Creating Positive Change where the World Needs it Most
During this election year, the phrase “working in public service” has been a part of many conversations. It’s one of those phrases that people use, but don’t really understand. Working in public service comes in my forms and can include both personal and professional service to a community. To some, the phrase is a general wording of working with people for a public organization – like in a government position or even part of something like the electric company. In general, serving the public in one way or the other falls under the category of “public service”. But for others, the phrase can carry a deeply personal meaning of working in an organization whose sole purpose is to elevate others in their daily lives.
Regardless of the perceptions surrounding it, a career in public service carries weight. It’s important to know what someone means when they say “I work in public service”. What kind of a career can you have in public service? How do you find what you want to do in the public service field? How do you translate hard and soft skills to a public service position? These types of questions are the start of a career with a conscious.
Who Works in Public Service?
If you want to know what public service looks like as a career, you need only look to the people interested in the work. They are passionate, caring, and above all, motivated. However, public service requires that motivation to be directed. Many people start out knowing they want to do some good in their work, but do not know how to translate that into a paying position.
Figuring out a way to make money and work towards a goal or for a cause that you are passionate about can make all the difference for both your personal and professional satisfaction.
According to US World News and Report, “…there are “four “lenses” people use to find their way into the public sector: an issue they care about, a role they want to play, the kind of organization they want to work for (a large one with multiple chapters like Amnesty International, say, or a small state agency on the cutting edge of something experimental), or the system they want to work in (public schools or prisons, for example). One approach is to start by looking at what most energizes you: an unsolved problem or an unmet need, for example…The next step could be to determine which organizations work on the issue, then what roles are involved.” Looking through these lenses, the path to public service becomes a little more clear. Public service careers need people who can look at big issues in a big picture sense and strive for innovative, unconventional solutions that help the lives of individuals everyday.
An Unlikely Path
Careers in Public Service don’t always start the way they’re planned. If you are thinking of switching careers, don’t be intimidated by a career in public service. There are many careers that can shift into a positive public service career. Making that change will require some maneuvering, but many fields are easily translatable. While it may not seem a likely transition, something like sales or marketing is a great lead into a career in public service.
Sales and Marketing each require organization, communication, and helping people to buy into an idea. If someone wanted to work for a public service organization, they could utilize the experience they had and make it apply to the public service field. For example, if someone in sales is enthusiastic about changing clothing industry practices, they could transition to a career in helping an organization like Goodwill.
This may not seem obvious, but it is one approach that is takes a passion about an emerging issue in society and turns it into a career. Goodwill may or may not have a position available that directly correlates, but in joining the organization, a person is given an opportunity to achieve their goals. They could work with Goodwill to help with presentations, community outreach, and advocating clothing recycle programs in their local areas. The experience they have as a salesperson would help them in each one of those examples and allow for the public service side to gain benefit from their past endeavors. Keep in mind, part of discovering a career in public service is attempting to rework an idea to help others. Combine the approach of discovery with a continued passion and a career in public service has a solid foundation.