The Whole Fed: Taking Care of Business and Yourself

Game six of the World Series might have been a can’t-miss event, but so was our recent GovUp, “The Whole Fed: Understanding the Government Career Lifecycle.”

Instead of focusing on a single part of personal and professional development, this event examined what it takes for a federal employee to have a long, successful and healthy career as a public servant.

Things kicked off with federal workplace expert Mika Cross, who encouraged the audience to think about and discuss what they loved about their jobs. This is an important question to ask, she explained, because pride and pleasure in one’s job deserves to be a career objective just as much as anything else. Joy, purpose and alignment are three key things to look for in a workplace, she said, and are vital to finding a career that fits you.

In addition, Cross encouraged feds to take advantage of personal and professional support that their organization may offer, such as:

  • Time off
  • Work-sanctioned volunteer opportunities
  • Work flexibility
  • Financial planning
  • Mental health support
  • Retirement planning
  • Gym benefits

The whole fed, of course, includes the physical health and well-being of the public servant. That fact brought Aetna’s Sekou Mitchell up to discuss Open Season, healthcare and the many options available to federal employees.

“Benefits are not the sexiest thing to talk about, but we need to,” Mitchell said.

He emphasized the opportunities that come with having options, and the fact that smart shopping when it comes to healthcare plans and providers is the best thing you can do for yourself and your pocketbook. “Knowledge is power” was the message he imparted to the audience. If you’re familiar with the different plans and services available to you, you can ensure that you’re getting your care at the best possible price.

If you’re healthy and happy, then you’re set up perfectly to succeed in your career. But how can you ensure that you’re taking the steps necessary to advance? American University’s Key Executive Leadership Program Director Patrick Malone had the answer.

His first piece of advice was to focus on a niche skill that you have — something that you’re good at and people may know you for. In the professional world, everyone is good at many things, so you need something that will make you stand out.

He also highlighted the importance of making connections — not the shallow, temporary kind, but the meaningful kind that will last and be mutually beneficial. This could mean connecting with someone at a different agency that you can meet with regularly to share insights on government life, or finding a mentor who can help you navigate the federal workplace. Ultimately, the people you surround yourself with can have meaningful impacts on your career.

In addition, planning is important. Malone suggested aiming not for a specific title or position, but a set of circumstances that you want: career satisfaction, work-life balance and joy in your work.

In the course of the evening, everything a public servant needs to be successful was covered — from health to professional development to personal growth. After mingling, networking, and snacking, attendees left prepared to take care of every part of themselves, the whole fed.


This event was sponsored by:


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