FEBs talk back to Washington: Philadelphia

Monday - 8/8/2011, 2:01am EDT

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San Francisco


Lisa Makosewski
Philadelphia FEB Executive Director

What's the best part of working in your FEB area?

Philadelphia is rich in history! We have folks who work in or near historic buildings and walk in the footsteps of our founding fathers each day. Philadelphia is also a modern, vibrant city. We respect and honor our past, while building our future.

As to employment, there's lots of opportunity. With so many agencies here, there are jobs opening all the time, and it's a case of keeping your eyes open for what you want.

What is the biggest drawback of working in your FEB area?

We get high humidity in the summer, and enough snow in the winter for it to be a nuisance, but not enough for people to be nonchalant about it.

What's the one piece of advice you would give a fed moving to your area?

Go exploring! Philadelphia has a lot to offer if you go look for it. It's hard to go more than a mile or two without running into something related to colonial or revolutionary times. We have wonderful museums and amazing public art, great restaurants and professional sports, public parks and active nightlife, and you're sure to find something of interest.

Get involved. One of the best ways to meet people and learn about how things work and who is who is to become an active part of the organization, not just watch from the sidelines. A piece of advice I was given a long time ago: "Do whatever the organization asks of you, as long as it isn't illegal or immoral." It gives you a chance to show what you are capable of, and you build your network and experience.

Be open. Where you came from was good; where you are now is also good. Just because something was done a certain way in your previous location doesn't mean it is the only or best way to do it. Learn what is going on before saying, "In my previous assignment, we did it this way, and you should do it that way, too."

In a word, describe feds in your area.

Dedicated.

How are feds perceived in your area and how does that affect morale?

Many people overlook the federal presence here, but most feds keep working hard regardless of public perceptions. With all the fed bashing that has been going on, people are surprised that federal employees will go out of their way to be helpful. That's unfortunate.

What's the average commute for feds in your FEB area, or your personal commute?

Philadelphia is a big city and the FEB covers a lot of ground, so it will depend on where someone lives and works. My personal commute is about 45-50 minutes each way.

Is the distance from D.C. a blessing or a curse?

Both! We are pretty close and can be in D.C. in two hours by train, three hours by car. We are close enough to be blessed and far enough to be blessed!

Sometimes it feels like the Washington DC folks forget that over 85 percent of all federal employees work outside of Washington, D.C.

We have people who are doing a lot of the same work as that which is done in the HQ structures, but there is a grade difference in how the work is classified because the work done by HQ is at a national level, where outside of Washington, it is on a local level. The work is just as complex and requires the same knowledge and expertise, but sometimes, people are not treated as equals.

What's your area's can't miss attraction?

You can't come to Philadelphia without seeing the Liberty Bell and visiting Independence Hall. They appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds, and are such an inspiration to people from all over the world. They are also free!


Check out more from the series "Talk Back to Washington."