"What greater cause could we hope to serve than helping keep America the strong, aspiring, inspirational beacon of liberty and defender of the dignity of all human beings and their right to freedom and equal justice? That is the cause that binds us and is so much more powerful and worthy than the small differences that divide us.What a great honor and extraordinary opportunity it is to serve in this body." - John McCain
A year ago today I started my Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist role at the U.S. Census Bureau as a federal employee. Getting a government job had been a goal of mine for as long as I could remember and exactly 365 days ago that dream came true.
I had been working in a contractor position for the DoD when this opportunity presented itself. I had no previous experience in this field and knew nothing about census. It was a very large risk and required me to step way outside of my comfort zone... and you know what? I wouldn't change any of it for the world.
Every day at work I am challenged and learn new things. I have grown more professionally in the past year than all of my other years of work experience combined. My job is just a small segment of a larger whole and I use this opportunity to make a difference one interaction and project at a time.
In my role specifically I interact daily with local government officials and their staffs. I've learned the value of state and local government and adopted a new admiration for the passion that these individuals have. They care about their communities with a fire that can't be put out. They dedicate their lives to making differences, no matter how small, in their counties and towns because they put their constituents at the forefront of their politics. It is a job that is not to be envied or overlooked, and it has inspired me more than I can say in just a short year's time.
I also get to travel for work; this year alone I've visited 24 states. So often I feel like we get caught up in our little corners and forget or misunderstand just how vast and diverse our country really is. We live in a beautiful democracy where we often tend to disagree on certain political topics. Daily I see and hear how offended people get when people's beliefs and politics don't agree with their own. But, when you actually step aside and visualize just how diverse our country is, it is easier to accept that each and every individual has a personal life history that has shaped their personal ideals. They may be different from yours, and you may vehemently disagree... and guess what? That's okay. It's beautiful actually because it's what this nation is all about.
I have lofty professional goals for myself and this year is just one chapter of a very large story I hope to create. But, one single year has made all the difference and is now the building block for a life-long career as a public servant. I sincerely hope that I can make difference, no matter how small, to live a fulfilled professional career serving this nation.