A month ago, I started my new journey as a federal employee. I took my oath, was handed countless papers, flyers, and binders to look through in my spare time, and received my own personal laptop (which is such a nice change from the ridiculously old desktop I had at my last position).
Beyond the typical feelings of anxiety and being overwhelmed, I’ve been rather content in my transition. Most notably, my Fitbit is showing that my resting heart rate has dropped significantly since I left state service, which suggests to me that my stress level, particularly at my last position, was taking a toll on my health. This job has its own stress; however, the deadlines are more self-imposed by my unit than by an outside entity like a court. The workload is much more professional than work I’ve performed before, and it’s almost all completed electronically. This bodes well for my desk, which in so many past positions has been a cluttered mess of paper.
I was assigned to train with one particular coworker, though my supervisor and other colleagues have been very friendly and helpful in answering questions and showing me where things are. I have a better understanding of what is expected of me, though I am still a bit overwhelmed by the steep learning curve. There is a lot to remember about the process and each step along the way; however, my supervisor has assured me that it can take a year or so to learn everything.
The one con I have noticed is the lack of effort for the PMF program. I sit next to a fellow PMF from the 2017 class and he has told me that a lot of the program requirements are things you have to do on your own. Finding a mentor, a rotation, and completing an IDP are all things he mostly has done on his own without much guidance or assistance from his supervisor, unit, or even the PMF coordinator for the agency. That’s disheartening as one of the things that attracted me to this program was the amount of training and mentoring that it purported to provide. That said, I had read previously that often agencies use the PMF program to fill a need, and I can’t really blame them since I am using the program as a foot in the door with the feds.
I consider myself a fairly resourceful person though, so I don’t think I will find it difficult to figure things out of my own. My supervisor has tried to be helpful, but has a very busy schedule and not much time to go over things. That said, there are many things I really like about the agency in general. There’s a gym that I’ve joined (though I’m struggling to find time to actually go), they offer flexible work schedules (including a 9 day schedule, for which I signed up), and the campus is large, so on nice days I can go for a walk.
I do have a love/hate relationship with that 9 day work schedule though. I’m an early bird, so I try to get in as early as possible so I can get home earlier in the evening. I’ve been pushing myself to get here by 6:30 and I’m finding myself exhausted by the end of the day. I had great plans for the summer with kiddo, taking her places on my Fridays off, but instead I mostly just do laundry and try to recuperate from the grueling weeks. The one plus is that when I have to take her for visitation with her father, I don’t have to sit in traffic for an hour on the way home from work and then sit in it again for 2 hours to take her to and from. That’s the main reason I picked this schedule, so I could be off on the Fridays kiddo goes to her dad’s.
All in all, I’m happy with the decision I made to join the federal work force and I’m excited to see what the next two years bring!