Great Places To WorkThis article, written by Lisa Daniel, was originally published in the November 2003 issue of the Washingtonian Magazine.
Government Agencies Not Only Offer Good Benefits and Job Security, But They Also Give You Opportunities You Can't Find Elsewhere.
There are lots of reasons to work for the federal government: good insurance, a stable retirement, and a commitment to hiring and promoting women, minorities, and people with disabilities. Many agencies offer on-site childcare and flexible work arrangements. Those are the reasons your parents would give you.
The real reason to join the 286,000 federal employees in the Washington area is for the jobs you can't do anywhere else. You can be a spy, a national park police officer, or an airline crash investigator. It is one of the few places you can have an exciting career in 40-hour workweeks.
We all know the government's weaknesses: the bureaucracy, the never-get-rich factor. But for better-than-average pay and benefits, job security, and great missions, these are our favorites:
Every day, employees at Peace Corps headquarters are reminded of the agency's work in helping people. Walls, ceilings, and cubicles display art and crafts from the far reaches of the globe where volunteers, many of whom are now employees, have served. Clocks show local times of those countries, and a main hallway is lined with pictures of supporters and volunteers.
"I'm surrounded by people with a sincere dedication for what we do," says Leslie Stewart, a former volunteer in Senegal and Mauritania.
And where else can you work with people who can speak multiple languages from the earth's most exotic places?
Although the focus is about working for the greater good, there are perks for employees. Headquarters is in an upscale building in DC's business district, and benefits include flexible work arrangements.
Morale stays high with bipartisan support extending back to when President Kennedy established the Peace Corps 42 years ago. Congress approved a record budget for the agency this year. President Bush has called for the Peace Corps to double its volunteers within five years.
An agency policy that forces new blood by capping employment at five years helps prevent worker burnout and apathy.
"The most rewarding aspect of my job is the reaction upon the faces of people when I tell them I work for Peace Corps," says Leslie Johnson, an executive assistant. "It is a look of appreciation and respect."