Five Reasons to Choose Local Government

Posted on July 20, 2021

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Today’s Morning Buzz is brought to you by Jessica Hoffman, Assistant City Administrator for the City of Wentzville, MO. Connect with Jessica on LinkedIn

What I’m Listening to: A local morning show radio podcast.

What I’m Watching: We just finished Loki on Disney+.

What I’m Reading: Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work for: A Guide for New Leaders by William Gentry. 

I previously wrote an article about how no child ever grew up saying that they wanted to be an Assistant City Administrator. 

Recently, we started a specific orientation just for our part-time Parks & Recreation staff. It’s different from our other orientation that goes over full-time employee benefits and policies. It’s catered toward this group to get them thinking about a potential career in local government. We share that even though they may “only be” in high school or starting college, they should think about what made them choose this job. Maybe it was their parents or maybe it was close enough to walk to work. Regardless, we want them to think about their future and consider a career path in the public sector. 

I love sharing ideas we think can be useful, so here are some benefits you can share with future leaders about working in the public sector. 

  1. You get to help your own community. Many of these individuals live in or near the city they choose to work for. Working in your own community is insanely rewarding. 
  2. You get to make a difference. Not only are you helping your own community but you are literally making a difference. Cities plan out projects, improvements and service enhancements that improve the quality of life for those we serve, and as a public sector employee, you get to be a part of making a difference. 
  3. You can see the impact. Being able to change someone’s life in a positive way is an incredible feeling. All of us have been able to see the impact of our work in people’s lives, which is why we continue to do what we do. It’s an incredible feeling and keeps me coming back for more.
  4. You get opportunities you may have never had. You meet people you never would have met. I have met mayors, county executives, state representatives, large corporation owners and investors, colleagues with an insane passion for what they do, and many others while doing this job. I have worked on multi-million dollar construction projects. I have worked with Human Resources to enhance policies that are life-changing for our staff. I have worked with Finance to create $100 million annual budgets. Almost every day is different and exciting. 
  5. Balance. While every city is different, I’d guess that the majority of them are closed on holidays (with the exception of emergency services). I have friends who have missed many soccer games, dance lessons and even Christmas morning because of their demanding schedules in the private sector. While providing flexibility is key in our field, having a “normal” schedule provides many opportunities for work/life balance/boundaries. 

It is so important for us as professionals in our field to continue to encourage and recruit high-quality employees to our industry. We need to continue to sell local government in the same way many others do — as a place that is rewarding and fulfilling as a career choice. I hope this inspires you to share this with someone, you never know what that seed may grow into. 

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