Seven Fundamental Tips for Starting a New Government Job

Seven Fundamental Tips for Starting a New Government Job

 
Image via Crystal Eye Studio/Shutterstock

You did it. After months of scouring USAJOBS, you’ve landed the opportunity to serve your country working for the federal government. Kudos, hats off, congrats, etc. Are you ready to work?

Few new jobs are harder than a new government job—whether you’re fresh out of school or a new political appointee. You worked hard and waited long for this opportunity—and now you have to learn the basics.

A friend recently started a new job with a federal agency and came to me with a range of concerns from “I’m in over my head” to “I don’t understand what anyone is saying.” Her concerns prompted me to reflect on my own experience starting out as a contractor at the US Treasury Department and how I worked to learn the ropes. The following are seven fundamental tips for starting your new government job off right:

The Fundamentals

 1.   What law or presidential order gives your office the authority to exist? Find this out ASAP. Ask your supervisor or human capital officer where this can be found and read it—twice. You’ll likely hear reference to it again and again. Also, it’s essential you understand the originating purpose of your office and why tax dollars go to support your mission. Knowing why you exist is step one in being a good steward of taxpayer dollars.

2.   Read, read…and then read some more. Get your hands on as many reports, manuals, flow charts and budgets as you can. Compile it all in one neat stack (I like to put things in a three ring binder) and then start doing your homework. Continue reading “Seven Fundamental Tips for Starting a New Government Job”

Ryan Adds Some Loaded Examples to Question of ‘Better Off?’

New York Times

Ryan Adds Some Loaded Examples to Question of ‘Better Off?’

By TRIP GABRIEL and KITTY BENNETT
 
Representative Paul D. Ryan spoke to an overflow crowd at a campaign event on Monday at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
Max Whittaker for The New York TimesRepresentative Paul D. Ryan spoke to an overflow crowd at a campaign event on Monday at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.

9:02 p.m. | Updated A revised version of this post is available here.

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Representative Paul D. Ryan compared the struggling economy to Jimmy Carter-era malaise, when a candidate named Ronald Reagan denied a president re-election by asking an unsettling question: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

“There’s a little gathering going on over in Charlotte,” Mr. Ryan said here in eastern North Carolina, about a four-hour drive from the site of the Democratic National Convention. “The president can say a lot of things, and he will, but he can’t tell you that you’re better off. Simply put, the Jimmy Carter years look like the good old days compared to where we are right now.”

The Republican National Committee and the Romney-Ryan campaign sounded the charge on Monday morning with a new video, a Web site and a statistics dump attacking President Obama on what they consider his biggest vulnerability, all asking the question: “Are you better off?” Continue reading “Ryan Adds Some Loaded Examples to Question of ‘Better Off?’”

Dick Durbin, Fox host duel over ‘God’

Dick Durbin, Fox host duel over ‘God’

By MACKENZIE WEINGER | 9/4/12 6:51 PM EDT

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin on Tuesday slammed Fox News’s coverage of the Democratic Party platform for focusing on the removal of the words “God” and “Jerusalem,” saying that the network is “harping on a trifle” and trying to present a false narrative that Democrats are “godless people.”

Fox News’s Bret Baier kicked off the tense interview by asking the Illinois Democrat why the 2012 party platform dropped the word “God” from the document after including it in previous years.

“Well, I can just basically tell you if the narrative that is being presented on your station and through your channel and your network is that the Democrats are godless people, they ought to know better,” Durbin told Baier. “God is not a franchise of the Republican Party.” Continue reading “Dick Durbin, Fox host duel over ‘God’”

Before Slashing Budgets, Find the Savings

Before Slashing Budgets, Find the Savings

It was a bold move for a government entity. In 2005, the commonwealth of Pennsylvania hired a private company to overhaul the archaic way it buys goods and services. It seemed simple enough, but what was innovative — and daring — was a key condition: 30 percent of the contractor’s compensation would come from the savings achieved. No savings, no payment.

Putting such a risk on the contractor paid off handsomely. Among other things, officials combined the buying clout and pricing data of all 89 executive branch agencies and departments to strike better deals. Without cutting a single program or service, Pennsylvania saved more than $140 million, or 21 percent, from its annual $700 million tab for everything from office and cleaning supplies to information technology services and tires. The savings far exceeded projections.

Pennsylvania is not alone. Similar value-based contracts enabled the New York City Board of Education to shave $86 million from its $720 million procurement budget, and state and local agencies are experiencing similar savings. Continue reading “Before Slashing Budgets, Find the Savings”

AFGE Union Leader Responds To Democratic Party Platform

WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following comment in response to the Democratic Party’s 2012 platform:

The Democratic Party has laid out a vision for the country that focuses on restoring and growing the middle class, creating jobs, investing in the future and ensuring that everyone pays their fair share. Continue reading “AFGE Union Leader Responds To Democratic Party Platform”