HEY EVERYBODY! Thanks for visiting the site and signing up for the emails. The response has been really great so far. I've been flattered by the traffic. especially the folks that are visiting through search engines. I apologize for the long break between posts but... y'know... The Olympics.
In my last two posts about Thriving in the Federal Government, I stressed the importance of every civil employee having "one foot out the door" - being (professionally) prepared to pursue other opportunities (jobs, temporary details, special projects, certifications, additional training, and anything that will add value to your life and career).
The next vital component to thriving in the federal government is to pursue your other interests. Everyone has interests outside of their job. It's highly unlikely that you're the one person reading this that is so personally fulfilled by your job that you need not pursue any interests outside of work hours (but if you are, your Google searching probably did not land you on this page). And I'm not necessarily talking about getting a second job (although many do).
Pursuing your other interests means that you are leveraging your current job in the federal workforce to pursue something else - utilizing your job as a means to a different end. That "something else" doesn't have to be what many call "a passion." It's just an activity that you can set your sights on to help you take a step back and appreciate your day-to-day activities.
In my time as a government employee, I've gotten to know a published author in Waco, a competitive triathlete in Nebraska, a yoga instructor in Eastern Oklahoma, a real estate investor in Austin, an entertainment promoter in Massachusetts, and many, many others who are in hot pursuit of their other interests. Some are capable of making a living from these other interests and others are on their way to making living. Others still aren't really worried about making a living, they're doing what they need to do (given their job security and flexible work schedules) to continue to pursue what they truly love off the clock.
One of my favorite stories of someone pursuing their other interests is of a guy that was actually in my original training class at my first job. While we were still in training, he bought a home in Ft. Worth, fixed it up, and then began renting it out. Shortly after that, another home in the DFW area, then another. As of right now, I believe he has about 6+ homes all along I-35 in Texas. This is a man with a very entrepreneurial sprit who has seen an opportunity to leverage his federal job in support of one of his many interests. And I don't want to give the impression that this guy's falling down on his government job either. Quite the contrary. He's moved up steadily through the ranks because he performs his duties to an exceptional degree and he's said yes to opportunities as they come up. But, just as he fulfills his duty to the American taxpayer during the weekday, he's also contributing to the housing markets of multiple Texas communities - providing affordable, stable homes for residents and giving work to handymen along the way.
So, whether your working at the EPA, the FBI, the FAA or anywhere else, please consider taking some time to assess what it is you're working for or would like to work for about and then think of how you can use your job to pursue it. It could be working on your VW Bus or writing a blog about working in the government. Whatever it is, pursue it; It can help you keep sight of the big picture and keep you thriving in your work.