In Their Words: 30 Ways Government Employees Positively Impact Our Lives

Over a week has passed since government employees (those not furloughed due to the sequester, at least) returned to their offices, and as a result, the urgency of our You Are Essential campaign seemed to wither. In reality, the urgency remains. As conversations about government budget cuts and sequester continue, we need to reflect upon the positive role of government plays in our lives.

From providing groundbreaking research to implementing programs for the poor, government employees give back to their communities everyday. This was reflected in the 595 answers we received to the question, “Why are you Essential” during the shutdown. Today, as the focus on “Shutdown” turns into conversation about and the NSA, let’s take a moment to reflect upon and highlight the work of government employees. I encourage you to continue the You Are Essential Campaign by promoting the reasons government is essential to your friends, family, and colleagues

I recently read all 595 responses to the You Are Essential Campaign. These are 30 powerful responses, which illustrate the scope of the impact government employees have on our lives (you can also view my Buzzfeed Community Article –10 Reasons You Are Essential: A Love Letter To Returning Public Servants):

  1. I help make sure your communities most vulnerable have the support they need to be contributing members of the community.
  2. As a corrections employee, I keep society safe and provide inmates with the tools to safely return to society.
  3. I connect residents to services for basic needs (food, clothing, shelter, etc.).
  4. Because I am charged with preserving America’s cultural memory, which includes artistic reactions to the shutdown in real time. That is impossible while furloughed.
  5. I help promote meals filling the nutrition gap at school and during the summer
  6. I help save your life and keep you safe from influenza; help to mitigate and respond to you/family/state/national needs during a public health emergency.
  7. Taxpayers rely on me to assist them every day with the challenges of being in compliance with the complicated tax code. I assist them in navigating the rules, forms and systems
  8. I issue passports to US citizens. My job is important because protecting the most sought after document in the world should be taken seriously
  9. I collect data and create tools capable of improving hurricane forecasts – essential to the safety and economic well being.
  10. I ensure that youth can work in science internships in the parks and that energy development in parks is done in a responsible and safe manner.
  11. Because the job I do directly supports field efforts to provide safe and efficient highways by which people and goods are transported.
  12. I’m a health & safety inspector for the Department of Labor. I enforce safety & health regulations of American miners.
  13. My agency administers the Workforce Investment Act. We have had to furlough the majority of our staff, without them, its hard to continue providing services and assisting individuals in returning to work or going to training to get a job.
  14. I help keep the world informed about the benefits available to small, medium and large businesses, and that leads to helping create and maintain American jobs.
  15. I help provide service for clinicians who are helping the underserved.
  16. I work hard every day to protect the National Security of the country by conducting personnel security investigations.
  17. I keep underwater archeological resources in National Parks safe, and we bring what we learn to children, visitors, and all those who wish to learn about their National Parks.
  18. I’m essential because the work I perform has the ability to make long-term effects on small rural communities that depend on the Federal Government to assist in securing water resources for their localities.
  19. Because I support folks that get low-wage workers their required pay.
  20. I do GIS–maps are important so we know where to find things!
  21. My agency supports many small businesses, helping them expand their sales and bottom line through exporting. That small business that you just love may get to stay open because they are being supported by their international sales or they may get to open additional stores because their sales have been boosted through exports. What we do is essential.
  22. …Provide solid waste management and recycling programs that will provide for public health and safety, stewardship of our natural resources and environment, consumer protection and outstanding customer service.
  23. Without me very low and low-income families cannot become a homeowner.
  24. I help unemployed & UI recipients find work & resources for education & skill building.
  25. I work in an office that supports counter-terrorism. Terrorists aren’t going away or presenting any less of a threat anytime soon.
  26. Every day I strive to spend taxpayer money smartly, while getting the most effective and reliable gear to our troops.
  27. I ensure that youth can work in science internships in the parks and that energy development in parks is done in a responsible and safe manner.
  28. I am essential because I help people with disabilities who want to work for the federal government to navigate the USA Jobs website, interpret job announcements, and build a resume that tells their story and showcases their talents.
  29. I analyze government & public energy & material consumption to reduce cost & waste.
  30. I am essential because I protect public health by verifying food safety and animal welfare EVERYDAY

I encourage you to share this post and to continue spreading the message of the You Are Essential Campaign!

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Dale M. Posthumus

This exercise is well and good, to help support self-esteem when managers use the wrong terms (non-essental). However, the real value of such comments should be from those we serve. One, it has much greater value for society as well as a boost for self esteem. And, maybe, Federal employees are better viewed then what you may think. A recent poll (sorry, I don’t have the citation) showed the public has a pretty good attitude toward govies. Its the agencies (as an organization) and politicians whom they give low marks.