Where do I go from here in my government career?

It can be a bit of a shift for young people to join the government – you may find yourself surrounded with people much further along in life than you, faced with schedules that are more conducive to having a family life than enjoying your nightlife, and have difficulty finding the peers that you can related to. Here are some answers to questions that you may have as a young person in the government.

  • How do you deal with the generation gap in the workplace, and make the most of your position as a young employee? Try to find a peer, even one that may not be in your immediate workplace, who you can relate to, and you can share experiences with. It is critical to ensuring that your first few years, which can often be the most important, are successful in the workforce. Also start to realize that peers don’t necessarily have to be your age – they just have to share your mindset, and be people that you can relate to. Seek out people with interests that are similar to yours.
  • How do you ensure that you are not pigeonholed? Being successful at your job has its advantages, but it can also limit your opportunities to move to another area of the organization. To get the opportunities to move to another area, you have to convince your managers of the value that they will get from the experience. Make it clear that being a better-rounded employee will benefit you current manager, and can bring new experiences to your department.
  • What do you do about lower budgets and inflexible training budgets? Make your own opportunities. If you want to take a certain training course that will benefit your career, then seek out the person offering the opportunity, and offer your time in exchange for their mentoring and lessons. In short, change the request that you make to your manager. If they aren’t willing to offer the funds, they may be willing to offer administrative leave. Empower yourself.
  • What do you do when faced with the situation of being asked to do more work than your pay grade warrants? How can you leverage this in your career? Understand your HR policies at the agency, and work with your HR managers to understand the various positions available to you that may have higher career ladders than your current. Make the case for future promotions, and feel confident in your ability to meet the requirements for the higher grade.

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