecting public health and the environment.  

However, many Americans still view the federal government as an impersonal bureaucracy. The Partnership strives to change that perception by telling stories about the power of public service, working to rebuild trust in government and inspiring a new generation of public servants.  

We recently asked a group of federal employees to share one thing they wanted the public to know about public service. Here’s what they had to say.  

Disproving the myth 

According to our recent research, only about one-third of Americans say they trust the federal government.  

Yet many of the public servants we heard from want to connect with and help the people they serve. “We are all here to help others,” said Jean R. from the Food and Drug Administration. “We are not out to get you,” said Vanessa M. from the IRS. “We are everyday people trying assist you.”  

John T. from the Social Security Administration summed up this sentiment well: “Career public servants care about the mission of serving the American public!”  

Meaningful career opportunities  

Our government offers jobs in a range of disciplines, and working in federal service doesn’t always mean sitting in an office in Washington, D.C. “There are so many different jobs and experiences,” said Maxine M. from the Department of Health and Human Services.  

Public service can also provide significant professional development opportunities. “The government provides tons of opportunities for networking and professional development, whether its training in technical competency skills or soft skills like communication and leadership,” said Eric W. from the Federal Aviation Administration.  

“There are lots of ways to learn and grow personally and professionally while working in government,” said Patrice W. from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  

Gratifying work 

Several respondents highlighted the rewarding nature of their work. “You touch someone with your work each and every day,” said Alketa S. from the SSA. Gail G. from the Health Resources and Services Administration agreed, stating that she’s driven by her “care for the mission” and her goal of “making a difference.”  

Others emphasized the diversity of the federal workforce and the positive work environment. “People from all walks of life come together and work on behalf of the American people,” said Ashley A. from the Peace Corps.  

“The people you will work alongside are some of the smartest, most passionate, service-oriented people in the world. It’s an amazing environment,” said Doug F. from the Department of Commerce.  

If you would like to read more inspiring stories of public servants, subscribe to our Five Stories of Public Service newsletter here. To learn more about jumpstarting a career in the federal workforce, visit GoGovernment. 

Julia Kingston is a former intern in the Partnership’s communications team.

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