There’s nothing glamorous about local government. Working at Town Hall won’t pay well, and aside from affording you the occasional quote in the newspaper, it won’t offer much in the way of prestige or glory. But there are reasons to get involved, and in a thoughtful piece for the Daily Muse, former City of New York employee Eliza Berman offers five very good ones.
During her six years at City Hall, Berman did everything from riding along with police officers to venturing underground to witness a 200-ton machine digging a hole for a new subway line. It’s no wonder she found the experience “incredibly rewarding,” and while not all municipalities are like New York City, there are parallels to be drawn between her on-the-job adventures and the ones that await you if you answer the call. Scroll down to read Berman’s list of reasons to try a career in government.
1. You See How Your Town Functions — Why, when it snows, do the plow drivers know where to go? When the high school needs a new boiler, who makes the call? Working in local government means you see the inner-workings of your town, and it just might make you appreciate things you once took for granted.
2. It’s An Investment In Your Community — How many people can come home from work and say they actually made a difference? If you work in local government, you can punch out most days knowing your efforts were for the benefit of your fellow citizens.
3. You’ll See Tangible Results — When most people hear “local government,” they probably think of the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” and week in and week out, that show gives examples of how town employees are rewarded for their efforts by seeing real results. If you pull a Leslie Knope and help get approval for a new park, for instance, you can stroll through and watch kids flying kites and joggers logging their daily miles. You can’t put a price tag on that kind of satisfaction.
4. It’ll Make You Creative — They say necessity is the mother of invention, and when you’re up against red tape and bureaucracy — and you most certainly will be — you’ll need to think outside the box to solve the problems facing your town. You might bang your head against the wall, but you’ll emerge a more creative person.
5. You’ll Meet Lots of New People — Whether you’re on a storm-response team or tasked with regulating local wildlife, your job will put you in constant contact with people you might never have otherwise met. Even if you don’t stay in government forever, you’ll have gained something truly valuable: the ability to communicate with different types of folks.