A career in local government can be rewarding, and it can be fulfilling at the same time. If you can see and feel the difference you are making in the lives of others, you will be much more motivated to continue on the path you are on and focus on growth and development too. As well as giving you the opportunity to impact the lives of others, a career in local government also gives you the opportunity to have an impact on your own life and career. Achieving more than you thought was possible and pushing yourself will also leave you with a great deal of self-satisfaction. So, when it comes to getting the career you want in local government – what do you need to think about, and what should you be taking into consideration?
You Can Make A Difference
A career or job in local government is not just like any other job or career – because, in this role, you will be able to make a difference – especially when you get to the middle management level or leadership level. Making a difference in the lives of others or in local communities is empowering and inspiring. When you have the power to make a difference, you must be sure that you use it as positively as you can. Even if you are only making small changes to the lives of others, you will find that this has a knock-on effect. This level of self-satisfaction and job satisfaction is rare to find in other industries and careers. Knowing that you can make a difference and being able to physically make a difference is powerful, and it will give you the drive and motivation you may need to push forwards with your fledgling career.
Steadiness and Stability
Local government careers offer you steadiness and stability. There will always be a need, demand, and requirement for local government professionals. When you have steadiness and stability within your role and within your career, you can then start focusing on the future a whole lot more. You can start pushing forwards with changes that need to happen. When you do not have this steady or stable environment to launch yourself from (or work within), you can find that doubt and uncertainty creep in. Of course, this is not what you want because uncertainty and doubt will affect your levels of confidence. Working in a stable environment gives you the time and focus on working on areas that are important to your career and to local communities. When you are less consumed with worry, you can then start tackling the heart and root cause of a lot of the problems you will inevitably find yourself facing.
There is Potential For Growth
As populations are increasing, you will notice that governments’ roles and responsibilities will be increasing too. Local governments will need to keep up with the demands and requirements of communities, and this will mean that there is potential for growth. You may find that growth within your career could take you down a different path. Or you could find that growth could help you make more of a difference in the lives of others. The potential for growth is just as exciting as the potential for change. When you know that you have the opportunity (and ability) to grow, you give more to your role, and you give more back to the people that you are working on behalf of. The potential for growth within your career could see you impacting and influencing policies, or it could see you searching for roles in state government. When you have the potential for growth, you then realize that anything is possible, achievable, and well within your reach.
Education Will Raise Your Awareness and Knowledge
No matter what level or stage you find yourself at in your career, it is important to focus on your education. When you invest in your education, you learn to see things differently because you have raised your knowledge and your awareness. For example, you can see how influential policy changes can be to local communities. You can understand the impact that they have when you deepen your knowledge and understanding by studying for an Online Master of Public Policy and Leadership. When you raise your awareness and knowledge, you explore other opportunities too for growth and development, and this is an important aspect of building a sustainable career. When you have a deeper level and understanding of what is going on with local communities and local people, you can then start to introduce policies and statements that will work to improve their lives. Investing in yourself and your education and investing in your future will help you positively impact others around you.
You Have the Opportunity to Influence and Make an Impact
There are not many careers around that give you the opportunity to influence and make an impact. In a local government role, you can influence others. This may mean influencing those in a community, or it may mean influencing other leaders and decision-makers. When you can influence (and back up your claims), you can then start building your credibility and reputation. In local government, you can have a long-lasting career – if you are prepared to build it and invest. When you have the opportunities available to you, then you can start making positive changes, and you can start seeing the positives coming out of your hard work and effort. In a career, if you do not have the opportunity to influence and make an impact, then you may find you need a change – and of course, this is not really what you want to do.
