Career Story: Environmental Analyst For The EPA

Environmental Analyst For The EPA

Job Title: Analyst

Type of Company: I work for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Education: BA, Biology, Albion College •• MA, Environmental Management, Duke University

Previous Experience: Teaching marine science (1 year); environmental consulting firm (2 years); US EPA 23 years.

Job Tasks: I help people find information, develop national policy, analyze data, identify trends, provide advice on Superfund enforcement issues of national scope, work with newer staff (as a mentor and trainer), provide case specific support, develop measures of assessment and success, develop web content, assist on quick response matters (e.g., Congressional inquiries, FOIAs).

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is feeling like I'm part of something good: working to "protect"; seeing big picture issues; great coworkers

The worst: politics, limited resources; the economics vs. environment battles (it could be economics AND the environment); lack of clear direction.

Job Tips: Be willing to take on any assignment and do it better than expected. Don't limit yourself to a narrow field of expertise. Always be professional and polite.

Being a manager is very challenging (hard). Be prepared to work harder than the staff you manage, develop a thick skin and strong listening skills. It's hard for many, but keep yourself apart from the gossip chain; don't fall into the trap of thinking it's good to keep an ear out for what's happening. The most respected people in my organization are the ones who don't know (or don't admit to knowing) what's going on at the gossip level.

Additional Thoughts: A background in science, communications and/or law is helpful at EPA. If I could change something about my career, I would have done a greater variety of statutes within EPA's purview.... I specialized in the waste programs too early. Don't assume that management is the best spot or ultimate goal for you - it is emotionally demanding as well as intellectually, and comes with orders of magnitude more responsibility; some people thrive on that combination, but many don't, and it makes them very unhappy. Also, it would be helpful to have experience in non-profits, state or local governments.

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