Time to Think Outside the Cubicle

It is midweek and the federal work week is in full swing with strategy implementation, operations and more. As you continue to whittle away at your task list, you may be pondering your next career move. Then it hits you like a ton of bricks: How did I get into stuck in a cubicle farm every day for the last year?

Now, there is nothing wrong with operating from the confines of your desk in support of your agency’s mission. Yet, having an “inside the beltway” or headquarters-only perspective may also have an impact on narrowing the field of your career goals. This is a good time to explore professional development that does not include going to another “govie” course inside a classroom. It means something more.

Have you explored your agency’s regional operations to get a glimpse of life outside of your main office? If the opportunity and the funding permits, I highly recommend getting outside the four falls of your office so you can learn more about the efforts of employees supporting your organization’s mission in various regional hubs. These opportunities may also support your professional development as well as your career aspirations.

For example, expanding your professional network is integral to your role in federal service. Sure, it is easy to attend organized networking functions and connect with others. However, learning how your peers in other offices conduct business and even shadowing them at the office is also part of the experiential learning experience.

Making this leap forward requires some considerable planning and discussion with your manager to outline goals as well as manage your existing workload. It may also show case your leading edge mindset about your career opportunities.

Moreover, it helps when federal employees learn to appreciate the contributions and resources of other employees in different offices by seeing their work first hand. When you make the effort to genuinely learn more about the other office operations outside of your main hub it really provides you a “big picture view” of your agency.

Participating in regional office operations may also spark an interest in a new career field or skill set based on a positive experience. Some people start their careers thinking “this is the only work I will ever want to do.” Yet, over time when some continue doing the same repetitive work, it may become routine. This may also lead to job dismay and a potential for low morale. Lastly, when you think outside of your cubicle you can explore a variety of career paths. This may also keep you motivated at work.

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