Professional Development Opportunities Exist
Wherever you start your career in local government, it is nice to know that professional development opportunities exist. The team or departments that you are working for and within want to see you thrive, and this is why professional development is so inclusive in local government roles. Local governments want all of their employees to work to the best of their ability, and they want to be sure that you realize your full and true potential. Taking advantage of continuous professional development is beneficial for you and for the sustainability of your career. When others are investing in you, then you can feel that what you are doing is rewarded and appreciated. And, when you invest in yourself and in your development, you feel that anything is possible and that nothing is outside of your reach (or capabilities). Taking advantage of professional development opportunities will allow you the chance to build a career and push forwards to achieve your own goals and ambitions.
Build Communities and Forge Relationships
In your role or contribution within local government, you can be certain that somewhere along the line, you are working to build communities and forge relationships. If the local government does not focus on these two key areas, you will find that trying to integrate or improve policies and plans is simply fruitless and pointless. Forging new relationships with other professionals and with other industries can help you improve what roles and services local government offices offer. Building communities can help you to improve and enhance local areas. Within your career, you will be able to have an impact on relationships and on strengthening communities – especially as you progress. When you realize that these are at the heart of what you do and what local government does – then you will realize how important and crucial your continued input is.
Meaningful Roles are Available
When you get up and head to work or log in, you want to make a difference, you don’t just want to fall into obscurity, and you don’t want to let others fall into the cracks either. Meaningful roles exist within local governments, and they are up for grabs. For example, meaningful and purposeful roles in local schools and in areas of mental health and well-being can see you getting greater levels of self-satisfaction and achievement than you thought possible. A meaningful role will be good for you and for your career development too. If you can find a meaningful role that aligns with where your passions sit, then you will find that nothing will hold you back. When you undertake a meaningful role, you can also ensure that every day you go to work – you come away feeling satisfied and content. Now, this may not sound like a big deal, but quite often, you will find that contentment within your job and then within your life is the easiest (but most crucial) area to overlook. However, it is also one of the areas that can have the biggest impact.
There are a lot of local government positions and posts that allow you to work flexibly – and this is something that can be unique in these changing times. This flexible approach could impact where you work and how you work. Some local governments will even allow you to adopt a hybrid working model, which allows you to work from the comfort of your own home or from the office to suit. You may not put too much emphasis on flexibility – but you should. Flexibility within a career is hard to achieve (but necessary) because it gives you a balance. If you do not have a balance within your life, you will find that you are constantly chasing your tail and possibly never achieving as much as you should or could. When you have flexibility within our reach and within your career, you feel that you have the chance to push forwards. When you have the opportunity to push forwards, you then have the potential to make the greatest impact.
No Two Days Will Be the Same
If you want steadiness but you want to welcome versatility, then a career in local government is the path to follow. In a local government career, you will often find that no two days will be the same. One day you could find that you are in an office and filling in forms, and another day you may find that you are out and about meeting local citizens and communities. Being able to turn your hand to anything and being able to wear many hats is what you must focus on. Of course, as no two days will be the same, you will get the chance and the opportunity to meet lots of new people. You may find that these people become part of your career plan or that they aid your progression in some way. Learning to prepare for anything and being ready to be versatile in your job in local government is crucial for future endeavors.
You Have To Be Willing to Change and Adapt
As times change, and as local government policies and practices change, so must you. Being willing to change and adapt is a crucial skill you must gain. If you are not going to change, or if you are holding back from change, you will find that you hold your whole team and department down. All employees within local government must work together for the collective and for the greater good. If you are not working as part of a team, then you will quickly find that there will not be a role for you moving forwards.
Team working is a Must
To get policies implemented and to provide the best service at all times, those who work within local government must work together. This may mean cohesion between different departments, or it may mean liaising with other teams and operations. Even if you do work on your own, there will be times when you will have to work within a team, and it is important to embrace these opportunities. If you are not able to work well within a team, then evaluate what is going wrong and what is missing because collaboration and unity are essential within a career in local government.
Alton Clarke was born and raised in Syracuse. He has written for MSNBC, The Business Insider and Passport Magazine. In regards to academics, Alton earned a degree from St. John’s University. Alton covers entertainment and culture stories here at Diving daily.