Get a Life

By Judith Welles

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Get a Life!: All in the family

Quite a number of federal employees have sons or daughters also working in government jobs. My mother worked for the Commerce Department, and during college, I began my federal career working one summer at the Interior Department. Now, one of my sons, a physician, will soon be a federal employee.  

I have talked with a father and son in the Forest Service and a family of four brothers working for NASA. Families in public service are not uncommon. Federal jobs have appeal, and family members are often able to help others learn the ropes of how to find and apply for jobs.

In my case, my son’s decision came as a total surprise. He is board certified in three fields of medicine and could make his way easily in private health care or academia. But the Veterans Administration offered him an opportunity to work on cases he cares about with people he respects.  

He called me to ask about government benefits so he could compare what he was leaving.  With some general information, I referred him back to the VA where the HR office could certainly fill him in better than I could.  He concluded that the benefits would be equal to or in some instances better than where he was.  

I wondered if he had thought about federal service because he had grown up hearing about my experiences. At least that didn’t alter his view of beginning a federal career himself. In fact, he had collaborated on some patient cases with VA physicians who sparked his interest.  

I am proud of my son (what parent isn’t?) and think that the VA will be lucky to have him. But at the same time, I know that federal work will give him even broader opportunity and experience for whatever he does in the future.  

If you have a child working for a federal agency, you can brag, too. Or did your parent work for the government?

Posted by Judith Welles on Apr 21, 2009 at 12:12 PM


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