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Looking for Jobs in All the Right Places

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They say that if you're looking for the best restaurant in town, you should ask a chef, so it follows that if you're looking for the best place to work in the federal government, you should ask government employees.

Recently, the Partnership for Public Service and the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation at American University released the first-ever ranking of the best places to work in the federal government, based on the results of a government-sponsored survey of 100,000 federal employees.

How to get your hands on the nitty-gritty details? The Best Places to Work Web site gives you an employees'-eye view of a number of agencies and subagencies, allowing you to tailor your job search to find an employer that fits you best.

In addition to rankings, the site offers snapshots of each organization -- its mission, location (many have offices outside Washington), number of employees, how diverse the organization is and what sorts of jobs you might find.

Mission: Important

One of the most attractive aspects of public service is that it provides opportunities to make a difference in peoples' lives. In fact, 91 percent of federal workers believe the work they do is important, and 89 percent say they know how their work relates to their agency's mission. Topping the rankings for matching skills to the mission is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA manages one of the largest health care systems in the world and boasts a patient safety health program that serves as a model for healthcare systems around the world.

Leadership Matters

Strong leadership in an organization can make the difference between a good place to work and the Best Place to Work. While the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) led the pack in leadership, the General Services Administration (GSA) scored high as well. You may never have heard of this government entity, but it's at the heart of the government's success. As the federal government's "go to" shop, the GSA helps make sure federal workers are properly equipped to do their jobs.

Work to Play

How often do you hear "I have no life!" from people struggling to find time for friends and family? Many government agencies recognize that people need to strike a balance in their lives. NASA and the GSA score first and second but are followed closely by the Department of Energy. The bottom line: A job with Energy leaves plenty of energy for the rest of your life.

Be a Team Player

It should not surprise you to hear that fully engaged employees feel committed to and connected with their organization. The result? Communication and collaboration breed even more communication and collaboration. You can find that kind of teamwork at an organization such as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, assists the President in overseeing the preparation and administration of the federal budget. Imagine a place where you can let out your inner number cruncher and still interact with others.

An office full of dedicated, hard-working employees makes for a high-performing, high-energy workplace. And if current employees are engaged and committed to their jobs and their organization, it's likely that you'll find yourself feeling the same way. Best Places to Work in the Federal Government can help you make sense of all the options. Isn't it time you answer the call to service and find your own best place to work?

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