Honk If You're Happy!

Thursday - 8/13/2009, 4:00am EDT

Federal workers have a reputation, in some circles, of being whiners and ingrates. That is, people who just put in their time and don't appreciate that they have a good, steady job.

But anybody who deals with feds on a day to day basis, and who watches what they do, gets a very different picture: That there are a lot of people in the civil service who really like what they do and where they do it.

Revelation: They like their job, their mission, their working conditions, their agency.

From the CIA to the National Park Service, and at many if not most federal stops in between, many if not most workers and retirees have a strong commitment to their agency mission and they are proud (and happy) to be working there. Many who leave government come back for a lot more than the benefits.

At a meeting of feds last week I overheard two government types, a man from the Department of Homeland Security and a Navy civilian, talking about their work right after 9-11. One explained the process of securing literally thousands of potential terrorist targets (from nuclear plants to railroad bridges) following the attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

While they were talking, they had lots of good things to say about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the National Guard, which is loaded with federal, postal and state and local government citizen soldiers.

These guys talked with the enthusiasm of young folks although it was, in fact, at a pre-retirement seminar.

One of the women, with the IRS, said she was eligible to retire, and would like to retire but that she was going to stay on "because I'm good at my job, it's important... and there is a long learning curve involved for any new-comer. And I like it, even though people sometimes shudder when I tell them where I work!"

So what about you? Do you like your job? If so, why? And is your agency a good place to work? If so, what makes it that way? Would you rank your agency as one of the best places to work in government?

Often times the media focuses on bad news. But in this case we're looking for bright spots, the best places, in government. The people who would know best, and that would be you, will do the ranking.

To participate, click here or drop me an e-mail. Your reponses will be anonymous, unless you provide your information and tell us it's okay to use it. Some of the opinions will appear in the November issue of The Washingtonian magazine.

So don't hold back, and thanks for your participation!

Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

The longest recorded flight of a chicken is thirteen seconds.

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com