My time as a featured blogger is almost up. Blogging for 12 weeks has made me philosophical. At first I wondered if I would have enough to say. Then I wondered if anyone would be interested in what I had to say. That made me wonder if the work I do matters at all. Not that the work isn’t important. I know that it is. But rather, does it matter that I am the person doing it?
This past week I got some lovely feedback about my blog from a person I’ve never met. This reminded that we are not interchangeable cogs in a big machine, but rather all individual people who have been handed a mission. People whose combined and compiled efforts result in the greatest governing body the world has ever known. I’m not saying the federal government is perfect. Certainly that is not true. But it is awesome and huge and filled with two million individual people who bring a unique perspective to everything they do.
I would like to point out that there is no such thing as a federal government employee. In fact, the federal government doesn’t employ a single person. People are employed by their individual agencies. Each individual person is given a mission to go forth and do good things for the American people. It is the Power of One—multiplied by two million. I’m pretty sure that if two million individual people agreed to work together, they could can accomplish anything.
To all you public servants out there, what you do matters. What you say matters. You matter. Not just as a sworn officer of the federal government, but as an individual person. You are not a cog. Your job would be different if it was done by someone else. Enjoy that and take pride in it. Tell your story. Here was my big aha moment about blogging—others will relate to your experiences and share in them.
When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, they told us one of our most important jobs was to return and tell our stories. Stories about the people we lived with, the work that we did, and the challenges people around the globe face every day. The same is true for all two million individuals who serve the American public every day.
I want to encourage all of you to tell your stories. Tell them in whatever way is meaningful to you. Share your expertise, a personal experience, a meaningful moment. All of these individual moments add up to governance. The truth of the matter is, everything you do each day rolls up with the accomplishments of your colleagues and results in the mission of your organization. As a person who sat at the top of one of the best organizations in the federal government, I promise you, mission accomplishment does not happen top down. Senior leaders are there to guide and keep everyone headed toward agreed-upon common goals, but you are the people who get the job done.
Take a few minutes each day to tell a story about what you did to give good service and why it mattered to someone. Tell those personal stories to the world. Use the GovLoop website, or any other outlet. All of those stories are gems that make up a diadem of service and no one loves a good tiara better than me.
Jeri Buchholz is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.