USDA Rural Development www.rurdev.usda.gov/mi
1. What was your path to public service/current job?
I took a somewhat unconventional path in my professional journey.
a. I enlisted in Navy at toward the end of the Vietnam Era and gained my first 6 years of professional experience learning what it meant to be a Military Personnel Specialist.
b. To put myself through college, I joined the Naval Research and earned by Bachelors’ degree in Public Management.
c. Once I received my degree, I remained in the ready Reserves, as a commissioned officer, with “day jobs” working in Human Resources for Coca-Cola Bottling, the City of Battle Creek, MI and two Japanese auto parts manufacturing companies located in the Midwest.
d. Along the way, I also earned by Master’s degree in Labor & Industrial Relations and did a bit of outplacement consulting.
e. Ten years ago, I finally joined the Federal team as a Human Resources Specialist.
2. What awesome projects are you working on now?
Today I focus on position classification and human capital strategies. I also write a blog called “Sharing with the HR GovGal” [www.hrgovgal.wordpress.com] and contribute similar writings on GovLoop. My topics are current & employment-related; sometimes I even share secrets otherwise kept within the deep, dark caverns of the HR community. Ask me an employment question and, whether I draw from experience, research, or both, I’ll give you the best answer I can muster as someone who also views herself as an employee, not an employer.
3. What have been some of your most memorable experiences in public service?
Without a doubt, my most memorable experiences date back to my Navy career. In Naples, Italy, I worked at NATO with Alexander Haig just before he was appointed to higher office by the Reagan Administration. I also was honored to serve my college internship with the then U.S. Senator Donald W. Riegle, Jr. These experiences gave me a serious “peek” into the future and to where I wanted to steer my professional career.
4. What advice do you have for people who are new to the public sector?
I have counseled people ranging from applicants for the Naval Academy to those looking for Federal employment. My advice in all cases has been the same:
If you don’t have the experience you need to get the job you want, start at the beginning and get that experience!
Set realistic goals for yourself, update your goals often, and always keep learning throughout your career. When you stop being curious, it’s time to retire!
Don’t worry too much about what a job pays; focus on what you will learn from the job and translate that experience into the next rung on your career ladder.
Finding a federal job doesn’t require mentorship but learning from those who have gone before you can’t hurt!
This is great Doris. Also your blog is fantastic – I will definitely share with some colleagues. So glad to have you contributing on GovLoop…
Just wanted to say how much I appreciate Doris’s contribution to the community. Always sincere, helpful advice.
Wow! I’m humbled and appreciative of your comments! Thanks Danielle & Lauren!
@Doris: I enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks for sharing. I like your positive demeanor toward HR.
Also, I was wondering if you had any opinion about popular HR blogs like Evil HR Lady and Punk Rock HR, which feature a bit of a snarky approach to the idea that HR isn’t exactly a friend to the common man (or woman) and is mostly there to protect the corporation/agency.
I love reading HR blogs … especially the ones the demystify the operations! Thanks for all your comments! This has been fun!