Recruitment 411: OMG…..How did I get here!

Today’s guest blogger is Frank Stipe. As he prepares close the book on more than thirty years of public service, he reflects on his journey and shares five fundamental things that he feels are the foundation for a rewarding career.

In 1972, I graduated from Cal Sate Long Beach and set out to change the teaching profession. Well…we know how that turned out. I took the OPM exam and got a job with the Internal Revenue Service in 1977, as a tax collector in Los Angeles. After several years convincing people to become taxpayers in exotic locations like the docks of San Pedro, the streets of L.A., the beaches of Orange County and the hills of Hollywood, I moved on to become a technical instructor. I spent five years teaching classes in tax law, business and commercial law and collection techniques to IRS recruits.

In 1986 I worked on computer-based training prototypes, and I accepted a job as an employee development specialist in 1987. I dragged my family from sunny California to humid Washington DC, where I landed progressively cooler gigs as an education specialist and education technology specialist.

After a big reorganization in 1998, I landed in the career management division as an occupational analyst. In 1999, I got to play a lead role in the design, deployment and management of the IRS’s recruitment marketing campaign. After a few years as a senior manager, I began pushing the envelope on the use of social networks and virtual worlds in federal recruitment. For the next five months you can find me working on the IRS Careers Island in Second Life.

So what have I learned over the last 34 years?

1. Your job is just life-support for the things that really matter; your health, your family, your friends, and your community. Never put your job ahead of those who love you. I learned this the hard way.

2. If you don’t believe in the mission, stop stealing a paycheck. If you are more concerned for your career path than for your agency’s mission, do us all a favor and get out!

3. Help other people succeed. If you can’t find joy in helping a taxpayer, a co-worker or an intern, you don’t belong in public service. Make it your mission to destroy barricades, not to defend them.

4. Never be afraid. There are bullies throughout both the public and private sector. Never let them win, even if it takes years to bring them down. Pick your battles carefully, but always stand up for what is right.

5. The money belongs to the taxpayers, don’t waste it. Every dime you spend on the job, every resource you use… they all belong to the taxpayers. They trust you to spend only what is necessary to deliver your agency’s mission. Every dollar is a tax or fee somebody paid.

What’s best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Recruitment 411 is the official blog of the IRS Recruitment Office.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

I love this post…great advice from a sage educational professional. Thank you, Frank, for your decades of service and for pushing the envelope on so many fronts.

Kevin Lanahan

Great advice, especially 1-3.

One thing I’ve learned, as a survivor of several administration changes, is that “this, too, shall pass.”