Federal Government Jobs

Helping job hunters find, apply for, and land government jobs

A Career Mindset

How can we look to history to help guide us on how we approach our professional career, now? In a world of uncertainty, complexity and confusion, how can we remain steadfast in what it is that ‘we’ want to do…how will we contribute to society while satisfying our own needs. How can we obtain the skills, knowledge and abilities to poise ourselves to make good, sound decisions when it comes to our career and professional training, etc?  These are questions that can be answered if we look to our ancestors…how did they do it? How did they become satisfied in their careers; should we do what we love, first, and figure out how to get paid for it?

With many professionals today looking for career growth in a technologically changing world, how are they to do it, like their mothers and fathers did, and ensure sustainment and happiness? Currently, many folks feel that a year in one job is ‘too long’….which, in reality, isn’t a long time, but sometimes it just feels that way. Managers, then, are a key component to job satisfaction; they need to ensure they are mentoring and assisting employees with their wants, needs, desires, while equally assessing and enhancing their knowledge, skills, and abilities to do so. Given this scenario, the employee too, needs to determine what their particular ‘success’ looks like; money is not a motivator for everyone so the worst thing you can do is base success on how much you make. Instead, each individual needs to determine, on their own, what satisfaction is for them, and then success will follow. Maybe you are looking for more time off with your family or an opportunity to go back to school or do some traveling with your company…whatever it is, this is what your approach should be, instead of chasing the dollars. A job that maybe doesn’t pay as well as you’d like, but offers a great work/life balance with good benefits and opportunities to advance is maybe what you really want.

Being independent and focusing on the contributions you will make to the company will bring forth collaboration and goal setting with your manager. Your willingness to be happy in the moment and commit to the “now” will showcase your satisfaction to your leadership; it’s not that you don’t want to advance, of course you do, and you will…but you need to take a stoic stand at some point and ‘enjoy’ your success, regardless of where you are. By realizing that you are in between the current and desired state is a necessary part of moving forward; many of us don’t do this. Instead, we are constantly looking for more…more ways to change, more things to do, more ways to increase salary, etc.; relax….it’ll come. The key to remaining steadfast in a crazy and changing world is to stay calm; make contributions to society and to your position, take an interest in yourself, enjoy the happy. It’s okay to embark on professional development, training, etc. to better yourself…you are working on your desired state, just be sure that you leave some time to realize where you are and what you have achieved, thus far. In order to love what you do, you have to give yourself time to enjoy what you have accomplished…it’s okay, you will get to the next goal…and its okay to take your time.


Career Planning Tools 

The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

About The Author

Dr. Donna Day is a Manager at the Department of Defense, where she has been for more than 30 years. With a background in Information Assurance, Customer Engagement and Marketing, more recently she has been studying Cyber security Policy and Management at the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC). She earned her Doctor of Management, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Science Degree in Technology Management at UMUC and received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing at the University of Baltimore. Dr. Day is also an Adjunct Professor at Norwich University in Vermont, where she teaches Cyber security, Critical Infrastructure and Information Assurance courses to a myriad of students, worldwide, from across the intelligence community. A published author, Baltimore Ravens fan, and life-long learner, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking, and most importantly, spending time with her family and friends.