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Career Story: Secretary At A Federal Government Agency

Secretary At A Federal Government Agency

Job Title: Secretary

Type of Company: I worked for the US Army Corps of Engineers for several years, and then transferred to the Fish and Wildlife Service, whose goal it is to protect and enhance our natural resources.

Education: Lowell Commercial College (Lowell, MA)

Previous Experience: I worked as a secretary and accountant for a florist before I took the civil service exam and then was hired by the government the year I graduated from college.

Job Tasks: I perform clerical duties, such as answering the phone, typing letters, proofreading reports, entering data into databases; process personnel actions, such as recruitment packages, put awards together, prepare performance appraisals; process time and attendance records, review travel vouchers, maintain the office's email accounts. I supervise our receptionist, which is sometimes difficult. We've had 9 individuals in that job, not because it's a hard job but because it's boring and doesn't pay well. Trying to hire someone new every time is really taxing, not to mention nerve-wracking !!!

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is working with good people; I also like the fact that the organization tries to help protect natural resources and has save endangered species.

The worst part is that sometimes the duties are repetitious and tedious, and the job does not pay what I'm worth. I know that sounds vain, but it is not; it's the truth. Individuals with my job in other government agencies make more money. We've tried to get me promoted on more than one occasion, but we've been told it's not going to be done. So, it's frustrating to be told over and over that you're not worth more money. But, I've put in 38 years with the government, so I'll stick it out until I retire.

Job Tips: Take grammar and proofreading courses. Nothing looks worse than a sloppy resume, and if you type and send out letters rife with errors, it will not only make you look bad, but your office and your organization will suffer as well. Take courses in customer service, and handling difficult people, multi-tasking, and problem solving.

Additional Thoughts: Maintain a good attitude. There are personality differences in each office setting, and office flow works much better when people get along. Sure, there are days when everyone feels down, but try to find good things in what you do. And smile !

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