Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  The Government Can Be Here to Help: Getting Hired in the Public Sector

DON'T write off government jobs.
DO check out
DO realize that there is an agency for your specific skills.
DO make a contribution.

It's not just the Tea Party, these days it seems like everyone is bashing the government. But if you're looking for work, remember one thing, with almost 1.7 million workers, the government is by far and away our country's biggest employer. Which reminds me of when Craig Brown of Carleton, OR was driving his truck and smelled something funny. Instead of calling 911, he just drove a few extra blocks to the McMinnville Fire Station. Firefighters opened the hood and flames leaped out of the engine. Government workers quickly put out the fire. Later firefighters joked that they should start a drive-up window at the firehouse.

Those firefighters remind us of the valuable role that the government plays each day for all of us. Government employment often allows you to be a part of the solution, while addressing some of our countries biggest challenges. That's why I'm providing three Do's and one Don't for landing a government job. For more, check out "Recession Proof Careers" by Jeff Cohen (Alpha, 2010).

DON'T write off government jobs. Despite all of that bashing, there are a lot of areas where we rely on the government to do essential services each and every day; like the military, Transportation Safety Administration, teachers, police, many health care workers, environmental cleanup, etc. Yes, the government is often here to help. Sure the government has its fabled bureaucracy and chances are that you'll have to jump through a lot of hoops before you'll get hired. But this doesn't detract from the fact that many people have meaningful and rewarding jobs working for the government.

DO check out This is a big clearinghouse site for governmental jobs. But don't stop there. Also contact state and local government employment offices. And don't overlook that there are lots of quasi-governmental operations out there; utility districts, libraries, the list just goes on and on.

DO realize that there is an agency for your specific skills. The government literally is all things to all people. From public relations to public safety, no matter what skills you have there is probably a place where you can practice them working for a governmental entity.

DO make a contribution. I'm not a big believer in working doing a job you hate so that you can have "Miller time" at the end of the day and bury your sorrows in a glass of beer. I think it's much better to have a job where you feel like you make a contribution each day and many governmental jobs put you in this position. Tea party rhetoric aside, there are a lot of people who work for the government who have a direct impact on making our lives better. But don't make me defend the IRS, please note that I said "a lot of people," not every government worker.

Follow these tips and the government could light a fire under you, by showing you a great job that is a perfect fit for you and your values.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us."

–P.J. O`Rourke

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