Today’s Buzz is by Caz R. Muske, Main Street Manager, City of Brenham, TX (Twitter & LinkedIn)
What I am watching: Animal Kingdom
What I just finished reading: The Upside of Stress by Dr. Kelly McGonigal
Newest Discovered Podcast: MindValley Podcast
I feel a little bit closer to the ELGL Community and more accepted in the LG realm.
As a new Buzzer, I wanted to write about something I was struggling with as a local government (LG) employee – fitting in. I have noticed individuals younger than I or my age rocking it in the industry, while I feel far behind treading water. To help combat my internal struggles, I wanted to connect with other individuals who had a delayed start in LG due to being in a different field. I had the pleasure of virtually meeting Ashely Levin and Katie Babits (check out their full stories here and here). Ashely is the Project Manager for the City of Troy, MI. Katie is the Diversity and Partner Collaboration Manager at Strategic Government Resources. They are both LG rock stars. The following explains how I am a LG Misfit and how Ashley and Katie loaned me some confidence.
Closing out my LG Misfit saga:
As a kid, I aspired to be…
I have always been in competitive sports – from grade school to the college level. Being an athlete was something I always identified with. When I was a kid it made complete sense to be a professional basketball player. I was smart enough to know I most likely wouldn’t play ball all year long so I clearly needed another job. So, I would play ball and be an artist during the off season. Totally legit…
My LG Misfit story is…
As someone who identified as an athlete, I did not consider myself someone who would thrive in academia. However, I took advantage of a track scholarship and went to university with aimless goals. Naturally, I fell into the health and fitness industry because it was my comfort zone. I lived it and breathed it. Unfortunately, I did not feel very fulfilled with the industry. After a handful of years one of my former clients – a Chief of Police at a local city – offered me a civilian position as his assistant and public information administrator. He knew I was proficient at social media platforms and the art of marketing. If I didn’t market my programs, I didn’t have clients. My first thoughts: “Should I change from a Facility Manager of a well known sports facility to just an Assistant at a city? Should I change from being on salary to punching the clock, which was way less income? Should I start a new career over at ground zero? Etc.”
Thankfully, I took the leap of faith for something more. Chief gave me an opportunity that turned into one of the best decisions of my life.
Now that I fell into LG – here’s my end career goal…
I spent time at the Police Department and was promoted to help market the City as a whole and manage the Park facilities to increase revenue streams in the Community Services Department, but I wanted to learn more. I began researching different career paths within local government and inquired about education ventures. I stumbled upon Public Administration and ran with it. I have always been one to shoot for the stars which allowed me to pursue my Masters and the career of City Management. All the moving parts of LG is fascinating and the employees who run the parts smoothly are the real MVP’s. As a City Manager-Council form of government, one of the City Manager’s main gigs is to make sure the employees are firing on all cylinders by taking care of the public. To me, that translates to making sure their work culture is something they get excited about waking up in the morning. We all know what it’s like to despise a boss or organization because of a toxic environment. Happy employees mean a happy community because their quality of life is being taken care of.
Long story short, I want to be a City Manager when I grow up!
My favorite thing about working in LG…
My favorite part of LG are the caring people who work for the LG or live within the LG community. The gratifying moments are seeing community member’s problems being resolved and the LG employee feeling accomplished by solving the problem. Also, seeing passionate community members ban together to solve community problems is such a powerful thing. LG is impactful and I look forward to the day more people take pride in their communities, because it’s a wonderful thing being connected to your neighbors.
At the end of these interviews, these courageous women reminded me of the journey. Reaching your goals take precious time and experience, not just on a professional level. Also, my journey does not look like others – it is tailored to my life moments, which can’t be duplicated. I am thoroughly enjoying my LG journey and look forward to 50 more years in the profession!